The Selection and Election of Presidents

The Selection and Election of Presidents

by Robert S. Hirschfield


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The United States' presidential selection process is intricate, constantly evolving, and imperfectly understood by most American voters. The long campaign brings to light conflicting concepts of the role of the president, inherent constraints on his powers, contradictions in the selection process, and possibilities for change or compromise that are at once its strength and its weakness.

The Selection and Election of Presidents is based on a series of meetings and seminars organized by a French-American organization concerned with the presidential selection/election process. A varied group of experts ranging from former presidential candidates, to party leaders to professors engaged each other in an informal setting with much give and take between the speakers and questions from participants. The result is a primer on how political parties operate, their relationship to other elements in the American political system, and how eff ectively parties operate in the light of changes or reforms.

The exchanges resulting from the seminars that are the basis of this volume provide a still-valuable outline of how the American system works when presidents are selected.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780202362762
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/30/2009
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Robert S. Hirschfield was professor of political science at the City University of New York and editorial director of The Earth Times. He also taught at Fordham, Harvard, and New York University, was a television and radio producer, host and commentator, and a political activist at the national and local levels. His books include The Constitution and the Court and Selection/Election: A Forum on the American Presidency and his articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Public Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, The American Political Science Review, The American Government Annual, The Nation, and The New York Times.

Table of Contents

The Editor vii

The Contributors ix

Preface Arthur King Peters xvii

Introduction: Reforming the Reforms Robert S. Hirschfield xxi

I Understanding Presidential Politics Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Austin Ranney Howard R. Penniman Norman J. Ornstein Thomas E. Mann 1

II The Electoral System: Voters, Parties, Candidates Richard M. Scammon Carol Bellamy 21

III The Electoral System: Media and Money Edward N. Costikyan John W. McGarry 37

IV The Nominating Process: Primaries and Delegate Selection Gerald M. Pomper Miriam Bockman 51

V The Nominating Process: Conventions Rita W. Cooley Basil A. Paterson 71

VI Presidential Campaigns: Strategies and Tactics Richard M. Pious Robert C. Weaver 89

VII Presidential Campaigns: Press, Polls, Packaging Douglas Ireland Murray Edelman 107

VIII Is This Any Way to Elect a President Eugene J. McCarthy Shirley Chisholm James Q. Wilson Steven Brams 117

Questions and Comments on the Selection/Election Process 141

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