Featured Historians February 4, 2012: Thomas V. DiBacco: 100 years of American politics

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Thomas V. DiBacco: 100 years of American politics

Our primary system dates to Progressive reforms of the early 20th century

Source: LAT, 2-4-12

You can thank the reformers of the early 20th century for today’s winding road of presidential primaries. Fed up with the way party bosses played a controlling role in determining presidential candidates in the Democratic and Republican party conventions, these political and economic reformers — part of what historians now dub the Progressive movement — were successful in getting some states to establish primary elections. The primaries permitted citizens to vote for their party’s presidential nominee, with the winner’s delegates going to the national convention. (Before the primary system, district and state caucuses of party bosses selected the delegates.) And although primaries were established earlier — for example, Oregon in 1910 — the first real test of them came in the presidential election of 1912….READ MORE

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