4. From 1972, 2/3 of the states adopted primary elections and moved away from the party meeting system. 1/3 of the states made this change in 1968-72, as part of the spirit of the Sixties, in which calls for increased democracy and participation were powerful. In particular, many Democrats were angry that while Hubert Humphrey entered no primary elections in 1968, he still got the party nomination because almost all of the established Democratic politicians supported Humphrey. On the other hand, Eugene McCarthy had won several primary elections (as did the assassinated Bobby Kennedy whose supporters opposed Humphrey), but McCarthy did not get the nomination. This was the opposite of ?power to the people,? and so Democrats in many states were persuaded by reformers to change from the party meeting system to the election system of selecting convention delegates. In such states, Republicans normally changed their system of delegate selection also, so that they would not appear to be elitist. [The type of selection process is actually decided by the political party, and not the state legislature. The process by constitutional law, cannot discriminate against minorities. However, legislatures become involved as they actually conduct the elections.] By 1972, then, 2/3 of the states had elections, and not party meetings, to select the delegates to the convention. For a while, this meant (especially in the Democratic Party) that inside candidates, those favored by many party leaders, would be challenged by outsider candidates, in a series of primary elections that might extend to 30 states. For instance, George McGovern (1972. Dem) and Jimmy Carter (1976 Dem) were candidates who initially got almost no support from established party leaders, and who got the presidential nomination through defeating insiders and other outsider candidates by running in numerous primaries, and winning many of them. Under the previous system, they would not have got the nomination, since there were not enough primary elections. Michael Dukakis (1988, Dem) and Bill Clinton (1992) were in a somewhat different position from McGovern or Carter. Although at first they were not seen in some group of perhaps four likely candidates for President from the Democratic party, Dukakis and Clinton through effective organization and fund-raising put themselves at the head of the group of possible candidates by the time the primaries started. Each then defeated the other candidates in the primaries without a great amount of difficulty and then got the party nomination. Dukakis probably would not have been nominated under the previous system; Clinton might have since he was able to impress insider politicians like Richie Daley. Republicans were not so affected by the increase in primaries. Republicans in most years were more unified than the Democrats, and they tended to follow some previously established leader ?heir apparent? such as Reagan, Bush, Dole, and now G.W. Bush. In 1976, however, the Republicans endured a protracted struggle in many primary elections between President Ford and challenger Ronald Reagan, and while Ford got the nomination, Reagan got about 47% of the delegates, so it was close. However, this fight was precipitated by the unusual circumstance of Ford gaining the Presidency without ever running as President or Vice-President, thereby disrupting Reagan?s ascent to be the obvious successor candidate to Nixon.
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