In Primary Politics, political insider Elaine Kamarck explains how the presidential nomination process became the often baffling system we have today. Her focus is the largely untold story of how presidential candidates since the early 1970s have sought to alter the rules in their favor and how their failures and successes have led to even more change. She describes how candidates have sought to manipulate the sequencing of primaries to their advantage and how Iowa and New Hampshire came to dominate the system. She analyzes the rules that are used to translate votes into delegates, paying special attention to the Democrats' twenty-year fight over proportional representation. Kamarck illustrates how candidates have used the resulting delegate counts to create momentum, and she discusses the significance of the modern nominating convention. Drawing on meticulous research, interviews with key figures in both parties, and years of experience, this book explores one of the most important questions in American politics -- how we narrow the list of presidential candidates every four years.
Kamarck, Elaine. Primary Politics. Brookings Institution Press, 2009.