The 2016 U.S. Election: The Nomination Game

Issue Date April 2017
Volume 28
Issue 2
Page Numbers 45-49
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This article looks at how the two major parties in the United States nominate their candidates for the presidency. Because states and state parties in America have jurisdiction over many parts of the nominating process, details of the system are complex and change every election. Since the 1970s, however, both parties have sought to nominate the candidate who has received the greatest support from party voters and, in some states, independents. Whether this system encourages responsible campaigns and finds the best candidates have been much debated, but a fundamental change of the nominating system in the near future appears highly unlikely.

About the Author

James W. Ceaser is Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His many books on U.S. politics include Presidential Selection: Theory and Development (1979) and Designing a Polity: America’s Constitution in Theory and Practice (2010).

View all work by James W. Ceaser