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The Democrats

  • Glen Browder (a1), Yong Hyo Cho (a2), Thomas E. Cronin (a3), Caren Dubnoff (a4), John S. Jackson (a5), Donald Bruce Johnson (a6), Bob Kahn (a7), David Lawrence (a8), Milton Rakove (a9), Leonard G. Ritt (a10), John W. Simon (a11), Morton Sipress (a12) and J. Oliver Williams (a13)...


I must admit that, after more than a decade of teaching and researching political parties, I found being selected to and participating in the 1980 Democratic National Convention an exhiliarating experience.

The Alabama delegate-selection process was a very competitive primary with extensive activity by the Carter and Kennedy organizations and by the individual delegate candidates. In varying degrees, the delegate candidates stumped their constituencies with personal appearances, letters, rallies, sample ballots, newspaper ads, group endorsements, and assorted other campaign gimmicks.

The selection process consisted primarily of a statewide primary (1) to allocate Alabama's delegates and alternate delegates among the presidential candidates, and (2) to elect the members of that delegation. Over 500 candidates ran for the 45 delegate and 32 alternate delegate positions in that primary. The primary actually was conducted by congressional district, with 33 candidates running for four delegate and three alternate delegate positions in my CD. The ballot was structured by sex (females listed first) and the voter was instructed to vote for up to four females and up to four males. Delegates were allocated to presidential candidates according to a formula which was roughly proportional; and individual delegates were selected by an equally fair but more complex formula.



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page 18 note 1 Milbrath, Lester G. and Goel, M. L., Political Participation (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1977); Verba, Sidney and Nie, Norman, Participation in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); Kirkpatrick, Jeane, The New Presidential Elite (New York: Russell Sage Foundation and The Twentieth Century Fund, 1976).

page 18 note 2 Clark, Peter B. and Wilson, James Q., “Incentive Systems: A Theory of Organizations,” Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 6 (Sept. 1961), 134137; Margaret Conway, M. and Feigert, Frank B., “Motiation, Incentive Systems, and the Political Party Organization,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 62 (December 1968), 11591173; Roback, Thomas H., “Motivation for Activism among Republican National Convention Delegates. Continuity and Change 1972–1976,” Journal of Politics, 42 (February 1980), 181201.

page 18 note 3 Dahl, Robert A., “The Behavioral Approach in Political Science: Epitaph for a Monument to a Successful Protest,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 55 (December 1961), 763772.

page 19 note 4 Michels, Robert, Political Parties (Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1949).

page 19 note 5 Sorauf, Frank J., Party Politics in America (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 4th Ed., 1980), Ch. 11–12; Polsby, Nelson W. and Wildavsky, Aaron B., Presidential Elections (New York: Scribners, 5th Ed., 1980), Ch. 4; Sullivan, Denis G. et al. , Explorations in Convention Decision Making (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1976).

page 32 note 1 Pomper, Gerald M. with Lederman, Susan S., Elections in America: Control and Influence in Democratic Politics, 2nd Ed. (New York: Longman Inc., 1980), chapters 7–8.


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