The History Of Presidential Primaries

The History Of Presidential Primaries

Robert David “KC” Johnson, Moderator

As the 2020 Democratic presidential primary looms, this Seminar will examine the history of a particularly American phenomenon—the presidential primary system. Abandoning the era of “smoke-filled rooms,” both major parties adopted hybrid systems (in which party leaders retained some control of the process) before moving to the current system, in which party members (and in some states, independents and even members of the opposition party) get to choose the party’s nominee.
The last 10-15 minutes of each session will discuss contemporary events.
Video will be used.

Session 1 Origins of Presidential Primaries through 1960
Session 2 Turning Points—1964 and 1968
Session 3 The McGovern-Fraser Era—1972-1980
Session 4 The Parties Respond—1984-1992
Session 5 The Internet and the Primary System—2004-2012
Session 6 The Modern Era—2016 and 2020
*NOTE: There are TWO (2) Sections of this Seminar.
Specify your first choice of TIME.


WEDNESDAYS, 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.   OR    WEDNESDAYS, 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

MAR  4, 18
APR   1, 22
MAY  6, 20

Cost $500 (6 sessions)
* tax deductible portion is $250

Professor Robert David "KC" Johnson

ROBERT DAVID “KC” JOHNSON — Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. In 2007-2008, he taught at Tel Aviv University as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities.

Professor Johnson received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard and his M.A. from the University of Chicago. He has written and edited numerous books about American history, and appears frequently as a pundit on the History Channel. His most recent publication is the edited Asia Pacific in the Age of Globalization, published by Palgrave/MacMillan; and he has been selected by Oxford University Press to edit its forthcoming Oxford History Handbook of American Foreign Relations.