Primary elections have been used for the past century for most U.S. elective offices and their popularity is growing in other nations as well. In some circumstances, primaries ensure that citizens have a say in elections and test the skills of candidates before they get to the general election. Yet primaries are often criticized for increasing the cost of elections, for producing ideologically extreme candidates, and for denying voters the opportunity to choose candidates whose appeal transcends partisanship. Few such arguments have, however, been rigorously tested.
This innovative Handbook evaluates many of the claims, positive and negative, that have been made about primaries. It is organized into six sections, covering the origins of primary elections; primary voters; US presidential primaries; US subpresidential primaries; primaries in other parts of the world; and reform proposals. The Routledge Handbook of Primary Elections is an important research tool for scholars, a resource guide for students, and a source of ideas for those who seek to modify the electoral process.
Table of Contents
Introduction [Robert G. Boatright] Part 1: The Origins of Primary Elections 1. What is, and what is not, a Primary Election? [Alan Ware] 2. The Origins of the Direct Primary [John F. Reynolds] 3. Candidate Emergence in the Era of Direct Primaries [Jamie L. Carson and Ryan D. Williamson] 4. Should we Expect Primary Elections to Create Polarization? A Robust Median Voter Theorem with Rational Parties [Gilles Serra] Part 2: Primary Voters and Primary Voting Laws 5. Sorting Dixie: The Changing Profile of Southern Presidential Primary Electorates [Seth C. McKee] 6. The Nature of Crossover Voters [Barbara Norrander] 7. The Effect of Open and Closed Primaries on Voter Turnout [Matthew J. Geras and Michael H. Crespin] 8. Strategic Candidate Entry: Primary Type and Candidate Divergence [Kristin Kanthak and Eric Loepp] Part 3: Candidates and Parties in Primary Elections 9. The Direct Primary and Voting Behavior in U.S. General Elections [Shigeo Hirano and James M. Snyder, Jr.] 10. Divisive Primaries: When do They Hurt in the General Election? [Jeffrey Lazarus] 11. Is there a Link Between Primary Competition and General Election Results? [Robert G. Boatright and Vincent G. Moscardelli] 12. Ideological Primaries and their Influence in Congress [Caitlin E. Jewitt and Sarah A. Treul] 13. When Might Moderates Win the Primary? [Danielle M. Thomsen] 14. Primary Elections and Group Dynamics: Examining the Makeup of the Party Coalitions [Casey B. K. Dominguez] Part 4: U. S. Presidential Primaries 15. 2016: One Party Decided [Marty Cohen] 16. Citizen Choice in Presidential Primaries [Wayne Steger] 17. The Fuzzy Frontrunner: Donald Trump and the Role of Ideology in Presidential Nomination Politics [Dante J. Scala] 18. Televised Debates in Presidential Primaries [David A. Hopkins] Part 5: Primaries Outside of the United States 19. Mind the Gap: The Effects of Intra- and Inter-Party Competition on Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies [Reuven Y. Hazan and Reut Itzkovitch-Malka] 20. Primaries and Legislative Behavior [Indriði H. Indriðason and Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson] 21. Party Primaries as a Strategic Choice: The Costs and Benefits of Democratic Candidate Selection [Kathleen Bruhn] 22. Primary Elections in New Democracies: The Evolution of Candidate Selection Methods in Ghana [Nahomi Ichino and Noah L. Nathan] 23. Party Primaries in Canada [Scott Pruysers and Anthony Sayers] 24. The Italian Style of Intra-Party Democracy: A Twenty-Year Long Journey [Marino De Luca] Part 6: Primary Election Reform 25. Beyond Open and Closed: Complexity in American Primary Election Reform [J. Andrew Sinclair and Ian O’Grady] 26. Sore Loser Laws in Presidential and Congressional Elections [Michael S. Kang and Barry C. Burden]
Robert G. Boatright is a Professor of Political Science at Clark University and the Director of Research at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on the effects of campaign and election laws on the behavior of politicians and interest groups, with a particular focus on primary elections and campaign finance laws and practices.
'With partisan polarization rising, political parties beset by factions, and a complete outsider gaining a major-party nomination for president, the workings of primary elections are back in the news – and on research agendas. Boatright has assembled a distinguished set of scholars to take us through the experience of the past, the issues of the present, and the options for the future. The Routledge Handbook of Primary Elections is bound to be an essential guide as we work to understand the way "democracy," in selecting party nominees, ramifies through elections and government.' – John Mark Hansen, University of Chicago
'Primary elections have not received the robust scholarly attention they merit due to their importance in picking political leadership in the US and abroad. The Routledge Handbook of Primary Elections, edited by Robert Boatright, addresses this critical gap. A group of outstanding scholars cover a broad range of topics in a manner that is both lucid for students and insightful for scholars. Boatright’s volume sets the table for scholarship on primaries over the next decade.' - Ray La Raja, Professor of Political Science, U Mass Amherst
'There are few topics in U.S. politics more important to study than the dynamics of primary elections. Yet political scientists have largely dropped the ball in illuminating the dynamics of this unique and critical feature of the American electoral system. That is, until now. With this volume, Robert Boatright, the foremost authority on U.S. primary elections, has assembled an impressive group of scholars to provide a comprehensive treatment of this underexplored terrain of American politics. Any one who cares about the forces shaping the contemporary political environment will want to read this book and will benefit from doing so.' - Nate Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford Law S