July 6, 2007


Jay Cost argues that television has made the Vice-Presidency important, and that the manner in which Vice-Presidential nominees are selected is profoundly undemocratic and antiquated in the modern era.

But as I wrote yesterday evening, the way Presidential nominees are selected to run is less democratic than might appear at first glance; for both major parties, partisan insiders, fundraisers, and other elected officials overtly control somewhere between a fifth to a quarter of the votes to pick nominees, and informally control more than that, and probably a majority. It's not like primary elections count for nothing, but there is a lot more control by political elites than our national republican and egalitarian impulses would prefer.

Still, it makes you wonder, if Reagan had picked someone other than Bush the Elder to be his running mate (John Connally, perhaps, or Howard Baker) twenty-seven years ago, how different would history be today?

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