Those Wonderful Primaries

Is this any way to pick a president?" That is the question of choice for anyone aspiring to the title of Thoughtful Political Observer. It doesn't matter what year or decade we're talking about, that critique is obligatory.

Back in the day when party bosses chose presidential nominees at conventions, Thoughtful Political Observers (TPOS for short) demanded that voters be brought into the process through primaries. Frank R. Kent, one of the more prominent journalists of the 1920s and '30s, made something of a crusade out of this view.

When primaries took hold in the '70s, TPOS deplored the loss of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!