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Just how did we end up with this presidential primary system?




"Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary" by Geoffrey Cowan
W.W. Norton & Company

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As a way to win the Republican Party nomination against William Howard Taft in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt capitalized on the idea of presidential primaries.

Using the phrase, “Let the people rule,” Roosevelt swept nine out of 13 primaries, but wasn’t powerful enough to win the nomination, which forced him to form a new party.

In his new book, “Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary,” Geoffrey Cowan gives an inside look at Roosevelt’s campaign, with newly found documents and a less-than-flattering telling of deals that were made behind closed doors. Larry Mantle speaks with Cowan on the impact of Roosevelt’s campaign, and what it means for politics today.

Guest:

Geoffrey Cowan, author of "Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary" (W.W. Norton & Company); He’s also a Professor of Communication at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He tweets from @lethepeoplerule