Nominations & Conventions

Past Practices

Democratic Party Reform in the Wake of 1968
related video
Tad Devine on the nominating process after 1968.
Jim King on reform efforts after the 1968 DNC in Chicago.

In the wake of 1968, Democrats opened up their nominating process to ordinary voters.  In 1972, the first election with the new rules, Democrats nominated George McGovern.  In the general election, Nixon defeated McGovern in a landslide.  By 1980, voter participation in primaries was the new norm (Democrats held 37 primary contests). In the wake of Jimmy Carter’s defeat after an intraparty primary challenge from Ted Kennedy, party leaders reformed their rules again.