The Rules and Politics of American Primaries
A State-by-State Guide to Republican and Democratic Primaries and Caucuses
by Andrew E. Busch, Editor
November 2019, 395pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5903-8
$69, £54, 60€, A95
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5904-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Iowa holds its caucus first—a reality that has traditionally made the predominantly white, agriculture-dependent state a favorite destination of presidential hopefuls from both major parties.

Provides an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and political observers who want a comprehensive picture of the past and present of the U.S. presidential nominating system across every state.

In 2020, the parties will again nominate their candidates for president. Those nominations will play out in a complicated system of federal law, state law, national party rules, state party rules, and informal norms that have developed over decades. This resource provides a roadmap for understanding the rules of the game and the ways in which they impact elections and politics across the United States.

This reference work is organized in two parts. Part I consists of a series of short thematic essays discussing topics such as what primaries and caucuses are, what the difference between open and closed primaries is, varying methods used by the parties for delegate selection, and how campaign finance works in the primaries. Part II consists of a state-by-state description of recent primary/caucus history and the methods currently used for delegate selection by Democrats and Republicans in each state.


  • Comprehensively examines the development and current features of the presidential nominating system
  • Authoritatively and objectively summarizes debates and controversies over the rules, operations, and influence of primaries and caucuses
  • Provides a rich historical background, including primary or caucus results from 2000–2016 for each state, DC, and the territories
  • Contains detailed information on parties’ 2020 methods of delegate selection in each state, DC, and the territories
Andrew E. Busch is Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, where he serves as director of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. Busch is author, coauthor, or editor of 16 books on American politics, including Defying the Odds: The 2016 Elections and American Politics, The Front-Loading Problem in Presidential Nominations, and Outsiders and Openness in the Presidential Nominating System.


"It is hard to imagine a more timely and useful reference source than this. . . This would be valuable in collections of all sizes, public, school, and academic." —Booklist, February 15, 2020

"Recommended. All readers."—Choice, June 1, 2020
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