NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 100

It was not until 1796 with the election of the second president of the United States that we witness the first truly contested presidential election . The Federalist Party and the Republican-Democratic Party , led by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson respectively , ushered in the era of political parties as critical factors , not only in the election of the president , but also in the election of state and local officials . As the political process evolved and matured during the early part of the 19th Century , there was an increase in citizen participation in the election of the president , but it is not until 1832 that the first major political party , the Democratic Party , held a presidential nominating convention . Over the years American history has seen the evolution of the process during some key moments :
1852 : Both the Democratic and Whig conventions of 1852 were the first conventions to set the precedent of adopting a party platform , before nominating candidates for president . The 1840 Democratic convention is the first convention to establish and adopt a party platform .
1856 : The first ( modern ) Republican convention is held with John Fremont as the party nominee .
1924 : John W . Davis is selected as the Democratic nominee after a record 103 ballots . This remains the longest selection process for a nominee .
1956 : The year ’ s Democratic convention was the first convention to establish a party loyalty provision during delegate selection .
1976 : The 1976 Republican convention was the last contested convention . The last time a major party candidate came to his or her convention with less than a majority of delegates was in 1984 , when Walter Mondale was a few dozen [ delegates ] short . Nevertheless , he secured the nomination on the first ballot by almost 1,000 votes .
Accompanying the convention process were state caucuses . With rules and procedures that varied widely from state to state , elected and political leaders would determine each state ’ s support for a presidential candidate . Over time some voters would also participate in this process , which would ultimately result in the selection of delegates who would actually attend a party convention and choose a presidential nominee . By the early 1900 ’ s , the Progressive Movement in the United States called for and brought about greater voter participation through the primary process . Through the twentieth century presidential nominees of the major parties have been chosen through a combination of caucuses and primaries with an attendant ebb and flow of the influence of party leaders — members of the political “ establishment ” — and grassroots voters and community organizers . This hybrid process has resulted in the ascendancy of “ movement ” candidates , like Ronald Reagan , Jesse Jackson , Donald Trump , Barack Obama , and Bernie Sanders , as well as successful “ operatives ,” such as George H . W . Bush , George W . Bush , Bill Clinton , Mitt Romney , and Hillary Clinton . What is clear is that there is no set formula for the best way for a successful presidential nominee to be selected and that has , in turn , set the stage for the 2016 version of the American presidential selection process .