Is the current system of presidential selection—primary and caucus voting—working well? How did the framers of the Constitution think about presidential selection? How did presidential selection work at other moments in American history? In this Conversation, University of Virginia political scientist James Ceaser shares his perspective on the character of presidential selection from the founding period through the creation of the party system to the nominating process we know today. As Ceaser argues, the founders thought very deeply about presidential selection, and sought to constitutionalize the process of presidential nomination and selection to promote fit characters and filter out demagogues. With varying degrees of success, the party system that grew up later in American history sought to perform a similar function, balancing the input of the populace and party leaders themselves. In recent times, however, the party regulars have lost control of the nominating process and it has opened up dramatically for outsiders. As Ceaser demonstrates, this has had, and may continue to have, dramatic effects on the kinds of candidates that may be nominated—and the character of the American presidency.

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