On the eve of major primary contests in California, New Jersey and other states, Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow published a review of Let the People Rule in The New Rambler. The review begins by connecting the contests of 1912 to the 2016 primaries:
An internal and nasty fight within the Republican Party; conflict between establishment leaders and populist opinions; unprecedented importance of potential support from African-American voters; raucous and bruising primary fights: The year was 1912, the focus of Geoffrey Cowan’s lively and detailed history of Theodore Roosevelt’s insurgent effort to reclaim the White House. With the benefit of newly identified archival materials, Cowan traces conflicts over the innovative idea of presidential primaries, and details deal-making, corruption, name-calling and betrayals as Roosevelt battled William Howard Taft, his one-time hand-picked successor and old friend. Besides the sheer action afforded by the vivid narrative and larger-than-life personalities, this book offers obvious parallels with current political fights and illuminates their origins.
Most tellingly, it highlights a key chapter in the ongoing debate: how significant should popular voting be in the selection of presidential candidates and presidents themselves?….