thumbnail of American Government; The Delegate Selection Process
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<v Speaker>This American citizen decided to take an active part in selecting a candidate for <v Speaker>president of the United States. <v Speaker>In early 1975, Pat Pangburn's growing interest in politics <v Speaker>began to focus on a dark horse candidate for president: Jimmy Carter. <v Speaker>In July 1976, the American bicentennial year, both she and <v Speaker>her candidate made it to New York City and the Democratic National Convention. <v Speaker>Politics, to me, is a microcosm of um our existence. <v Speaker>It's a speeded-up version, meaning that- that <v Speaker>uh a couple years in politics, you learn about people and things, <v Speaker>what it would probably take you maybe 15 or 20 years to learn <v Speaker>in just an everyday living situation. <v Speaker>Pat's home state, Texas, had passed a law setting up a one time only presidential <v Speaker>primary in 1976 to replace their normal convention process. <v Speaker>Pat Pangburn became a delegate for Jimmy Carter by actively participating in the petition
<v Speaker>process that put Carter in the primary in Texas. <v Speaker>On the primary ballot, the presidential candidates who had qualified to run in Texas <v Speaker>were listed with the names of their pledged delegates. <v Speaker>Then on primary day, voters expressed their preference for presidential candidate by <v Speaker>voting for his delegates. <v Speaker>Carter carried Pat's district and by a winner take all provision in the Texas law, <v Speaker>all Carter's delegates, including Pat, were chosen to represent the 8th <v Speaker>District at the Democratic National Convention. <v Speaker>But since the Texas law had provided that only 75 percent of the national convention <v Speaker>delegates were chosen in that primary, Pat continued to work in the state convention <v Speaker>process, hoping to influence the selection of the remaining 25 percent. <v Speaker>Also, it was in this political convention process that Pat could hope to influence <v Speaker>the direction of the Democratic Party in her own state. <v Speaker>A precinct convention is the- the start of this process. <v Speaker>And actually what it is, is uh a series of eliminations.
<v Speaker>People who are elected here tonight, and we will elect 17 delegates and 17 <v Speaker>alternates, will go next Saturday to our senatorial district convention, <v Speaker>whereby in that caucus we will send one person to the state convention, according <v Speaker>to uh the figures that we have. <v Speaker>A person going to state convention will be in a caucus, such as this, to determine <v Speaker>who will be going to the national convention from uh their particular group. <v Speaker>So we're starting out tonight, and this is the- the democratic process. <v Speaker>I think it's very important [fade out to narration] Pat had attended the 72 and 74 <v Speaker>precinct conventions. And in 76, she ran for both precinct <v Speaker>chairperson and convention chairperson. <v Speaker>She won both. [man speaking in background] 200 25 to 23. <v Speaker>[applause] My memory is correct! <v Speaker>Under the party rules, in order to effectively organize, you surround yourself <v Speaker>with a candidate or an issue to draw in people. <v Speaker>In 1976, we had Jimmy Carter and we were able to get people that we've had in the past
<v Speaker>precinct conventions and new people who hadn't participated in politics <v Speaker>but just admired Jimmy Carter and were also infatuated with the idea that if <v Speaker>they attended the precinct convention, that that was a step in the ultimate process <v Speaker>of nominating him. We had more people than the other- the other people did. <v Speaker>And um uh this is the way the process is done, <v Speaker>that uh um you are given a percentage <v Speaker>of delegates to the next level convention um uh contingent upon the number <v Speaker>of people you have at that convention. <v Speaker>In the state of Texas last Saturday, the people overwhelmingly elected Jimmy Carter as <v Speaker>their presidential preference. <v Speaker>Jimmy Carter [fade out to narration] <v Speaker>The next level convention was the state senatorial district convention, held one <v Speaker>week after the primary. <v Speaker>Pat and the other Carter supporters, many of them old timers in the convention process, <v Speaker>felt that Jimmy Carter had made a strong enough showing in the primary that they could
<v Speaker>gain control of the convention. <v Speaker>Any time you're in a convention situation, you want to know where your strengths <v Speaker>are. And uh we had deemed the election of permanent chairman <v Speaker>as the test vote to see where our forces were. <v Speaker>[background chatter] The temporary chairperson was from the opposition <v Speaker>faction and moved to postpone the election of a permanent chairperson, <v Speaker>a move he hoped would weaken the position of the Carter forces. <v Speaker>I raised a point of order that this was not correct and it did not follow the prescribed <v Speaker>agenda because it would have been detrimental to my effort <v Speaker>and the effort of the Carter forces at this convention to postpone that election. <v Speaker>After the election of permanent chairman, the next order of business was <v Speaker>to um caucus within the precincts and have the precincts elect their <v Speaker>delegates to the state convention. <v Speaker>The next order of business is to elect the At-Large delegates and <v Speaker>that- that was it right there, that we were afraid that if we did not have our person in
<v Speaker>as chairman, that uh the selection of the At-Large delegates would not be <v Speaker>fair and equitable. <v Speaker>And um uh we wanted to make sure we had the chairman. <v Speaker>So the chairman could increase the committees according to the rules and <v Speaker>uh ensure this fair representation. <v Speaker>[background chatter] <v Speaker>The issue was forced and the chair called for the election of the permanent chairperson. <v Speaker>Though it seesawed at first, when the final vote was counted, the Carter nominee, <v Speaker>Tim Kelly, was elected. <v Speaker>The opposition faction bowed to the loss and didn't even bother to offer a nominee <v Speaker>for secretary. <v Speaker>The tally has been completed the vote for Smith 457, for Kelly 530, <v Speaker>and I declare Mr. Kelly the winner. <v Speaker>All the rules are available for anyone, at least within the Democratic Party. <v Speaker>And you study them and you read them all the time until you're very familiar. <v Speaker>[Tim Kelly] My first time to be on this platform, I'm going to do my best
<v Speaker>to run this convention in a fair way under <v Speaker>the rules. You will caucus either by paired precinct, and <v Speaker>you are already paired, those who are paired, and individual precinct. <v Speaker>Each will hold a caucus. <v Speaker>Anyone can nominate any other person or himself to be <v Speaker>a delegate to the state convention. <v Speaker>After all nominations have ceased, there will then be one vote <v Speaker>and one vote only. <v Speaker>The person who receives the greatest number of votes in that precinct or in <v Speaker>that pair of precincts is the delegate to the state convention. <v Speaker>The person who has the second largest number of votes is the alternate <v Speaker>to the state convention. <v Speaker>Pat was nominated and elected to represent her precinct at the state convention. <v Speaker>She, and the other delegates elect, then went to the nominating committee to register <v Speaker>and express their presidential preference. <v Speaker>Democratic Party rules require that the delegates selected at the district convention to
<v Speaker>attend the state convention must proportionately reflect the presidential preferences of <v Speaker>all the delegates at the district convention. <v Speaker>If the presidential preferences of the delegates elected are not in the same proportions <v Speaker>as the body as a whole, it is the task of this nominating committee to balance the <v Speaker>ratios by the selection of At-Large delegates. <v Speaker>The District Convention as a body ratified the nominees and adjourned. <v Speaker>In June, the delegations from the 31 senatorial district conventions gathered <v Speaker>for a state convention. <v Speaker>In presidential election years, both parties in Texas have 2 state conventions. <v Speaker>The first is for the national party business and the second in September is for <v Speaker>state party machinery. <v Speaker>The state convention in 1976 was charged with electing <v Speaker>32 delegates at large to the national convention. <v Speaker>I served on Carter's delegate screening committee, about 15 people
<v Speaker>who would take recommendations from across the state of people who were interested in <v Speaker>being delegates. <v Speaker>We wanted to make sure that they were for Jimmy Carter and that they could be counted on <v Speaker>to vote for Jimmy Carter to the national convention. <v Speaker>The first business of the June Democratic State convention was the selection of the <v Speaker>Permanent Credentials Committee. <v Speaker>This vital committee was to review a credentials challenge by the Carter delegates in the <v Speaker>16th Senatorial District. <v Speaker>This challenge had already been reviewed by the Temporary Credentials Committee, with the <v Speaker>majority ruling against the Carter people and a minority dissenting <v Speaker>by. <v Speaker>The Permanent Credentials Committee deadlocked on the issue and the Carter forces took <v Speaker>their challenge to the floor of the convention.
<v Speaker>[background] All opposed say no! <v Speaker>The vote was too close for a voice count, and so a roll call vote was necessary. <v Speaker>There were, I suppose you could say, real Carter delegates and phony Carter delegates <v Speaker>in the the16th senatorial district convention. <v Speaker>The phony Carter delegates did not have the strength to win <v Speaker>the majority of the delegates to the state convention. <v Speaker>But uh with some tricky maneuvering, were able to subvert the real <v Speaker>Carter delegates' strength. <v Speaker>The phony Carter people were ejected from the convention. <v Speaker>They had violated the rules. And the state convention has as a whole ratified that. <v Speaker>And the real Carter forces who had behaved in a legitimate fashion <v Speaker>were reinstated. <v Speaker>In a coalition with the liberal uncommitted and other outsiders, the Carter delegates <v Speaker>had again won a test vote. <v Speaker>This was the first evidence that a change of power was taking place in this convention.
<v Speaker>I think it told anyone who was looking that Jimmy Carter more or less had a delegate <v Speaker>strength right there. His people from all over the state were all over the convention. <v Speaker>Convention officers were then elected and the committees assigned and the convention <v Speaker>adjourned for the day. <v Speaker>If there isn't a ceremony, it isn't a convention. <v Speaker>And Texas Democrats moved into the second day in the traditional style. <v Speaker>[sings national anthem in background]
<v Speaker>But I did come by because I heard that there were some Democrats in town, <v Speaker>and I don't ever want to be anywhere where Democrats are not. <v Speaker>I want at least one section of the columns of United States <v Speaker>with a Democrat in the White House. <v Speaker>We've got to have that. <v Speaker>Now, you have heard- you have heard during the time that you have been here, <v Speaker>many appeals to unity. <v Speaker>That has become the watchword. <v Speaker>And I can simply say that as Democrats, let <v Speaker>us not be petty when the cause for which we have to fight <v Speaker>is so just. <v Speaker>While the main body of the convention waited, the real political struggles went on in the <v Speaker>committee meetings. <v Speaker>These committees reflected the power change of the day before and new faces, Carter <v Speaker>people, were being placed in positions of power.
<v Speaker>Pat herself was nominated for the Democratic National Committee. <v Speaker>One of the other charges of a state convention is to elect <v Speaker>members of the Democratic National Committee from Texas. <v Speaker>And this is done by a DNC nominating <v Speaker>committee. They take nominations and um hear <v Speaker>testimony about qualifications and hard work and the committee votes. <v Speaker>And I was one of those seven chosen by the DNC nominating committee. <v Speaker>The next step is ratification by the full convention, which is uh in most <v Speaker>cases very pro forma. <v Speaker>Those who were nominated, elected to Democratic National committeemen, committeewomen <v Speaker>are as follows. <v Speaker>One, Joe Branau, of Bear County [fade out to narration]. <v Speaker>Although the power structure had changed, the theme of Jimmy Carter's campaign was unity. <v Speaker>[background chatter] And when members of the disposed power group threatened to walk out, <v Speaker>compromise became necessary, [background chatter] and Pat Pangburn became the
<v Speaker>center of that compromise. <v Speaker>Number 7: Miss Pat <v Speaker>Pangburn of Dallas County has withdrawn in the interest of the candidacy <v Speaker>of Jimmy Carter. She was Jimmy Carter's- on Jimmy Carter's National <v Speaker>Steering Committee in the interest of the unity of the Democratic Party <v Speaker>[fade out to narration]. <v Speaker>I was at the Rice Hotel the time I heard that there was some conflict. <v Speaker>[background chatter] And so I rushed to the convention center uh to be told that Governor <v Speaker>Briscoe was insistent that his choice, Jess Hay, was <v Speaker>to be retained on the National Committee and he would leave the convention <v Speaker>and would not participate in the general election campaign for Jimmy Carter, if <v Speaker>his choice was not honored. <v Speaker>And I was the only real bonafide <v Speaker>Carter person, of us 7 people, that had been with Carter campaigned for- <v Speaker>for a year previous to that day. <v Speaker>I cannot help but say that to be nominated to the highest
<v Speaker>body in the Democratic Party is a matter for my deepest thanks <v Speaker>and appreciation. <v Speaker>There are times, however, when accomplishment of an even more important <v Speaker>objective requires personal considerations to be set aside. <v Speaker>Well, I sort of felt like I was put upon in a way. <v Speaker>Uh it was something that had to be done. And I think that anybody in the same <v Speaker>circumstance, who had spent a year with the Carter campaign up to that point, uh <v Speaker>would be very sensitive you know to the problem and would do it. <v Speaker>But then the personal considerations were such that it was upsetting, uh that it was <v Speaker>something that I worked hard for. And, you know, you don't like to give up, once you win <v Speaker>something. <v Speaker>To be replaced by Mr. Jess Hay, I second the report <v Speaker>of the committee. <v Speaker>Chair recognizes Commissioner Bob Armstrong to second the nomination. <v Speaker>Mr. Chairman, delegates. <v Speaker>The last time I stood at this microphone, I said that there were no gains without pains.
<v Speaker>Let me tell you, as I- and I speak principally to the Carter delegates, <v Speaker>that as far as Pat Pangburn's situation is concerned, this is one <v Speaker>where there are no pains. [fade out to narration] <v Speaker>For her actions, Pat was promised an at large delegate seat on the National Executive <v Speaker>Committee, a promise later kept. <v Speaker>Now unified, the convention discharged its final business. <v Speaker>The adoption of new rules, approval of presidential electors for the Electoral College <v Speaker>and approval of the slate of delegates to the National Democratic Convention. <v Speaker>This state convention had brought about a change in the power structure of the Texas <v Speaker>Democratic Party, and accomplished that without dividing the party into openly <v Speaker>warring factions. The Texas Democratic Party was ready for the national <v Speaker>convention. <v Speaker>There was a feeling on my part right before I went to New York that <v Speaker>um oh Jimmy had it. You know, it was in the bag for him. <v Speaker>You know, why should I really go up there? <v Speaker>Um that it- it's an expensive trip. You're not subsidized by anyone.
<v Speaker>And uh, you know, gee, maybe I should just, you know, stay around home, <v Speaker>and not- not necessarily go, but it was really a grand experience. <v Speaker>[music].
<v Speaker>First thing that hit me when I entered the garden was the, you know, the vast array <v Speaker>of colors. It was just larger than life. <v Speaker>It was uh uh very, very, very, very exciting, very crowded, a <v Speaker>press of bodies. <v Speaker>Madison Square Garden is a very small place, but uh um it was just a, <v Speaker>you know, a great experience. Everywhere you look can see a luminary or a dignitary <v Speaker>or a movie star. And uh was very exciting for me. <v Speaker>The 76 Democratic National Convention. <v Speaker>The job at hand is the nomination of a candidate for the seat in the Oval Office. <v Speaker>And the name of the nominee isn't any secret. <v Speaker>Jimmy Carter is assured the nomination by the number of delegates already pledged to him <v Speaker>in state primaries. <v Speaker>With millions of American voters watching, the convention is in search of some excitement <v Speaker>that will keep them tuned in. <v Speaker>Primetime television is a paradise for maximum party exposure, and the <v Speaker>Democratic officers are calculatingly careful with a television script for their
<v Speaker>convention. <v Speaker>These self-appointed experts on law and order, they took <v Speaker>crime off the street. They put it in the White House. <v Speaker>All keynote speeches and major personalities are aired during prime viewing <v Speaker>hours. The thrust is to focus on the Democrats platform <v Speaker>and the new unity in the party. <v Speaker>But in the face of unity, there is no loss of state identity. <v Speaker>Each state party, though run under the umbrella of the National Party rules, still <v Speaker>operates independently. <v Speaker>Even the delegates to the National Party Convention are selected differently in the <v Speaker>various states. <v Speaker>In Illinois, in each congressional district, we have 24 of them in Illinois, <v Speaker>uh a delegate files through petition to run as a delegate <v Speaker>uh with a preference towards a presidential uh candidate. <v Speaker>That delegate then must campaign in that congressional district for himself,
<v Speaker>as well as that presidential candidate that he's representing. <v Speaker>A delegate could run as an uncommitted delegate if he wishes. <v Speaker>Now, to give an example, we'll take my congressional district. <v Speaker>I'm from the 15th Congressional District. <v Speaker>I met Jimmy Carter a year ago and he asked me to run as a delegate. <v Speaker>5 others also ran as a delegate for Carter in my congressional district. <v Speaker>There were delegates representing five other candidates <v Speaker>in that congressional district. <v Speaker>When the voters voted in the primary, they voted in a preferential preference, which was <v Speaker>just a beauty uh pageant. <v Speaker>Then they voted for the delegates. <v Speaker>They had cast 6 votes. <v Speaker>Now, in the outcome of that voting, 5 Carter delegates were elected, <v Speaker>they received the fi- 5 top votes, one Humphrey delegate was elected <v Speaker>and they went- they come directly to the convention. <v Speaker>We also have At-Large delegates elected based on the number of
<v Speaker>delegates that a presidential candidate gets. <v Speaker>Well, we have a proportional representative uh system in California that <v Speaker>was a- the result of the uh outcry against the winner-take-all <v Speaker>primaries of 72. <v Speaker>And uh we choose our delegates on the uh caucus level, on the congressional district <v Speaker>caucus level. Uh and uh the uh- the uh- the <v Speaker>list of those chosen is then uh sent to the secretary of state, <v Speaker>and it's allocated by the C D levels statewide in <v Speaker>relationship to the percentage of uh votes that are cast for the individual candidate. <v Speaker>State delegations still operate mostly as a unit at the national convention. <v Speaker>They sit together on the floor. They vote together and work together. <v Speaker>They gather together frequently outside the convention in state caucuses to maintain <v Speaker>their organization and plan their group strategy. <v Speaker>The thing we don't want is people drifting in saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was gone, vote
<v Speaker>me." And somebody doesn't know whether he did or not. <v Speaker>But the thing it would help us the most is to keep the aisles cleared and to keep people <v Speaker>in their seats during the time that we're taking that vote. <v Speaker>This is the headquarters for the state delegation. <v Speaker>Here they get information about the agenda and convention procedures. <v Speaker>Remember that tonight we have only the nomination and election of a presidential nominee <v Speaker>[fade out to narration]. <v Speaker>In conventions where the outcome is more in doubt, these state caucuses become <v Speaker>the center of last-minute campaigning by the candidates. <v Speaker>But in this convention, a leading candidate is more interested in unifying factions than <v Speaker>in securing votes. He already has the vote. <v Speaker>So Jimmy Carter makes his appearances at special interest caucuses [background chatter] <v Speaker>Governor, I present to you the delegates and alternates who have traveled <v Speaker>around this great nation to be here and participate [applause] <v Speaker>There is a variety of interests caucuses vying for influence at the convention. <v Speaker>Latino, labor, amnesty, abortion, blacks, women,
<v Speaker>all groups with an eye on influencing the party platform. <v Speaker>The rules and the presidential nominee [background chatter] <v Speaker>[Jimmy Carter in background] In the past, that you have not been adequately represented [applause] <v Speaker>On the third day of the convention, the nominations finally get underway. <v Speaker>Though Carter is considered a shoo-in, his nomination must be legitimized <v Speaker>through the traditional democratic process. <v Speaker>Every faction is allowed its moment in the spotlight. <v Speaker>The parade of nominating speeches runs from real contenders to candidates no longer <v Speaker>in the contest who want to throw their support to the front runner. <v Speaker>[applause] <v Speaker>The lone contender at the convention was Jerry Brown, governor of California. <v Speaker>Though a late entry into the primary battle, he had made a surprising show of strength <v Speaker>against Carter. But he started too late to really compete with the former unknown from <v Speaker>Georgia, whose long line of primary victories assured Jimmy Carter
<v Speaker>that he would be the Democratic Party's nominee for president. <v Speaker>The moment of truth. For the delegates, the roll call vote is what they've been <v Speaker>working toward for months, to vote for his candidate for the highest office <v Speaker>in the United States. And with the roll call, state by state, <v Speaker>the candidacy of the Democratic nominee is legalized. <v Speaker>Pat Pangburn can at last cast her vote for Jimmy Carter. <v Speaker>But before Texas Governor Briscoe could cast Pat's vote, Carter passes <v Speaker>the magic number and has enough votes to be the official nominee. <v Speaker>The Democratic National Party has a candidate for president of the United States. <v Speaker>Then the remaining states cast their votes, for the record.[background chatter]
<v Speaker>At a California caucus the following morning, Jerry Brown symbolizes the Democratic <v Speaker>drive for unity in 1977, as he throws his support to Carter. <v Speaker>[Jerry Brown in background] This program to fruition. Not for me, but to elect our next <v Speaker>president, Jimmy Carter, and every legislator in our party. <v Speaker>Will you do that? [applause] <v Speaker>The polls now show us in a very strong position because we have unity. <v Speaker>Republicans are divided, as you know. <v Speaker>But that gap in the public opinion polls is inevitably <v Speaker>going to be decreased substantially. <v Speaker>If there's one fatal mistake that we can make this year, <v Speaker>it's overconfidence. <v Speaker>On the last day of the convention, a vice-presidential candidate is selected. <v Speaker>Carter, like most presidential nominees, selects his own running mate. <v Speaker>But the democratic process requires the nominating speech and roll call vote to legalize <v Speaker>the proceedings. And the Democrats have their ticket.
<v Speaker>My name is Jimmy Carter and I'm running for president. <v Speaker>[applause] <v Speaker>Together, the 1976 Democratic National Convention delegates have <v Speaker>picked a winner. <v Speaker>Pat Pangburn wanted an active voice in the selection of her political party's nominee for <v Speaker>president. She combined that desire with a lot of hard work and became <v Speaker>a part of the grassroots swell that carried Jimmy Carter to the Democratic National <v Speaker>Convention and eventually to the White House. <v Speaker>She and thousands like her are the real proof that democracy strength lies <v Speaker>with the people. It's as strong as they are, as active as they are, <v Speaker>and as dormant as they are. <v Speaker>For Pat, democracy is a winner. <v Speaker>The men of 1776 are sending us a message here tonight. <v Speaker>Freedom is never a resting place. <v Speaker>It is not a reward for having been born an American.
American Government
The Delegate Selection Process
Producing Organization
Dallas County Community College District
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This episode follows Pat Pangburn as she works on the Jimmy Carter campaign, describing the delegation process and everything that led to Jimmy Carter being nominated as the Democratic candidate for the 1976 presidential election.
Series Description
"'The Delegate Selection Process' is representative of the college level credit telecourse AMERICAN GOVERNMENT produced and distributed by the Instructional Television Center of the Dallas County Community College District. "One portion of a 60-lesson, 2-semester telecourse in the governmental system of the United States, 'The Delegate Selection Process' follows a prospective delegate from her precinct campaign all the way through to her election and participation in the Democratic National Convention. Interviews with delegate Pat Pangburn provide insight into her reasons for pursuing a delegate position and the work that went into reaching that goal. The program emphasizes that any member of the community can participate in the political process. "The entire series explores the historical, philosophical, and economic bases of western political systems. It examines the complexity of American federalism and the nature of citizenship from the local, state, regional and national perspectives and offers an in-depth study of the three branches of government."--1978 Peabody Awards entry form.
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: Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
: Buckley, William F.
: Jordan, Barbara
: Thompson, James
: Richardson, Elliot
: Pangburn, Pat
: Nader, Ralph
: Moyers, Bill
Director: Anderson, William
Producer: Crook, Bob
Producing Organization: Dallas County Community College District
Producing Organization: KERA
Writer: Lynch, Eileen
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-841ffd0ff80 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:29:00
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Chicago: “American Government; The Delegate Selection Process,” 1978-12-31, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “American Government; The Delegate Selection Process.” 1978-12-31. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: American Government; The Delegate Selection Process. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from