Ex­plor­ing pol­i­tics with pri­maries around the bend

San Francisco Chronicle - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - — Jeanne Cooper

For Ge­of­frey Cowan’s “Let the Peo­ple Rule,” a his­tory of the 1912 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the de­but of the mod­ern pri­mary, tim­ing is ev­ery­thing — twice over.

The Bay Area Book Fes­ti­val will present an in­ter­view with Cowan, a renowned scholar, jour­nal­ist and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, just two days be­fore Cal­i­for­nia’s pri­mary on June 7. The pub­li­ca­tion of this col­or­ful his­tory of Theodore Roo­sevelt’s failed at­tempt to win the Repub­li­can Party’s nom­i­na­tion, de­spite claim­ing a ma­jor­ity of del­e­gates to its con­ven­tion, “was timed to co­in­cide with the start of the pres­i­den­tial pri­maries this year, but no one could have pre­dicted how crazy they would be­come or how rel­e­vant that book would be,” said Cowan.

As a Yale law stu­dent, Cowan him­self played a role in ex­pand­ing the num­ber of pri­maries in 1968, prompt­ing the Wash­ing­ton Post book re­viewer to write: “If Don­ald Trump wins the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent over the stren­u­ous ef­forts of party elites to de­rail him, he ought to send a note of thanks to Ge­of­frey Cowan.”

“When that note ar­rives, I will let you know,” joked Cowan, who will be in­ter­viewed by au­thor Adam Hochschild (“Spain in Our Hearts”) at 3:15 p.m. Sun­day at Dharma Col­lege.

For more in­sights on U.S. pol­i­tics, don’t miss Sen. Bar­bara Boxer’s talk on her new mem­oir, “The Art of Tough,” at 1:30 p.m. Satur­day at the Freight & Sal­vage.

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