[Off Topic & Political To Boot] An Interesting Analysis of How Candidates Become Party Nominees
This is a dated article in its initiating news report [Gingrich’s win in SC] but it is nevertheless a good analysis of how Parties choose nominees. I think I can safely say that I’m in the “More of the Same” camp as to *how* things get done . . . which is why the only way the end result changes [that is, Republicans nominate a conservative for President] is if the establishment doing the “open negotiation” amongst themselves becomes a different establishment altogether.
From the FiveThirtyEight blog, where there is more:
The paradigms present profoundly different conclusions about the most likely outcome.
One might be called “More of the Same.” It asserts that the traditional rules of engagement in a nomination race still apply, and that the empirical evidence from past contests is reasonably powerful.
That evidence looks something like this: Although the nomination is technically decided by delegate counts, and somewhat less literally by the preferences of rank-and-file voters, ultimately the nominee is determined by a sort of open negotiation among the party elite, which includes elected officials, major donors and the partisan news media, among others.
Voter preferences can make some difference, but more as a lagging than a leading indicator. Being well-credentialed and building a traditional campaign matters, and candidates who do not do so may soar in polls but inevitably fall back to earth. Moreover, parties tend to come to fairly rational decisions about their nominee, placing heavy emphasis on electability. (This view is eloquently explained in the book “The Party Decides,” by the political scientists Marty Cohen and others.)
The competing paradigm might be called “This Time Is Different.” It asserts that a fundamental change has occurred in America’s political culture, or that a temporary shift is especially salient in this year’s Republican race.
Under this interpretation, elite support and the ground game do not matter as much as usual. Instead, success is more idiosyncratic: personalities matter a lot, and nominations are determined based primarily on momentum and news media coverage.
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