Before the Convention: Strategies and Choices in Presidential Nomination Campaigns

Before the Convention Strategies and Choices in Presidential Nomination Campaigns Campaigns to win the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are longer complex and confusing to the observer than the general election itself The maze of delegate selection procedures in

  • Title: Before the Convention: Strategies and Choices in Presidential Nomination Campaigns
  • Author: John H. Aldrich
  • ISBN: 9781299104693
  • Page: 160
  • Format: ebook
  • Campaigns to win the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are longer, complex, and confusing to the observer than the general election itself The maze of delegate selection procedures includes state primaries and caucuses as well as the traditional smoke filled room Complicated federal election laws govern campaign financing Sometimes many candCampaigns to win the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are longer, complex, and confusing to the observer than the general election itself The maze of delegate selection procedures includes state primaries and caucuses as well as the traditional smoke filled room Complicated federal election laws govern campaign financing Sometimes many candidates enter and drop out of the race, while sometimes a stable two way contest occurs the 1976 nomination campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford exemplified each extreme Is it possible to propose general principles to explain the apparent chaos of our presidential nomination system Can those principles account for two such starkly different campaigns as occurred in 1976 In Before the Convention, political scientist John H Aldrich presents a systematic analysis of presidential nomination politics, based on application of rational choice models to candidate behavior Aldrich views the candidates as decision makers with limited resources in a highly competitive environment From this perspective, he seeks to determine why and how candidates choose to run, why some succeed and others fail, and what consequences the nomination process has for the general election and, later, for the President in office.Aldrich begins with a brief history of the presidential selection process, focusing on the continuing shift of power from political elites to the mass electorate He then turns to a detailed analysis of the 1976 nomination campaigns Using data from a variety of sources, Aldrich demonstrates that the very different patterns in these races both conform to the rational choice model The analysis includes consideration of numerous questions of strategy Is there a momentum to campaigns How does a candidate identify and exploit this intangible quality How do candidates decide where to contend and where not to contend What is the nature of policy competition among candidates When does a candidate prefer a fuzzy position to a clearly stated one Other topics include reforms in campaign financing and the expanded and changed role of news coverage.Before the Convention fills a significant gap in the literature on presidential politics, and therefore should be of particular importance to specialists in this area It will be ofinterest also to everyone who is concerned with understanding the rules of the game for a complicated but vitally important exercise of American democracy.

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    One thought on “Before the Convention: Strategies and Choices in Presidential Nomination Campaigns”

    1. This was one of the first applications of game theory to elections, in a manner more sophisticated than Downsian voting.Overall, the book is well written, but I wouldn't recommend it to any non-scholars. It's a book that probably deserves citation, but not one to be poured over.The game theoretic treatment is, well, it leaves much to be desired. But it was innovative at the time. "Rational Choice" doesn't adequately describe the institutionalist bent, which is refreshing and -- in my amateur opi [...]

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