Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Party Versus Faction in the Reformed Presidential Nominating System

  • Marty Cohen (a1), David Karol (a2), Hans Noel (a3) and John Zaller (a4)

Abstract

Political scientists have devoted vastly more attention to general presidential elections than to party nominations for president. This emphasis might be reasonable if parties could be counted on to nominate generic representatives of their traditions. But it is clear that they cannot. Since the party reforms of the 1970s, regulars like Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Al Gore have sometimes won fairly easy nominations, but outsider candidates like Jimmy Carter and Howard Dean have made strong runs or even won. 2016 has produced extremes of both types: ultimate regular Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and far outsider Donald Trump on the Republican side. It seems, moreover, that party regulars are having more difficulty in recent cycles than they did in the 1980s and 1990s. There is therefore some urgency to the question: when and why do party regulars tend to win nominations?

We examine this question from the point of view of two well-known studies, Nelson Polsby’s Consequences of Party Reform and our own, The Party Decides. The former explains why incentives built into the reformed system of presidential nominations make outsider and factional candidates like Trump likely. The latter argues that, following the factional nominations of the 1970s, party leaders learned to steer nominations to insider favorites. This article uses the logic of these studies to argue that major trends over the past two decades – the rise of new political media, the flood of early money into presidential nominations, and the conflict among party factions – have made it easier for factional candidates and outsiders to challenge elite control of nominations.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Party Versus Faction in the Reformed Presidential Nominating System
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Party Versus Faction in the Reformed Presidential Nominating System
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Party Versus Faction in the Reformed Presidential Nominating System
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Bartels, Larry M. 1988. Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Bawn, Kathy, Cohen, Marty, Karol, David, Masket, Seth, Noel, Hans, and Zaller, John R.. 2012. “A Theory of Political Parties: Groups, Policy Demands and Nominations in American Politics.” Perspectives on Politics 10 (3): 571–97.
Cohen, Marty. 2015. Moral Victories: Cultural Conservatism and the Rise of a New GOP House. Presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. The Palmer House, Chicago, IL.
Cohen, Marty, Karol, David, Noel, Hans and Zaller, John. 2008a “Parties in Rough Weather” The Forum 5 (4).
Cohen, Marty, Karol, David, Noel, Hans and Zaller, John. 2008b. The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations before and after Reform. Chicago; University of Chicago Press.
Ellis, Christopher and Stimson, James A.. 2012. Ideology in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Grossmann, Matthew and Hopkins, David. 2016. Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hadley, Arthur. 1976. The Invisible Primary. Prentice-Hall.
Karol, David. 2009. Party Position Change in American Politics: Coalition Management. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Karpf, Dave. 2016. “Schrodinger’s Audience: How News Analytics Handed America Trump.” Civicist. May 4. http://civichall.org/civicist/schrodingers-audience-how-news-analytics-gave-america-trump/
Kinder, Donald R. and Kalmoe, Nathan P.. Forthcoming. Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Noel, Hans 2013. Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Noel, Hans 2016. “Conventional Wisdom: Why Contested Conventions are Both Democratic and Good for Party Governance” Paper presented at the UMD-Hewlett Conference on “Parties, Policy Demanders and Polarization” University of Maryland, College Park June 10, 2016.
Polsby, Nelson W. 1983. Consequences of Party Reform. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shafer, Byron E. 1983. Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed