Presidential Nominations

1846 Words 8 Pages
In Wayne Steger’s book, A Citizen’s Guide to Presidential Nominations: The Competition for Leadership, he identifies the important factors of the presidential nomination process, which can then be used to understand the 2016 cycle. His argument states that the crucial period of a campaign is during the invisible primary, which is the year or so preceding the delegate selection process. If party stakeholders are cohesive, (as in the Democratic Party,) the race will be predictable; if they are not, (as in the Republican Party,) the outcome is more of a tossup. The outcome and its predictability also have to do with the size of the candidate pool; more candidates lead to more uncertainty. The Democratic pool is much smaller (and much more predictable) …show more content…
The invisible primary “is mainly an insider game largely played by candidates and party stakeholders” which can heavily influence the outcome even before the state-by-state delegate selection process begins. (Steger, 39) Thus, if party elite can agree on a candidate before the primaries and caucuses begin, that candidate is essentially assured the nomination. Despite the American presidential selection process being uniquely democratic, the party elite still hold quite a lot of power. He also makes sure to distinguish the two types of party stakeholders: leaders of interest groups – such as the NRA or the Human Rights Campaign – and party activists are policy demanders, who want a nominee that supports their issue; party leaders and elected officials tend to look for a candidate who can win the general election. (Steger, 40) This distinction is important, because they have somewhat conflicting agendas, and thus have differing effects on the outcome. Even if a Republican candidate is expected to do extremely well during the general election, the NRA is unlikely to endorse them unless said candidate will prioritize their agenda. Candidates need to appeal to both types of party stakeholders during the invisible primary if they want to increase their chance of winning the …show more content…
Candidates account for several factors when determining whether or not they will run for president, but the resulting candidate field also influences who will eventually win their party’s nomination. (Steger, 10) Party stakeholders must decide which candidate they will endorse from the candidate field. They do not necessarily have to endorse anyone, although if they want to use their influence to support a candidate, it is most influential during the invisible primary. Who makes up the candidate field and whether or not party leaders can coalesce behind one of them majorly influences how the rest of the nomination process plays

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