Super Tuesday – Importance of Party and Momentum
- University of California - Berkeley
- Political Science
- Political Science 102
- Super Tuesday – Importance of Party and Momentum
Last Modified: 2011-07-13
- Carter is a classic casebook about the example of momentum.
- With detailed knowledge about the candidates, momentum is difficult to create.
- Momentum doesn’t really matter on issues, but rather on cue-taking.
- A lot of people don’t vote for their self-interests.
- Public opinion matters a lot, giving foundation for the momentum to play a big role.
- Changes that party leaders made to the nomination system to ensure that extremists didn’t get the lay for nomination:
- (1) Super Tuesday (1984/1988) – started out with a group of southern states. First, we’ll have Iowa and New Hampshire, and then we’ll make the candidates go south. This may have a moderating tendency so that the candidate wouldn’t be like McGovern.
- (2) Super Delegates – they’re not pledged to a particular candidate. They were usually party leaders, so it was a way to introduce more influence of the party leaders into the nomination process. In many cases of close elections, they hoped that these super delegates would cast the tipping vote.
- (3) Front-loading – make sure that candidate who has a lot of money and is the establishment candidate can sew up the race quickly.
- John Edwards was one of the few candidates who addressed poverty, but he did not necessarily attract votes of the poor.
- But this has been a very contentious issue.
- More and more states are keep moving their primary dates over. Even today’s election displays that primary calendar is becoming compact because each states wants to have more say in the nomination. So over time, states are gradually moving their dates forward. – gradual process.
- States often think it’s unfair that Iowa and New Hampshire get special treatment. They constantly put pressure on the Democratic convention to change this rule.
- Florida and Michigan are getting punished for moving their primaries too early. Their delegates don’t count.
- Candidates with big war chests can benefit, because they can have the funds to run such campaigns in the beginning.
- Issue activists take over the party after the 1960 race?
- The party network is severely weakened after this reform.
- Candidates begin to follow outside strategies.
- Outsiders, extremist strategies (very liberal positions for Democratic primary)
- (1) Party members weren’t able to coordinate during this invisible primary of 2008 race.
- (2) It seems to have been more bottom-up than elite-driven in this primary. o Is the 2008 just lousy luck?
- Maybe nothing has significantly changed in this nomination. Maybe it’s just an anomaly. Maybe next election will go back to the general trend.
- Or, maybe the fact that the online campaign has so much effect disallows party members to control the nominations any longer – because of the technological changes that has taken place.
- Be able to get the endorsement of high political elites and ask them to help fundraising, etc.
- Celebrity endorsements are interesting, but they still aren’t part of this party network. Karol is talking about people that are politically active. You need those who were continuously involved with elections.
- Anti-war movement that got behind Howard Dean
- Party network is necessary to win the nominations, because they’re the connection to the resources
- Hence for David Karol, this invisible primary before the primary is important.
- Professor Bimes finds two problems with this theory:
- These delegates usually determined who they wanted to vote for beforehand.
- But this also, didn’t really come about too well. o But mainly through informal networks that the party has adapted to.
- Momentum – blog that summarizes Larry Bartel’s work
- But Jesse Jackson actually ends up doing better than his more moderate opponent in 1988. So this mechanisms didn’t really work out that well.
- If a certain candidate was voted in Iowa, this serves as a certain cue that may influence your vote.
- More about vitality, rather than issues. – Nobody wants to vote for a loser.
- Even in this nomination case, it is not so much based on issues, but rather on personality, electability in the general election, and so forth.
- Because differences between Clinton and Obama are so small, a lot of the times these differences get lost within the electorate.
- Think about sampling accuracy of polls, etc.
- The polls right before the election is doubtful as to the causal mechanisms that might be at play so close to the voting day.
- Some formal changes that party leaders introduced the system to regain control:
- Oprah supporting Obama has great media coverage.
- Must appeal to very liberal delegates in the primary, whereas before, the party network was relatively moderate.
- Poll numbers are not a bad record of success, but there are a couple of notable exceptions.
- Election 2008: On the last poll before the Iowa caucus, Hilary Clinton would clearly be the leader and on the Republican side, it would be Giuliani.
- Clinton has a mandate on universal healthcare.
- Obama supports universal healthcare but do not mandate it. o Primarily personality-driven and viability of the candidate.
- Democratic defense is that small states like Iowa and New Hampshire require less money to campaign and still give an effect of a preliminary display on model citizen voting of the United States.
- California, for example, would require immense amount of money to be a place to campaign for the first primary.
- Richard Daly doesn’t even get seated on the 1972 National Convention. Remember that he used to control the convention in the 1968 election.
- As his numbers rise in the polls, there were elites jumping in the bandwagon with Howard Dean because he looked like the next Democratic candidate.
- Seems problematic because it doesn’t seem like a voter-run process, but an elite-run process. - Problems with 2008
- But money is not as good as polls in saying something about the candidacy.
- Romney has a lot of money, but he doesn’t really get up on that bar.
- Some people worry about John McCain not having much money.
- But it’s often the case that the person with the most money doesn’t win the nomination.
- Utility from voting for the winner, etc.
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