A Few Rules of the Game
At this point we have a good deal of information about voters in primaries. How well these participants select candidates cannot be judged solely on the basis of the information presented so far, however. The rules governing the conduct of presidential primaries may affect the ability of voters in primaries to make good choices. For instance, a common complaint leveled against voters in primaries is that they cannot select "electable" candidates (see, for instance, Polsby 1983; Ranney 1975). The reasons offered in support of this claim are that voters are uninformed about the electability of potential nominees and that voters are unrepresentative of the rank and file. While Chapter 2 casts serious doubt on the accuracy of the latter, the former may have some merit, given the results in Chapter 4. I shall argue, however, that it is not necessarily the weaknesses of voters that prevent candidates with broad support from securing the nomination; it is rather the rules that may be preventing such contenders from capturing a majority of delegates.
This chapter recognizes that different rules can lead to different kinds of behavior by voters. Up to this point I have ignored, for the most part, how the rules may shape the way voters in primaries behave. This chapter and the next one will attempt to rectify that situation.
As noted above, many scholars claim that the replacement of a politician-dominated system of presidential nominations by one dominated by rank-and-file voters has weakened the capacity of the national parties