The Party Stands Aside: Elite Party Actor Endorsements during Presidential Primary and Caucus Voting, 2004-2016

By Galdieri, Christopher J.; Parsneau, Kevin | The New England Journal of Political Science, Spring 2016 | Go to article overview

The Party Stands Aside: Elite Party Actor Endorsements during Presidential Primary and Caucus Voting, 2004-2016


Galdieri, Christopher J., Parsneau, Kevin, The New England Journal of Political Science


Introduction

Strategic considerations are often a critical factor in would-be candidates' decisions about whether or not to run for office (Jacobson 2004, Lawless 2012). A potential candidate may ask herself if she is likely to win, if her party is likely to hold a majority after the election, or if running will advance or hamper long-term career goals. An incumbent may ask himself if another term is likely to bring a coveted committee chairmanship, or if a strong candidate is likely to challenge him. Similarly, the men and women who would be president consider not just their own high opinion of their own skills but also their likelihood of winning their party's nomination and the general election in determining whether or not to run. Candidates are not alone in considering the presidential landscape in strategic terms. Elite party actors-elected officials, former officeholders, fundraisers, interest group leaders, and other influential individuals-also evaluate potential presidential candidates, their issue positions, and their electoral viability. These actors, whose policy priorities, electoral fortunes, and other political or career goals are affected dramatically by whether their party's candidate becomes president, and how that president performs in office, evaluate these candidates with an eye toward both their likelihood of winning the election, and their acceptability on key issue positions (Cohen et al. 2008, Bernstein 2004). A candidate who is in perfect alignment with these actors' policy preferences but unlikely to win the general election because of a history of controversy, scandal, or inflammatory statements, for instance, would be less likely to win these actors' support than a candidate who is only partially aligned with elite party actors' policy preferences but strikes them as very likely to win both the nomination and general election.

"Elite party actors," of course, are not a monolith. Different individuals will have different policy priorities and different evaluations of what makes a candidate electable or not. One person's unhinged rhetorical bomb-thrower is another's plain-speaking truth-teller. Taken in the aggregate, however, we can learn about elite actors' considerations of candidates for their party's presidential nomination from their decisions about which candidates to endorse publicly and when they choose to announce these endorsements. In this paper, we consider whether these endorsement decisions are affected by the context of the general election, by which party elites are associated with, or the idiosyncrasies of a given election cycle. On the first point, we are interested in the extent to which the nature of the general election appears to affect elite party actors' endorsement decisions during the primary contest. Specifically, do elite party actors behave, in the aggregate, differently when their party's eventual nominee will be facing an incumbent president than they do when an incumbent president is barred by the Twenty-Second Amendment from seeking another term?

Second, are there differences between the parties in how party actors evaluate and line up behind candidates for their nomination? While political folk wisdom about Republicans' tendency to always nominate the candidate "next in line" for the nomination has little empirical support (Bernstein 2013, Kilgore 2009), research into nomination contests has found that endorsements have been a stronger predictor of nomination contest outcomes for Republicans than Democrats (Steger 2007). Freeman (1986) argues that each party also possesses a distinct political culture, with power flowing upward from the grassroots in the Democratic Party and downward from party leaders in the Republican Party. Do the patterns of endorsements among Republican officeholders differ from those of Democratic elites along these lines? Are Democratic officeholders more scattered in their support for candidates, or more likely to wait to endorse until the voters have had a chance to express their preferences among the contenders? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Party Stands Aside: Elite Party Actor Endorsements during Presidential Primary and Caucus Voting, 2004-2016
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.