Numbers: Building and
Coalitions are an important part of all politics: electoral, legislative, and issue. But they are the lifeblood of issue advocacy.
Candidates construct electoral coalitions of voters to win an election day majority. They craft their positions on issues such as the environment, education, civil rights, and crime in an effort to win support from sufficient numbers of voters who share their views. But people vote, not interest groups. Voters and interest groups who form a candidate's electoral coalition do not act in concert and are unconcerned with the candidate's coalition-building strategy. Interest-group endorsements can be helpful in persuading voters, but groups do not coordinate their endorsements across issue lines: education, environmental, and civil rights groups do not unite to back candidates. It is the voters' job to assess competing candidates' positions and cast their votes one at a time.
Legislators assemble legislative coalitions of other legislators to pass bills. Farm-state representatives join their inner-city colleagues to increase the food stamp program. Senators from tobacco-growing states such as Kentucky and North Carolina form a coalition with those from sugarcane-growing states such as Hawaii and Louisiana to pro-