Making Campaigns Count: Leadership and Coalition-Building in 1980

By Darrell M. West | Go to book overview

Preface

In this book, I explore leadership and coalition-building in the 1980 presidential campaign. Unlike many studies of elections, which emphasize voters, I concentrate on candidates and their personal advisors. Despite the importance of candidate strategies, research on political leaders virtually has disappeared from library shelves (with the exception of journalistic accounts). Twenty years ago, scholars like C. Wright Mills studied the relations among leaders to see if a "power elite" governed America. Others explored changes in the composition of leadership to determine whether there was a "circulation of elites." But over the last two decades, election analysts have studied voters to the near exclusion of candidates.

Happily, this pattern is beginning to change. Recent work by Richard Fenno demonstrates the importance of candidate "home style" for congressional elections. At the presidential level, Benjamin Page makes the simple but important point that people do not vote in a vacuum; rather they make decisions within the options that candidates present them. And Gary Jacobson and Samuel Kernell argue that potential candidates and financial contributors help to determine the competitiveness of House elections by influencing the quality of challengers.

My analysis falls within this "reemerging" research tradition of candidate studies. I ask the following questions: How have changes in presidential campaigns influenced candidate strategies? What coalitions did presidential contenders try to put together? How did candidates use rhetoric, campaign travels, and symbolism in their coalition-building? What did candidates learn from audiences in their months and years on the campaign trail? And what do these things imply for political leadership and coalition-building?

As befits a project that relied on extensive fieldwork (in-depth interviews, personal observation, and the detailed study of travel schedules, candidate speeches, and audience reactions), I developed many debts. I wish to thank Indiana University faculty member Leroy Rieselbach, for reading countless drafts, making insightful comments, and teaching me (among other things) to never

-xi-

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Making Campaigns Count: Leadership and Coalition-Building in 1980
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments iv
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1- Introduction 3
  • Notes 12
  • 2- The Changing Nature of Presidential Campaigns 15
  • Notes 34
  • 3- Candidates and Electoral Coalitions 39
  • Notes 62
  • 4campaign Rhetoric and the Political Agenda 69
  • Notes 92
  • 5- Constituencies and the Allocation Of Travel Time 97
  • Notes 114
  • 6- The Role of Political Symbolism 117
  • Notes 131
  • 7- Candidate Presentations and Audience Reactions 133
  • Notes 148
  • 8- Campaigns and Governance: Predicting Presidential Behavior 151
  • Notes 161
  • Appendixes 163
  • Notes 174
  • Bibliographical Essay 189
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 199
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