How to Rebuild the Primary Process: The Damping Circuit Proposal

 
350px-DampedSine

Over time, a damping circuit reduces oscillation and reveals the underlying signal.

As we grind towards the finish line of this disastrous primary season, it’s more apparent than ever that our system of primaries is monumentally stupid: stupid if you’re a Republican, stupid if you’re a Democrat, stupid all around. And I’m not merely saying this because of recent events. Let me explain.

The first, most baffling question is why do we allow the states who go first to go first? What is the magical formula that underlies the order in which states hold their primaries? Was it handed down from the Founders, who — in yet another extraordinarily prescient maneuver — decreed the nation’s nominating contest shall begin in Iowa, a state that wouldn’t even exist until 57 years after the Constitution was ratified?

Of course not. In reality, we didn’t arrive at this system through reason. The system, such that it is, formed over the course of years, with quadrennial modification of the relative order in which states go. Iowa goes first with its caucuses these days because … Jimmy Carter won it in 1976. New Hampshire goes second because … well, because it has since 1920 and because it has a state statute requiring that it go first. The net effect of this ordering is to bias the entire presidential nominating process, allowing one state which has a notoriously poor record of picking the eventual winner to have a disproportionate share of the nation’s attention, followed by another that’s a notorious outlier.

Fortunes are sunk into Iowa’s caucuses so that candidates can get a week’s worth of national attention and earned media. This, of course is merely the apéritif, the foretaste of the three-month bacchanal to come where candidates savage one another for the amusement of the media and various party apparatchiks. If you’re a Republican and a conservative, this ought to annoy and frustrate you to no end because, all too frequently, it seems like the system best serves the interests of states that will play no role in electing a potential Republican president.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The parties have tremendous power to influence the whens and whys of how primary contests occur. They should use that power — up to and including the stripping of delegates, such as happened in Michigan in 2008 — to better arrange the system in order to produce better outcomes.

(A full discussion of the merits of our system over that of a parliamentary one deserves its own post, but — for our purposes here — the main benefits are that our system rewards moderation, encourages early and sustained engagement from voters, and forces coalitions to form before the people speak. All told, I much prefer this to the alternative. But again, that’s for another time).

Several proposals to reform our primaries have come forward of late, including the concept of a regional primary. This idea has a great deal to commend it. Distinct regions of the nation tend to have distinct voting patterns, so allowing those regions to have their say severally seems like a good idea on the surface. The problem with such a system is that it biases any given election heavily in favor of whichever region goes first. Even if the regions were rotated once a cycle, a given region may have to wait a generation before it gets a chance to speak first.

But given that the American system of electoral politics is inherently designed to produce outcomes that the voters can trust, I think it makes sense to design the primary system to reflect that reality and have it act as a sort of damping circuit whereby the “noise” of the initial conditions of the election is quickly attenuated into a true signal. The question is: How can we accomplish that?

2012 state vote

Percentage of voters, by state, who voted for Romney in the 2012 general election.

The chart above is a representation of the percentage of votes, by state, that Mitt Romney received in the 2012 general election. I’ve arranged the states in descending order of support – the gap in the middle represents the break between Republican and Democrat-won states. Washington, DC isn’t a state (or even on this planet, by the looks of things).

Rather than having a primary system designed around geography, perhaps we should have a system designed to reflect the various states’ ideologies. Moreover, this should be done with the intent of “damping” outcomes, so as to better reflect the electorate’s true signal. My proposal is to hold four groups of primaries in successive weeks, each made group made up of (decreasingly) ideologically diverse states.

week 1

Proposed First Week’s Primaries

So, for example, the Week One’s primaries under the new system would consist of the most lopsided states: Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Nebraska (i.e., the most Republican states), and Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington, DC (the most Democratic).

These states represent the most extreme levels of support in either direction. It also happens that the number of electoral votes from Blue States is perfectly balanced by those from Red States, at 53 apiece. Running both extremes together will place ideological wings in tension, which is by intent. It’s very likely that the sort of candidate that can win in Hawaii as a Republican isn’t the sort who can win in Utah, but that’s alright. Early in the process, it’s not merely okay to have division, but actually desirable  in that it can help us discover which wing of the party is stronger.

week 2

Proposed Second Week Primaries

Moving forward, Week Two’s primaries would consist of the next-most ideological states: Kansas, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Texas, Montana, Mississippi, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, and California.

There are fewer Blue states here because of California’s enormity, but the number of electoral votes represented by each side is still relatively balanced at 83 and 81. You also get the two titans of California and Texas balancing one another’s influence.

week 3

Proposed Third Week Primaries

Week Three’s primaries would consist of South Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Connecticut and Illinois. You still have a decent balance of Electoral College representation at 71-72 and good geographic diversity. What should strike you as well is that — as we draw to the end of the primaries — the candidates have to appeal more to the electorate’s center of mass, as the type of candidate who can win both North Carolina and Michigan is at least somewhat likely to prevail in November.

week 4

Proposed Final Week Primaries

Week Four’s final primaries would consist of the classic, hotly-contested swing states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Minnesota. If the purpose of this system is to attenuate the system’s signal and find a nominee who can be victorious in the general election, Week Four will provide an important reality check, as any nominee who is going to win the general election must be able to appeal to voters in these states.

Looking at the Electoral College math is harrowing if you’re a Republican. Considering the sorted list of states, a Republican nominee can win Utah through Virginia and still fall electoral four votes shy of victory. As it is, the very worst thing we can do to ourselves is allow either of the ideological extremes within either party to dominate the nominating process. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that — in an ideologically bifurcated nation — a few states hold the key to electoral victory, and its essential that our party find candidates who can win not only Utah, but also Pennsylvania and every state in between.

This proposal isn’t set in stone and the clustering of primaries can be updated every four years to reflect new conditions as necessary. The principle, however, should remain constant: No candidate can wield power that was not first earned electorally, and this system would be a step in the direction of finding just such a person.

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  1. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Maj, this is impressive!

    • #1
  2. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    TG:Maj, this is impressive!

    I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.  Thank you for that!

    • #2
  3. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    I love the idea, but would do the order backward: start with the swing states. This would produce candidates more likely to win in the general.

    I would also still support states going one at a time or in small bunches early on, so that candidates who are lesser-known and have less funds get a chance to impress with strong ground games and face-to-face interaction with voters.

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Good idea and analysis. Glad to see it on the Main Feed.

    • #4
  5. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Lazy_Millennial:I love the idea, but would do the order backward: start with the swing states. This would produce candidates more likely to win in the general.

    I would also still support states going one at a time or in small bunches early on, so that candidates who are lesser-known and have less funds get a chance to impress with strong ground games and face-to-face interaction with voters.

    If you do it that way, it will have the effect of causing the electorate to ideologically separate rather than homogenize.  The point is to give the most ideologically disparate states the opportunity to begin the process and then hone in during successive weeks.

    • #5
  6. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    Majestyk:

    Lazy_Millennial:I love the idea, but would do the order backward: start with the swing states. This would produce candidates more likely to win in the general.

    I would also still support states going one at a time or in small bunches early on, so that candidates who are lesser-known and have less funds get a chance to impress with strong ground games and face-to-face interaction with voters.

    If you do it that way, it will have the effect of causing the electorate to ideologically separate rather than homogenize. The point is to give the most ideologically disparate states the opportunity to begin the process and then hone in during successive weeks.

    Would it? I figure the most far-out candidates will drop out when they don’t get early victories.

    • #6
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Thank you. This is well thought out, and good to think about.

    • #7
  8. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Doesn’t this system give the most power to the most ideological states, since they go first?  Also, it doesn’t seem likely that the two parties are both going to agree to adopt such a system since they agree on nothing.  If they don’t both sign on, what are the effects?  There is no reason one can’t do it without the other though, I just wonder how that might affect the outcome.

    • #8
  9. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Lazy_Millennial:

    Majestyk:

    Lazy_Millennial:I love the idea, but would do the order backward: start with the swing states. This would produce candidates more likely to win in the general.

    I would also still support states going one at a time or in small bunches early on, so that candidates who are lesser-known and have less funds get a chance to impress with strong ground games and face-to-face interaction with voters.

    If you do it that way, it will have the effect of causing the electorate to ideologically separate rather than homogenize. The point is to give the most ideologically disparate states the opportunity to begin the process and then hone in during successive weeks.

    Would it? I figure the most far-out candidates will drop out when they don’t get early victories.

    Think about it this way: at the beginning of the process you naturally have the most diverse field because the maximum number of candidates are in the race.  This allows the maximum range of ideological diversity, which is reflected in the voting characteristics of the states selected to go first.

    You might think that this would encourage extremists, but in reality, the “extremists” would have to run successful campaigns in a variety of states in order to be able to justify moving forward from the first week’s primaries.

    Non-consensus candidates won’t have broad enough bases of support to accomplish that goal – especially not moving forward into the more “moderate” states.

    • #9
  10. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Merina Smith:Doesn’t this system give the most power to the most ideological states, since they go first? Also, it doesn’t seem likely that the two parties are both going to agree to adopt such a system since they agree on nothing. If they don’t both sign on, what are the effects? There is no reason one can’t do it without the other though, I just wonder how that might affect the outcome.

    I think that the effect that this would have would be for those states to essentially “set the boundaries” and going forward, the result would almost inevitably be in between those initial results.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Majestyk:

    Lazy_Millennial:

    Majestyk:

    Lazy_Millennial:I love the idea, but would do the order backward: start with the swing states. This would produce candidates more likely to win in the general.

    I would also still support states going one at a time or in small bunches early on, so that candidates who are lesser-known and have less funds get a chance to impress with strong ground games and face-to-face interaction with voters.

    If you do it that way, it will have the effect of causing the electorate to ideologically separate rather than homogenize. The point is to give the most ideologically disparate states the opportunity to begin the process and then hone in during successive weeks.

    Would it? I figure the most far-out candidates will drop out when they don’t get early victories.

    Think about it this way: at the beginning of the process you naturally have the most diverse field because the maximum number of candidates are in the race. This allows the maximum range of ideological diversity, which is reflected in the voting characteristics of the states selected to go first.

    You might think that this would encourage extremists, but in reality, the “extremists” would have to run successful campaigns in a variety of states in order to be able to justify moving forward from the first week’s primaries.

    Non-consensus candidates won’t have broad enough bases of support to accomplish that goal – especially not moving forward into the more “moderate” states.

    OK that makes some sense.

    I do know that Iowa going first is the reason we have the ethonoal mess.

    • #11
  12. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    Majestyk:Non-consensus candidates won’t have broad enough bases of support to accomplish that goal – especially not moving forward into the more “moderate” states.

    But how do the moderate candidates survive running in the extreme states first?

    • #12
  13. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    No joke, though.  We need to do something like this.

    I wish that some congressperson would contact you to sit down and write it into a bill.  You know there are several who would gladly do so.

    If only we were better at successfully utilizing the power of Ricochet, one or more of those people would be reading this post right now.

    • #13
  14. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Majestyk:

    Merina Smith:Doesn’t this system give the most power to the most ideological states, since they go first? Also, it doesn’t seem likely that the two parties are both going to agree to adopt such a system since they agree on nothing. If they don’t both sign on, what are the effects? There is no reason one can’t do it without the other though, I just wonder how that might affect the outcome.

    I think that the effect that this would have would be for those states to essentially “set the boundaries” and going forward, the result would almost inevitably be in between those initial results.

    I like that it would almost certainly eliminate people like Trump.

    • #14
  15. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    p.s. I think this could be part of an ongoing series:  “A rational and realistic plan for taking back the Republican party.”  Enough well-written posts, and it could be turned into a short book.

    • #15
  16. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    RyanM:No joke, though. We need to do something like this.

    I wish that some congressperson would contact you to sit down and write it into a bill. You know there are several who would gladly do so.

    If only we were better at successfully utilizing the power of Ricochet, one or more of those people would be reading this post right now.

    Don’t the parties determine how their primaries work for themselves.  This isn’t a matter of legislation, is it?

    • #16
  17. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    This proposal makes imminent sense, but how do you get the Party to adopt it? Campaigns are much longer than the primaries/caucuses due to candidate strategies not the voting calendar. So how do you marry a four week primary system to a year-plus campaign? My suggestion is that you have caucuses in as many states as desire it that awards some fraction of delegates before the four week primary season. This gives the candidates and media something to do. I would organize the caucus schedule in the same manner as Maj suggests for the primaries. This would help in noise reduction coming out of caucuses. By doing both, the campaigns have to be designed to work political pros as well as popular media.

    • #17
  18. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Lazy_Millennial:

    Majestyk:Non-consensus candidates won’t have broad enough bases of support to accomplish that goal – especially not moving forward into the more “moderate” states.

    But how do the moderate candidates survive running in the extreme states first?

    Each candidate can choose a path through which they seek the nomination.  If a particular candidate wants to select the path of “capturing nothing but the reddest states” that person has to then commit to winning those states throughout the nomination contest.

    That leaves open a channel for a more moderate candidate to sweep through the other set of states – and perhaps even a third lane for a candidate who wants to shoot the gap in between the “left” and “right” candidate.  The point is this: any given candidate is unlikely to be able to appeal solely to one ideological category, so moving forward they’re going to have to be capable of not merely winning Utah – but of picking up Pennsylvania.

    Ted Cruz’s entire campaign strategy was based upon the idea of winning via picking one swath of the electorate and using it to carry him to victory.  This strategy might work under this system… for a week.  It would quickly fizzle out the most ideologically extreme or narrow candidacies.

    It should be noted as well that the extended primary we have now encourages candidates to stay in long after their path to the nomination is foreclosed because they can limp forward financially through some of the more sparse weeks.  This system would force candidates to have robust operations throughout the country across a variety of states or risk being swamped.

    • #18
  19. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Merina Smith:

    RyanM:No joke, though. We need to do something like this.

    I wish that some congressperson would contact you to sit down and write it into a bill. You know there are several who would gladly do so.

    If only we were better at successfully utilizing the power of Ricochet, one or more of those people would be reading this post right now.

    Don’t the parties determine how their primaries work for themselves. This isn’t a matter of legislation, is it?

    Perhaps I misspoke.  :)  Either way, I do think that ideas like this should be bantered around in places where they might actually be implemented.  2020 is not so far away that we cannot look at changing the process that has not served us particularly well in recent years.

    • #19
  20. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Rodin:This proposal makes imminent sense, but how do you get the Party to adopt it? Campaigns are much longer than the primaries/caucuses due to candidate strategies not the voting calendar. So how do you marry a four week primary system to a year-plus campaign? My suggestion is that you have caucuses in as many states as desire it that awards some fraction of delegates before the four week primary season. This gives the candidates and media something to do.

    I would suggest having caucuses in every state, plus closed primaries.  You may caucus with the party for whom you voted in the last election (yes, that disqualifies new voters) and if you participate in the caucus, you don’t get to vote for the other party.  You can obviously choose not to vote…  but I think our open primary system, which is made so easy, creates a lot of room for fraud.  For instance, I could easily have voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary this year…  I think if I pick Sanders, I should not be able to vote Republican, and vise versa.

    Also, having caucuses tends to stifle the mob mentality somewhat.  People don’t just sit on their couches watching TV and then mark their mail-in ballot.  They have to actually participate in the process.

    • #20
  21. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Rodin:This proposal makes imminent sense, but how do you get the Party to adopt it? Campaigns are much longer than the primaries/caucuses due to candidate strategies not the voting calendar. So how do you marry a four week primary system to a year-plus campaign? My suggestion is that you have caucuses in as many states as desire it that awards some fraction of delegates before the four week primary season. This gives the candidates and media something to do. I would organize the caucus schedule in the same manner as Maj suggests for the primaries. This would help in noise reduction coming out of caucuses. By doing both, the campaigns have to be designed to work political pros as well as popular media.

    As a matter of policy, the parties work with the states to establish the timing and method of elections.  The beauty of this is that the Democrat party will be interested in it as well because their graph of support is a mirror image of the Republicans – that means their weak states are our strong states and vice versa.

    Obviously, the parties can’t bind state legislatures – but the parties can punish states that don’t conform to the framework by stripping them of delegates, and thus, influence in the national party and nominating process.

    That is the stick that they can use to influence the states.  The carrot on the other hand is that as a matter of stagecraft and showmanship, this setup would almost be like the Final Four of politics. It would concentrate interest in the process and be a bonanza for the cable and major news networks.  It spreads out interest into places where the media don’t typically want to go as well – being as the conclusion is typically foregone in certain locales, but this would force coverage of events in Boise, and Providence being as they’re suddenly going first.

    • #21
  22. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    Majestyk:That leaves open a channel for a more moderate candidate to sweep through the other set of states – and perhaps even a third lane for a candidate who wants to shoot the gap in between the “left” and “right” candidate. The point is this: any given candidate is unlikely to be able to appeal solely to one ideological category, so moving forward they’re going to have to be capable of not merely winning Utah – but of picking up Pennsylvania.

    I’m still think this would lead to extreme candidates winning. Imagine if, on week 1, the “moderate” Republican candidate wins NY, Maryland and DC. Wouldn’t this candidate be easily tarred among Republicans as “the left’s favorite candidate” going forward?

    It should be noted as well that the extended primary we have now encourages candidates to stay in long after their path to the nomination is foreclosed because they can limp forward financially through some of the more sparse weeks. This system would force candidates to have robust operations throughout the country across a variety of states or risk being swamped.

    I also don’t like this part, as it favors the well-known and big-donor-backed candidates over the others. I’d be fine with weeks 3 and 4 happening simultaneously, but let weeks 1 and 2 occur in drawn-out fashion, so that candidates have a chance to win with strong ground games in early states.

    • #22
  23. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    RyanM:

    I would suggest having caucuses in every state, plus closed primaries.

    I forgot this as well and meant to address it directly.

    Another stick that the party can use is to limit the number of delegates a state gets if they choose to have an open primary.  Just make the rules clear that your delegation will be reduced by 20% if you allow unaffiliated or Democrat voters into your primary.  That alone may encourage the state parties to clean up their act.

    • #23
  24. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    TG:Maj, this is impressive!

    Indeed!  Excellent work here!

    • #24
  25. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Lazy_Millennial: I’m still think this would lead to extreme candidates winning.

    I agree with this.  I see candidates building up huge leads, meaning the others start having funding problems, and they get the psychological benefit of seeming unbeatable.  The ones dropping out along the way are the ones most likely to win the later contests.

    • #25
  26. Cyrano Inactive
    Cyrano
    @Cyrano

    Love this idea, and the imagination behind it.

    A few thoughts:

    (1) The proposal’s characteristic that states would be voting in relatively sizable batches might favor better known, better financed candidates that don’t need to grow their organization and visibility organically;
    (2) The temporally compressed nature of this primary system might not permit a candidate’s flaws to become sufficiently apparent before it is ‘too late’.

    How do you perceive that 2016 would have played out under your system? I think (1) means this system would favor a candidate like Jeb Bush. A argument against (2) is we ended up with Trump anyway but, then again, Trump had the money and visibility starting out so that the barrier implied in (1) would not apply. Trump’s ideas transplanted into a less well-known, less wealthy candidate would not have been as successful (Buchanan and Huckabee come to mind).

    • #26
  27. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Majestyk:

    RyanM:

    I would suggest having caucuses in every state, plus closed primaries.

    I forgot this as well and meant to address it directly.

    Another stick that the party can use is to limit the number of delegates a state gets if they choose to have an open primary. Just make the rules clear that your delegation will be reduced by 20% if you allow unaffiliated or Democrat voters into your primary. That alone may encourage the state parties to clean up their act.

    Purely out of curiosity – not as a claim that this election was unfair – I would like to see the actual numbers of democrat voters who voted in this year’s republican primary.  I have, many times, said that I think much of Trump’s appeal is to blue-collar democrats.  Yes, these people will likely also vote for him the primary, so it’s not fraud…  but having closed primaries would keep things relatively consistent and avoid massive swings like we saw this year.  I do wonder how Trump would have done this year had he run as a Democrat on the exact same platform.

    • #27
  28. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Lazy_Millennial:

    I’m still think this would lead to extreme candidates winning. Imagine if, on week 1, the “moderate” Republican candidate wins NY, Maryland and DC. Wouldn’t this candidate be easily tarred among Republicans as “the left’s favorite candidate” going forward?

    I don’t think this is inappropriate.

    Let such states have their say – but it’s not as if George Pataki was running away with early contests this cycle only to be stifled by millions of Jeb Bush’s dollars.

    Politics remains politics: if you have money and the backing of donors you have an advantage of one sort – but as this cycle has shown, even that advantage sometimes ends up as a liability.

    I also don’t like this part, as it favors the well-known and big-donor-backed candidates over the others. I’d be fine with weeks 3 and 4 happening simultaneously, but let weeks 1 and 2 occur in drawn-out fashion, so that candidates have a chance to win with strong ground games in early states.

    Oh, I think that is precisely what this system will achieve.  A grassroots candidate will do quite well in the early states where organization counts a great deal more than big money.

    However, going forward from there, that grassroots candidate has to be able to appeal to more middle-of-the-road states as well.  If they can’t… poof.

    One of the unstated benefits of this system as well would be that barring a genuine consensus candidate sweeping to victory in the first 3 weeks of primaries, it would be difficult for any given candidate to nab a majority of the required delegates in order to seize the nomination.  The effect that this would have would be to raise the importance of each week’s primaries, with the final week likely deciding who will win.

    No candidate can afford to simply sit out a week’s worth of primaries like we’ve seen in the past.

    • #28
  29. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    Majestyk:

    How would the pundits and panderers, the party apparatchiks and the petty media outlets make their money in your system? And if they don’t have a chance at that ‘main chance’, wouldn’t they blow up or stymie any such rational efforts at reform? Isn’t the system we have–though it grew like topsy–now perfectly designed to achieve the result it achieves? And though we the voters hate it, was the system ever really intended to work to our benefit?

    • #29
  30. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Cyrano:Love this idea, and the imagination behind it.

    A few thoughts:

    (1) The proposal’s characteristic that states would be voting in relatively sizable batches might favor better known, better financed candidates that don’t need to grow their organization and visibility organically;
    (2) The temporally compressed nature of this primary system might not permit a candidate’s flaws to become sufficiently apparent before it is ‘too late’.

    How do you perceive that 2016 would have played out under your system? I think (1) means this system would favor a candidate like Jeb Bush. A argument against (2) is we ended up with Trump anyway but, then again, Trump had the money and visibility starting out so that the barrier implied in (1) would not apply. Trump’s ideas transplanted into a less well-known, less wealthy candidate would not have been as successful (Buchanan and Huckabee come to mind).

    I’ve read about “preference cascade” in the past and my thought about it is this: the more time that elapses between a candidate taking a lead and that candidate having to face another primary is additional time for that “preference cascade” effect to take hold.

    The weeks between the Wisconsin Primary and the northeast primary positively killed Cruz.  Part of that in my opinion is due to preference cascade effects and not necessarily because people thought Trump was the “best” candidate.

    The perception that you’re a winner sometimes takes awhile to take hold.  The longer that you have between contests only increases that perception.

    • #30
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