A Citizen’s Guide to Presidential Nominations
By Wayne Steger
Routledge – 2014 – 112 pages
The method the United States uses to nominate presidential candidates can sometimes seem like a media circus, over-hyped and overly speculative. Yet the process is one distinct to American politics, crucial to the way that students and citizens comprehend politics and participation. This concise and coherent Citizen’s Guide examines the critical issues in presidential nominations and how they affect who we as citizens choose to nominate.
Political scientist Wayne Steger defines the nominating system as an interactive process, involving both the active constituencies of a political party and the candidates themselves. He explains how candidates must appeal to a broad spectrum of elected and party officials, political activists, and aligned groups in order to form a winning coalition within their party. Historical context plays into how party coalitions change over time. Steger evokes how shifts in demographics, economic conditions, and public mood result in a changing set of issues that will be essential to voters in each election. The book then looks at how the nomination rules have changed to accommodate changing power relations within political party coalitions and innovations in technology and strategy. Finally, the guide closely considers issues of candidacy. What happens in primaries with one strong candidate versus those with a field of weaker ones? How exactly do candidates identify a path to victory? By addressing the key issues of presidential nominations and clearly elucidating the past and current factors that result in nominations, Steger’s guide will be informative, relevant, and accessible for students and general readers alike.
1: Introduction to Presidential Nominations. 2: Party Coalitions and Historical Context. 3: Changing Rules and Changing Campaigns. 4: Candidates: Who Runs and Does Not Run
Wayne Steger is a professor in the political science department at DePaul University. In addition to numerous scholarly articles on campaigns, elections, and the presidency, Steger is also an award winning teacher.