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Figuring out the game
The informal rules of presidential nominations are all over the place
Julia Azari and I have a piece at MSNBC today on how this is a weirder presidential nomination cycle than it might appear at first glance. That is, candidates, consultants, journalists, and others have gotten used to a bunch of informal rules for these contests, and it’s not clear to what extent those rules are still in play. To wit…
Donald Trump became the GOP nominee in 2016 when he was very much not the favorite candidate of party insiders. Today’s he’s got a lot of the party establishment on his side, but it’s really not obvious just how important the establishment is, whereas we used to think of it as pretty vital.
Fox News has played an outsized role in Republican nomination contests in recent years, but they also just got hit with a massive fine for their work in promoting Trump’s election conspiracy theories, and they just canned their most successful news personality. It’s not clear whether ideology or profit is calling the shots right now, and they might be a bit gun-shy.
It’s more an issue on the Democratic side at the moment, but it’s no small thing that Iowa and New Hampshire are fighting over their nomination calendars and even what a caucus or a primary is.
The Republican front runner is likely to spend a fair amount of time next winter not only at rallies and debates, but also in courtrooms. His Republican opponents will probably be slow to drop out of the contest, even if things are going poorly for them, because he could be found guilty in one or more felony cases.
There’s more! I hope you’ll check it out.