orgtheory.net

Search Results

the big super tuesday winner is … the party decides guys???

The Party Decides, by Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel and John Zaller, is a well known book in political science with a simple argument: in presidential party nominations, voters follow elites. Once you get the endorsements, you get votes.

When Trump won in 2016, some political scientists thought that the model was dead. But basic statistics tell you to calm down. The Party Decides was based on data going back to 1980 and the model fits the Democratic nomination of 2016. My view is that Trump is sui generis and an extreme outlier. The GOP will revert to an elite driven nomination model once Trump leaves office.

With a strong Sanders candidacy in 2016 and 2020, my confidence weakened a bit, but I still predicted that the most likely winner was Biden, though I thought the odds were lower than normal for a (quasi) incumbent VP. I softened on Biden given his really bad performance in Nevada and Sanders polling strength in Texas and California. Briefly, I thought that Biden had tanked because a blow out Sanders win in California would dwarf Biden’s strength in the South.

But then the Party Decided: we saw two high profile candidates drop out and endorse Biden and prominent Black political leaders endorsed Biden. And then the Biden turn around happened. The Black vote, which has predicted every single winner except 1988, stayed with Biden and Biden saw a resurgence. Biden also regained some of his lost White votes.

The deepest lesson may be that party elites learned a lesson from the 2016 GOP debacle. If you don’t swallow your pride and back an establishment candidate, you can be saddled with  a loony for years.

Bottom line: Trump is an outlier and Biden is politics as normal. Advantage – the Party Decides.

+++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm

Posted in uncategorized

the party decides that they hate ted cruz

A lot of people have slammed The Party Decides for not getting this year’s primary completely correct. But I take a different view. The Democratic primary is going as planned, so that supports the theory pretty well. Even on the GOP side, there is some evidence that party dynamics are working as expected.

So let’s get the stuff that doesn’t fit the theory out of the way. Yes, Trump’s impending victory doesn’t fit but that’s not hard to understand in my view. And yes, the two major establishment candidates, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both massively failed.

But there is one important feature of the GOP primary that does fit the Party Decides model – the elites successfully blocked Ted Cruz from becoming president. There is a great deal of evidence that the GOP elites actively hate Cruz:

Let’s be clear here: party leaders hate Cruz and only about 20% of the national leadership will endorse him over an egomaniac billionaire and a second tier regional politician. It’s clear – the party decided they hate Ted Cruz.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

May 3, 2016 at 12:07 am

last notes on the democratic primary for now

Nation Dem race

The rolling RCP average, as seen on January 31, 2020.

I just wanted to record a few thoughts on the Democratic primary before the Iowa caucuses start tonight. Who will win?

  1. The Party Decides Theory: So far, the theory is doing well. The GOP is going with the person the party leaders endorsed (Trump – no serious challengers) and the “establishment” Democrat, Joe Biden is stable. So, maybe the safe bet, especially given that establishment parties do well in the South and Super Tuesday has lots of Southern states.
  2. Biden is lame/Sanders rocks: Biden is an incredibly bad campaigner. He ran twice before and did horribly. The only reason he’s in this one is because he’s an incumbent party leader. I thought Kamala Harris would benefit, but she did badly and Sanders seems to be the beneficiary. The betting markets are currently bullish on Bernie.
  3. Not Warren: For a while, I thought Warren might benefit from Biden’s softness and I do think there is a chance she could win. But’s she’s trailing everywhere and needs multiple come from behind victories in all early states and the big super Tuesday states. She’ll do well, but not well enough.
  4. Not Pete: I totally get the appeal, but he’s a “regional candidate” who is doing well in a few places. He’s hoping to “slingshot” – win in Iowa and then raise money for a blitzkrieg in the Super Tuesday states. Possible? Carter did it, but it’s very hard as Super Tuesday has some insanely expensive states to campaign in, like California.

So my last odds are: Biden 50%, Bernie 40% and either Pete or Warren 10%. What is your best guess?

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!

Written by fabiorojas

February 3, 2020 at 12:23 am

Posted in uncategorized

democratic nomination horse race, early june edition

2020 Dem Race Early June

From the Real Clear Politics running poll average. 

By now, you’ll know if someone big is running for president and the field is crowded. Right now, we have about 20 (!) declared candidates but the story is now coming into focus:

  • Biden is leading, with about 30% or so.
  • Sanders is in 2nd place, with 25% to 15%.
  • There is a second tier: Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg in the high single digits.
  • There is a fourth tier of candidates in the low single digits or less (!).
  • In state polls, some candidates do better. Warren does well in Massachussets and North Carolina, Harris a little better in South Carolina.

Social science commentary:

  • This is a win, so far, for the Party Decides/UCLA school model. Insiders with lots of elite party support are doing well. Trump style outsiders will likely remain a historical fluke.
  • Why is Biden leading? Guess: Incumbency and not going to the hard left.
  • Who is leaning for Biden? If you go through poll data, he does particularly well with African American survey respondents, which is consistent with the historical pattern of the African American vote leaning toward the incumbent.
  • Why is Sanders in 2nd? He’s probably got a lock on left progressive whites. Everyone else is splitting up the remaining vote.

Color commentary:

  • Biden is a historically bad presidential candidate, having dropped out early in 1988 and barely cracking 2% in 2008. My hunch is that mainstream Democrats just moved to the Nearest Incumbent after the Clinton faction racked up post 2016. He seriously owes Obama for this one.
  • Earlier, I thought that Harris had promise as she’d lock down California and maybe win one in South Carolina, where she is polling well. However, this assumes that there is a campaign left for her by that point and the answer may be no.
  • News sources have reported a Warren boost in the polls. As you can see above, it is real, but it is small and she has not broken away from the second tier. Her appeal, so for, is among progressive educated whites. That’s a real voting block, but there’s serious competition for it from other candidates.
  • Mayor Pete is back in the second tier. He had a short boost. His campaign probably resembles various short lived GOP candidates who got short term boosts based on personality, but lost out on fundamentals (e.g., Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, etc.)

Final comment: I have this hypothesis that Elizabeth Warren could have been president in 2016. There weren’t many competitors in 2016, she didn’t have the negatives that HRC had and the Democratic base seemed really interested. Now, in 2020, people still seem to like her, but she’s got insane levels of competition from a former VP and a hard left protest candidate.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

 

Written by fabiorojas

June 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

social science did ok with the 2016 election but not great

masket-graph

From Seth Masket at Pacific Standard.

People have been having meltdowns over polls, but I’m a bit more optimistic. When you look at what social science has to say about elections, it did ok last week. I am going to avoid poll aggregators like Nate Silver because they don’t fully disclose what they do and they appear to insert ad hoc adjustments. Not horrible, but I’ll focus on what I can see:

  1. Nominations: The Party Decides model is the standard. Basically, the idea is that party elites choose the nominee, who is then confirmed by the voters. It got the Democratic nomination right but completely flubbed the GOP nomination. Grade: C+.
  2. The “fundamentals” of the two party vote: This old and trusty model is a regression between two party vote share and recent economic conditions. Most versions of this model predicted a slim victory for the incumbent party. The figure above is from Seth Masket, who showed that Clinton 2 got almost exactly what the model predicted. Grade: A
  3. Polling: Averaged out, the poll averages before the election showed Clinton 2 getting +3.3 more points than Trump. She is probably getting about %.6 more than Trump. So the polls were off by about 2.7%. That’s within the margin of error for most polls. I’d say that’s a win. The polls, though, inflated the Johnson vote. Grade: B+.
  4. Campaigns don’t matter theory: Clinton 2 outspent, out organized, and out advertised Trump (except in the upper midwest) and got the same result as a “fundamentals” model would predict. This supports the view that campaigning has a marginal effect in high information races. Grade: A.

But what about the Electoral College? Contrary to what some folks may think, this is a lot harder to predict because state level polls produce worse results in general. This is why poll aggregators have to tweak the models a lot to get Electoral College forecasts and why they are often off. Also, the Electoral College is designed to magnify small shifts in opinion. A tiny shift in, say, Florida could move your Electoral College total by about 5%. Very unstable. That’s why a lot of academic steer clear of predicting state level results. All I’ll say is that you should take these with a grain of salt.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

November 15, 2016 at 12:01 am

open thread on election 2016

What is the “sociological” take on election 2016? Use the comments. Tell us what you think! A selection of orgtheory related election posts:

Predictions:

  • Readers – HRC  53%
  • The Real Clear Politics average is shooting for 46% HRC, 44% Trump, 5% Johsnon, 2% Stein.

Tomorrow: No matter what, the GOP has a real serious problem on its hands.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

November 7, 2016 at 5:01 am

trump symposium iii: social science and trump

In this third installment of the Trump symposium, I want to talk about how social scientists should think about Trump. Let’s start with prediction – who foresaw Trump? We need to make a distinction.

So what should a social scientist do?

  • Start with the following mantra: Social science is about trends and averages, rarely about specific cases. If an outsider becomes a major party nominee once, then you can cling to the old theory. If you get three Trumps in a row, then it’s time to dump the Party Decides model, unless, of course, you see the party openly embrace Trump and he becomes the new establishment.
  • Feel confident: One crazy case doesn’t mean that you dump all results. For example, polling still worked pretty well. Polls showed a Trump rise and, lo and behold, Trump won the nomination. Also, polls are in line with basic models of presidential elections where economic trends set the baseline. The economy is ok, which means the incumbent party has an advantage. Not surprisingly, polls show the Democratic nominee doing well.
  • Special cases: Given that most things in this election are “normal,” it’s ok to make a special argument about an unusual event. Here, I’d say that Trump broke the “Party Decides” model because he is an exceptionally rare candidate who doesn’t need parties. Normally, political parties wield power because politicians don’t have money or name recognition. In contrast, Trump has tons of money and a great media presence. He is a rare candidate who can just bypass the whole system, especially when other candidates are weak.

What does the future hold? Some folks have been raising the alarms about a possible Trump win. So far, there is little data to back it up. In the rolling Real Clear Politics average of polls, Trump is consistently behind. In state polls, he is behind. He has no money. He has not deployed a “ground game.”In fact, the RCP average has had Clinton 2 ahead of Trump every single day since October with the exception of the GOP convention and about two of the worst days of the Democratic campaign. Is it possible that Trump will be rescued by a sudden wave of support from White voters? Maybe, but we haven’t seen any movement in this direction. A betting person would bet against Trump.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

September 1, 2016 at 12:44 am

trump and the ross perot effect

I am a big believer in social science. For example, I believe there is a lot of evidence supporting the view that elite endorsements do predict party nominations, as documented in The Party Decides. So how does one explain Donald Trump’s current popularity?

The answer, I think, is simple. Normally, politicians need party elites because they don’t have the money, name recognition, organization, or media presence to run for office. Trump has all of these:

  • A billion dollar fortune he is willing spend from.
  • Decades of media presence.
  • His own business organization.
  • Name recognition from books, tv, and even a board game.

Add to this that Trump is charismatic, then it is easy to see what the issue is. The Party Decides model is mainly about people who need parties for help. If you need a party, and it doesn’t like you, you’ll loose. Trump has his own resources and he’s great at projecting himself on tv. Thus, he has a chance at bucking the system.

This doesn’t mean that he’s a shoe-in. He could easily turn out to be one of the many also-rans in presidential races. But this reasoning does increase my small belief that he could win a state, or run a Ross Perot style campaign and get 10% or 20% of the popular vote. The deeper lesson here is that politicians, relatively speaking, are poor and need parties. That is why most people have to play by the party’s rules. If you have your own bank account, and you’re good on tv, you can write your own rules.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

August 24, 2015 at 12:01 am

where is rick perry? – a serious response to reihan salam about the republican field

This weekend, Slate published an article by Reihan Salam about Governor Rick Perry. Once considered a front runner, Perry quickly imploded in 2012 and is having trouble finding traction in the current primary. Why? As Reihan correctly notes, he has a record that indicates great political strength. On twitter, I offered the cheeky response: he once promoted legislation that allowed some undocumented Texans to receive financial aid from the University of Texas. Poison. Gabriel Rossman also notes that he “crashed and burned,” a reference to some poor campaigning. But still, he did manage to get the second most endorsements after Romney, which is usually a strong correlate of success as shown in the book The Party Decides.

I’d like to offer a deeper response which situates Perry within the broader evolution of national Republican politics and why he might have an even tougher time in 2016 than before. Let’s start with my master theory of national Republican politics as presented in the post Nixon’s Revenge. What you notice is that almost every single GOP Presidential ticket since 1952 has had someone from Nixon’s personal network – Nixon (1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972), Dole (1976, 1996), Ford (1976), Bush (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992), and Cheney (2000, 2004). This network is what you might call the elite of the national security wing of the GOP, since they focus on foreign intervention.

The next observation is that this ruling faction of the GOP has lost its grip, somewhat. Romney emerged from a more liberal wing of the GOP that is now almost extinct. Palin is the GOP’s version of the social justice warrior. McCain earned his political stripes by virtue of military service and family connections in Arizona and, as far as I know, has relatively little connection to the network of elite Republicans centered around Nixon in the late 20th century.

In theory, Rick Perry might be a strong candidate in this environment. A strong electoral record in a big Republican state would be an asset and you no longer need the sponsorship of the Bush/Nixon coalition. He could, in theory, beat a path similar to Reagan in the 1970s. Work the activist base, develop strong media skills, and use the home state at a launch pad for national politics. When the Nixon sponsored candidate lost in 1976, Reagan could step in and claim the mantle in the next election cycle.

So why can’t Perry use this strategy? First, the Bush faction recovered and Jeb is their guy. That is one very important faction that Perry can no longer rely on. A lot of donors, staff, and activists are off limits. Second, Perry has not projected himself in a way that allows him to be strongly identified with any other faction that is large enough to make a difference in the primary. For example, Romney and McCain easily appealed to centrist Republicans. Palin appealed to the Fox news crowd. Currently, Scott Walker has been able to appeal to anti-unionists, populists and Tea Partiers. Rand Paul can appeal to the 10% of the GOP that is libertarian. Ask yourself who Perry represents in the GOP and it is hard to clearly align him to a faction, even though it is fairly clear that he is a social conservative.

One might ask why Perry has failed to become the standard bearer for a GOP faction. I am not an expert on Texas politics, but I can offer a few conjectures. First, maybe Perry simply isn’t as adept at playing the game of conservative social identities. Walker has spent a lot of time fighting unions and is now tweaking tenure, which is a love letter to the GOP base. When every GOP governor is rushing to create a no-abortion zone, you’ll probably need to do more to stand out from the crowd than pass another law aimed at abortion clinics. Walker understands that better than anyone. Second, Perry is old (66). His career started in the 1980s. He may not have the energy, or the flexibility, to stand out in this environment. Third, Perry may be a Texas specialist. There are a lot of effective governors who did well in their states but failed to make any headway nationally. Fourth is what I call “Mitch Daniels syndrome.” Signal any compromise with the enemy and that can sink you quickly (e.g., the famous debate when Perry was booed for a rather modest higher ed reform benefiting immigrants). There’s a really good reason Mitch Daniels is now a university president and not a serious contender for the nomination.

Bottom line: With the Bush coalition pushing a candidate, there is less room for someone like Perry. Also, Perry hasn’t been able to make himself into a “brand name.” There isn’t much else to say.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

June 8, 2015 at 12:01 am