Watch Party Agendas, Not Candidates

Nominees win by espousing their party's stance on issues, not by setting them.
Not the first choices of religious conservatives. Photographer: Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Bloomberg

We often get it backward when thinking about presidential nominations. Our usual approach -- which treats candidates as the key players, looks at things from their point of view, and asks questions about them -- is wrong. The real process involves the party defining itself. Candidate choice is mostly an effect of that process, not the reason for it.

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