Does Palin have a path to the nomination?

Walter Shapiro says yes: under Republican winner-take-all rules, a candidate with 35% backing can go all the way.

Walter Shapiro says that the winner-take-all rules of the Republican Presidential nomination process give Sarah Palin a shot if she can just keep the tea bag crowd behind her.

As he points out, what’s left of the Republican establishment could stop Palin by changing the rules, but doing so would risk a wingnut walkout the GOP can ill afford.

If Palin is actually nominated, the remnant of non-mouthbreathers in the party will face a tough choice: abandon the party’s nominee, or back someone grossly, ludicrously unfit for the highest office in the land. If I were, let’s say, Richard Lugar, I’d be working hard right now to avoid having to make that choice later.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “Does Palin have a path to the nomination?”

  1. " If I were, let’s say, Richard Lugar, I’d be working hard right now to avoid having to make that choice later."

    Mark, is there a case in the last 15-20 years where a Republican of good reputation didn't piss it away the moment the GOP asked him to? Seriously.

  2. Last I looked, it's "Tea Party", not "bag", unless you're deliberately choosing to engage in sexual insults.

    Anyway, as I remarked in an earlier thread, democracy isn't a mechanism for achieving truth or wisdom, it's a mechanism for forcing an institution to conform to majority opinion. If Palin's that popular, and the GOP arranges the rules to keep her off the ticket anyway, the GOP is broken. And they're broken whether or not you like Palin.

  3. Brett, I would never stoop to engaging in insult against such a polite group as the teabaggers. Must have been a typo.

    If you read the Shapiro column, it doesn't say that Palin has majority support, even among Republicans. Obviously she doesn't, with a majority of Republicans saying she's unqualified for the office. What Shapiro says – and his analysis seems to be correct – is that if she can keep the true-whacko group that constitutes about 35% of the Republican primary electorate united behind her, she can come in first in a multi-candidate field. Because GOP delegates are handed out overwhelmingly to the top finisher rather than being distributed proportionally, coming in first in a bunch of primaries means winning the nomination.

  4. Candidates don't compete in democracy in the abstract, but w/in a particular more or less democratic framework of rules. Within fairly broad limits, various rules, & the various winners they produce, may all have a more or less equally plausible claim to democratic legitimacy. As a political matter, parties aren't broken just in virtue of having rules fights, & they're not broken whether or not you like the outcome.

  5. Adding onto Mark's comments, there are a lot of things which have majority support, and yet 40 GOP Senators + a half dozen allegedly Democratic Senators can block them. These Senators people probably represent no more than a third of the American people, and more likely around 25%. And the day that you give a rat's behind about that, Brett, will be a sunny day in Seattle.

  6. With apologies to Iris Murdoch:

    Sarah is not cosy and she is not mocked. Sarah tells the only truth that ultimately matters. She is the light by which human beings can be mended. And after Sarah there is, let me assure you all, nothing.

  7. i would encourage those who find it easy to mock sarah palin to read carefully "nixonland" as regards the whole "franklins vs orthogonians" warfare. remember that nixon and reagan won their elections. i think mrs. palin is almost monstrous with what she represents in american politics but that doesn't mean she can be dismissed.

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