Wednesday, December 07, 2011

the inevitable nominee strategy

why do politicians ever go with the strategy of presenting themselves as the inevitable nominee? that was the cornerstone of the romney campaign and now he is being forced to do something else as newt gingrich is making it clear that he is far from inevitable. four years ago, the clinton campaign also presented itself as the inevitable nominee, and then had to retool itself when barack obama took the lead.

has there ever been a non-incumbent presidential candidate who succeeded using the "inevitable" strategy in the modern primary system? that system was created to end the practice of choosing candidates in backroom deals among party elites because the rank-and-file party members felt that they did not have a say in the process. so why would anyone think that a message of "whether you want me or not, i am going to be the nominee" is appealing to voters? aren't campaign strategists aware that people often rebel if they feel like they have no choice? the primary system is a product of just such a rebellion!

it just seems like a really bad strategy. and yet, in the last two presidential elections at least, that is what the presumed early front runners went with.

just to be clear: i still think that mitt will be the nominee. but he's going to have to ditch is inevitability thing first to get there, just as hillary clinton ditched her inevitability last time around and found some success when she started portraying obama as the one who was being anointed-by-party-bigwigs. it is only then that her supporters became really energized. so why did romney bother using the same failed strategy this time around?