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Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday: Regional Politics and Presidential Primaries

Copyright Date: 1992
Published by:
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Super Tuesday
    Book Description:

    Super Tuesday 1988 was the first successful attempt to get several states in one region to hold their presidential primaries on the same day. Its success -- or lack thereof -- will affect the way presidents are elected for many years to come.

    Reaching beyond Super Tuesday and the nominations of George Bush and Michael Dukakis, Barbara Norrander's book presents the nation's first regional primary as the latest chapter in the ever-changing system through which U.S. political parties choose their presidential candidates. Norrander's research details how changes in technology, candidate and media strategies, and historical circumstances have influenced recent presidential nominations and how they set the stage for the South's primary in 1988.

    Super Tuesday: Regional Politics and Presidential Primariesemerges as an authoritative source not only on Super Tuesday but on many other aspects of presidential nominations. This book demonstrates that much of current conventional wisdom about presidential nominations is wrong.

    Norrander traces candidate strategies from 1976 to 1988 and calculates turnout rates from 1960 to 1988. She also examines the composition of the Super Tuesday electorate with respect both to preconceived notions of who participates in presidential primaries and to deliberate attempts by the Democratic and Republican parties to manipulate voter turnout in the South's regional primary. Her analysis of the timing and process of nomination victories from 1976 to 1988 emphasizes the importance of the overlooked role of candidate attrition over candidate momentum.

    Of special interest to political scientists -- and to political observers -- concerned with parties, elections, and voting behavior, Norrander's book will reshape the ex-amination of presidential contests in 1992 and beyond.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5740-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. v-ix)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. x-xi)
    (pp. xii-xiii)
  4. 1 Reforming the Reforms: Super Tuesday in a Historical Perspective
    (pp. 1-31)

    “When your dog bites you four or five times, it’s time to get a new dog. We’ve been bitten and it’s time for the South to get a new dog” (Gailey, March 8, 1986, 9). The new dog, so colorfully alluded to by Tennessee Democratic state party chair Dick Lodge, became Super Tuesday 1988, a one-day extravaganza on which fourteen southern and border states scheduled presidential primaries.¹ The old dog, a series of presidential primaries commencing in New Hampshire and ending in California, bit off a traditional base of the Democratic presidential coalition—the southern white voter. Only once in...

  5. 2 The Structure of the 1988 Campaign
    (pp. 32-69)

    Who won the 1988 Democratic nomination depended on who played the nomination game and how their actions fit the shape of the playing field. The architects of Super Tuesday hoped to change both the playing field and the players. They hoped to change the playing field so that the South would have more clout. They hoped the new set of players would include southern, or at least more moderate, candidates. Of course, Republican leaders had different expectations for Super Tuesday. Still, the structure of their playing field and who became their players also would determine who won the Republican nomination....

  6. 3 Candidates’ Strategies: Iowa, New Hampshire, & Super Tuesday
    (pp. 70-107)

    “I feel like my home is Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta,” lamented Lanny Griffith. John Dukakis learned to “work y’all into a sentence better than anyone in Boston,” and Ron Daniels visited fourteen communities in three days (Etherton, March 1, 1988, 6). Such frenzied activity characterized the preparation of these Bush, Dukakis, and Jackson campaigners for Super Tuesday. Having to compete in sixteen primaries and four caucuses on the same day resulted in frazzled candidates and campaign staffs stretched thin. Strategic decisions about where to expend campaign resources became all the more important with so many delegates at stake at one...

  7. 4 Participation in Presidential Primaries
    (pp. 108-140)

    As we saw in Chapter 1, the Southern Legislative Conference avowed that one of the goals for Super Tuesday was “to encourage greater participation by southern voters.” Participation would increase as a regional primary simplified the process and anticipated media coverage generated greater citizen interest. The goal of increasing primary turnout is not unique to Super Tuesday but characterized all the major reform movements. Progressives in the early 1900s advocated presidential primaries in order that the average person would have a greater say in presidential nominations. The McGovern-Fraser reforms of the early 1970s required that each state’s procedures for selecting...

  8. 5 Vote Choice
    (pp. 141-166)

    Voting in presidential primaries is unlike casting ballots in any other election in the U.S. Typically, more than two candidates’ names appear on the ballot. Yet no easy voting cues, such as party labels, accompany this longer list of competitors. Perhaps as a result, preferences for candidates seeking presidential nominations do not appear to be very firmly anchored. Candidates’ fortunes rise and fall throughout the course of the campaign. One only needs to remember recent elections to realize this point. In 1984, Gary Hart in just two weeks jumped from being the preferred candidate of 2 pecent of Democrats to...

  9. 6 Winning the Nomination
    (pp. 167-188)

    Each nomination season brings a new crop of candidates and then proceeds to eliminate most within a few weeks of the New Hampshire primary. Meanwhile, momentum boosts the fortunes of some candidates, though many of these candidates, such as Bush in 1980 and Hart in 1984, fall short of the ultimate goal. Time is the common element allowing both winnowing and momentum to unwind. Both processes occur as the primary season rolls from one state to the next. An essential characteristic of all presidential nominations, therefore, is time. Super Tuesday truncated the time span of the 1988 nomination process. The...

  10. 7 Super Tuesday: Success or Failure?
    (pp. 189-200)

    Newsweekmagazine, tongue in cheek, kept track of the 1988 presidential race with Conventional Wisdom (CW) reports. In the fall of 1988,Newsweekissued the following report on Super Tuesday:

    The pundits’ assessment of the huge Southern primary illustrates how fickle the CW can be. Initially the experts expected that Super Tuesday would accomplish the goal of its Southern creators and boost the fortunes of a centrist Democrat such as Albert Gore. Then, as Iowa and Jesse Jackson loomed larger, the CW flipped 180 degrees. Suddenly Super Tuesday was seen as a disaster for its centrist planners. “It’s not working...

    (pp. 201-207)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 208-216)
    (pp. 217-227)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 228-240)