The Fuzzy Frontrunner

Donald Trump and the Role of Ideology in Presidential Nomination Politics

Authored by: Dante J. Scala

Routledge Handbook of Primary Elections

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138684089
eBook ISBN: 9781315544182
Adobe ISBN:


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Throughout the “exhibition season” of the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest, pundits opined that Donald J. Trump’s lack of ideological consistency ultimately would doom his campaign, once the novelty of the mogul’s campaign dissipated. As with so many predictions regarding Trump, this was entirely mistaken. After losing the Iowa caucuses, Trump rebounded with wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and carried the great majority of primaries on his way to the nomination. Trump’s triumph raises an alarming number of questions about our understanding of the nomination process, including: Does ideology matter? Do primary and caucus participants have the interest and capability to use ideology as a means to choose a candidate from a crowded field?

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