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View Diary: The Ubiquitous Political Junkie Fallacy (200 comments)

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  •  I wouldn't say "nothing" (6+ / 0-)

    Even the scholars who most heavily push the "structural factors trump tactics" argument -- and I'd put myself in that category -- leave room for campaign effects.  The playing field is far more constricted, on account of the underlying conditions, than most political junkies realize -- but there are always several races that will be won or lost based on idiosyncratic factors such as campaign tactics.  And, in a closely divided Senate like this one, "several races" could be the difference between a minor setback and utter misery.

    In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

    by cardinal on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 07:14:01 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, but if the average (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal, sancerre2001, zedaker

      race is severely constricted, a) how constricted are we talking? 90% structural, 10% tactical? Because most races are won or lost within a fairly constricted range. If tactical considerations only sway races 3%, and a quarter of races are won or lost within 3% range, then tactical decisions decide a quarter of races.

      But more than that ... doesn't this argue that we should focus even more on tactics? We're screwed with structure, so it's incumbent upon us to harness every ounce of tactical advantage?

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 07:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lower level races are much more subject (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to "great leader" effects because those races provide a better opportunity for voters to actually see the "great leader" in action. That is why, even in negative years for one party, there are usually one or two cases where a member of that party defies the odds and wins even in the middle of their party's collapse.

      But, at the aggregate level of a 432(?) congressional seats, the "great leader" effect is much less pronounced.

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