Rowan Professor?s New Book Outlines How Presidents are Really NominatedSeptember 23, 2004
Nominating a president involves polling places, primary elections and national conventions, right? That may be what every American kid is taught in seventh and eight grade civics class, but it?s far from the reality of the presidential nomination process, according to Claiming the Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won and Lost Before the Votes Are Cast, a new book written by Rowan University assistant professor Dr. R. Lawrence Butler.
?On paper, voters get to pick the presidential nominees, but in recent elections it seems like the race is over before it even starts,? Butler said. ?Claiming the Mantle explains how the presidential nomination process has gotten to this point and why some candidates rise to the top before the primaries, while others fall by the wayside.?
In the book (Westview Press, $20), Butler argues that changes designed to bring greater democracy to the presidential nomination process have come full circle to the ?political machine? and ?party boss? selections of the past. Once again, party bosses choose nominees, in most instances, before the first votes are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire. The only real difference, according to the book, is that the group of choosers has expanded to include fundraisers, political consultants, interest group leaders and party activists in key states.
Butler brings to the text a political insider?s knowledge gained from providing election forecasting and analysis to various groups and observing presidential and congressional elections for 15 years in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Chapter titles, such as ?The Sound of Bubbles Bursting,? ? Claiming the Mantle,? ?The Seven Dwarfs,? ?Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? and ?Clash of the Titans,? reflect the book?s down-to-earth, yet effective, approach in describing the political process.
?Claiming the Mantle is an excellent description for the general public and for students of political science of how changes in the rules of the game have had a major impact on the strategies of candidates, and ultimately, on who is the party presidential nominee,? Professor James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, writes of the book.
A Rowan professor since 2001, Butler earned a doctoral degree in politics from Princeton University, master?s degrees in political science and economics from George Washington University and George Mason University, respectively, and a bachelor?s degree in economics from Washington & Lee University. He currently teaches Rowan courses in American government, Congress, campaigns and elections, the Presidency, political science research methods, and political parties and interest groups.
For more information on Claiming the Mantle or to arrange an interview with the author, Dr. R. Lawrence Butler, contact the Rowan University Relations Department at 856-256-4583.