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The Candidate

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
There are two winners in every presidential election campaign: The inevitable winner when it begins--such as Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton in 2008--and the inevitable victor after it ends. In The Candidate, Samuel Popkin explains the difference between them.
While plenty of political insiders have written about specific campaigns, only Popkin--drawing on a lifetime of p
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published 2012 by Oxford University Press
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Apr 14, 2016 David rated it liked it
sort of interesting take on what he thinks wins/loses presidential campaigns, how they differ for challengers vs. incumbents vs. same-party successors (e.g., George HW Bush after Reagan, Al Gore after Bill Clinton). Considerable detail on Hillary Clinton/Obama nomination fight in '08, Gore/Bush general election [but not the aftermath, as I guess that wasn't relevant to his main focus, and Bush reelection defeat by Bill Clinton in 92].

not very gossip-oriented -- he covered B. Clinton/G. Flowers a
Dec 17, 2012 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
(Note: Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program)
(FULL DISCLOSURE: The author of this book, Samuel Popkins, was one of my professors at the University of California, San Diego, where he continues to teach to this day. I enjoyed his class and his prior book, The Reasoning Voter Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns by Samuel L. PopkinThe Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns, immensely, but have tried to appraise this book as objectively as possible). There have been many books written about how a presidential campaign was run in the
Oct 25, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing
Another political winner that is objective and not partisan.

I can't get enough of these books that explain politics without pandering, name-calling or are extremely biased.

Samuel Popkin takes us through the definitions of U.S. President candidates and how the winners win while the supposed winner loses. You won't get the party-line or the typical, "here's how that scumbag tricked us" lines you expect in political books.

The first part is abstract in just the terms while sporadically bringing in r
Jillian Reynolds
Jul 28, 2015 Jillian Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Professor Popkin was one of my favorite professors at UCSD, and his book was one of the best, most interesting political science books I've read. I actually enjoyed this, and that's saying a lot, as most political books bore me (specifically the poli sci textbooks I'm usually assigned). I looked forward to reading this each week. I especially loved how un-biased it was and how it examined members of both parties. So very interesting, and I'll be reading this again in the near future!
Margaret Sankey
Aug 14, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Using examples from the past fifty years of American politics, Popkin identifies three kinds of candidates--incumbents, challengers and successors, and ultimately comes to the conclusion that success is in the ability to assemble, delegate to and manage a campaign team. To make this even more difficult, the campaign team has a skill set utterly different than a candidates Congressional or Gubernatorial staff, and must be trusted intimately by candidates who have probably not worked closely with ...more
May 09, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it
The subtitle is "What it takes to win - and hold - the White House," but this incisive book is even more interesting when it analyzes how candidates and campaigns lose elections that they are supposed to win. Popkin, a political science professor at UC San Diego, has often waded into the arena to advise Democratic presidential candidates, but his analysis here is nonpartisan: he has lots of good things to say about the skills of Republican political professionals and lots of negative comments on ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
For someone who knows little and cares little about the political process, this book was really interesting. The author explains the components that contribute to a Presidential candidate winning the election and a place in the White House. The main components--a good political team, delegation, and knowing and acknowledging what's working and what's not working. The author used a TON of documents and sources. I'm glad that I chose to read this book for a book club.
Lyle West
May 31, 2012 Lyle West rated it really liked it

A fascinating look a presidents and those who wanted to be president. This should be required reading for all voters. It helps to unwind the rhetoric and also to appreciate the complexity of a presidential campaign. Great writing style and great fun to read.
Jun 19, 2013 Víctor rated it really liked it
A very engaging book on politics by an author who actually knows something about elections, might be focused in presidential campaigns, but several concepts and strategies are universal. Terrific read for political junkies.
Sep 16, 2012 Lincoln rated it liked it

Anecdotes and stories are excellent but the political science and frameworks are painfully dull. Best part is the Obama-Hilary election chapter.
Jun 28, 2012 Macy rated it liked it
Read the first few chapters and the chapter on the 2008 primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton. The rest is not n
early as interesting.
Jul 05, 2012 B rated it it was ok
Meanders a bit. Largely case studies/war stories and offers insights into campaign organization
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From Wikipedia:

Samuel L. Popkin (born June 9, 1942) is a noted political scientist who teaches at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1969. Popkin has played a role in the development of rational choice theory within political science. He is also noted for his work as a pollster. Popkin has published in unusually diverse areas. His most recent book is The
More about Samuel L. Popkin...

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