The Candidate
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The Candidate

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  68 ratings  ·  10 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...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published 2012 by Oxford University Press
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(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 th...more
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...more
Margaret Sankey
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
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
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

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.
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.

Anecdotes and stories are excellent but the political science and frameworks are painfully dull. Best part is the Obama-Hilary election chapter.
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.
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
More about Samuel L. Popkin...
The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns The Rational Peasant: The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam Elements of Reason: Cognition, Choice, and the Bounds of Rationality Post-Revolutionary Nicaragua: State, Class, and the Dilemmas of Agrarian Policy

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