11 December 2012

How to elect a centrist president

[T]he longer a party is deprived control of the White House, the more moderate its presidential nominees become. One term out of office may be a fluke, but two terms is serious, and three is catastrophic. Parties take this seriously and tend to nominate considerably more centrist people, sacrificing a significant chunk of their governing agenda for a chance of actually governing.
Chart from this book, via The Mischiefs of Fashion and The Dish.


  1. Interesting plot, but how do you assign a numeric value to "extremism"? If it is defined based on some abstract concept of "the center", then this doesn't mean much.

    The graph could also be interpreted that the party in power tends to drift towards the other side to remain in control, not that the other side drifts towards the party in power.

  2. The lower bound doesn't change much. If it weren't for Dewey, it would pretty much be a flat line. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that extremists are only nominated when their party has recently been in power?


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