Book Review: Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won

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¶ … Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won and Lost Before the Votes Are Cast- by R. Lawrence Butler

Review of Claiming the Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won and Lost Before the Votes Are Cast by R. Lawrence Butler

In this book, Butler (2004) argues that the process by which presidents are elected in the United States has never been truly on the up-and-up, but rather has always been controlled by behind-the-scenes actors with various agendas that have historically been the true key players in American presidential nominations and elections. Indeed, to viewers of popular media such as Saturday Night Live, the thesis that while American presidential nominations and elections are not necessarily "rigged," but the outcome is coordinated long before the actual events take place may come as no surprise, but the extent to which these deep-rooted political structures and processes have influenced the course of the nation's history might come as a surprise to even the most politically informed and sophisticated American citizen today.

In his book, Claiming the Mantle, the author provides some solid evidence and real-world examples in support of his argument that the American electorate has become so disenchanted with the entire process that many voters are refusing to make choices between two lesser evils and just staying away from the polls because the winners are known in advance. Indeed, choosing between two "Skull-and-Boners" such as John Kerry and George Bush may not seem like a real choice at all to many disillusioned voters, notwithstanding the latter's Vietnam combat experience compared to the former's Texas National Guard service. Moreover, this dilution of any former important differences and demarcations between America's political parties has only made the situation worse for voters looking for solid answers to the nation's compelling problems but findings only the same prepackaged, cast-from-the-same-mold political alternatives being offered up by Republicans and Democrats election after election.

Review and Analysis.

Money may not buy happiness, but it does help get a president elected and Butler emphasizes the importance of money to aspiring presidential candidates throughout his analysis. There are other forces at play, of course, the author advises, but by and large these all relates to coordinating candidate and political contributions to their maximum advantage. In this regard, the author emphasizes, "Without money and organization, a presidential candidate has no hope of winning the nomination" (Butler, 2004, p. 71). "Following the money" has always been a useful ways of finding out who benefits from what when there are some nebulous forces at work, and the presidential nomination process is no exception. There have been a number of new rules introduced over the years that have affected how and when these political contributions can be made and used, certainly, but the bottom line impact for most presidential candidates has remained the same.

The early frontrunners receive the lion's share of the campaign financing money that is available during preliminaries in an exorable process that results in their receiving even more money during the presidential campaign itself. The ways in which these efforts are coordinated at the state level is another revealing aspect of Butler's analysis. While no one would likely suggest that politics is a pristine and sterile enterprise, the author's stark examples of how state party leaders are able to manipulate and influence the selection of candidates might surprise many voters, even in their own states.

Rationale in Support of Topic Selection. Many of the reasons in support of the selection of this… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won.  (2007, April 6).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mantle-presidential-nominations-won/5636718

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mantle-presidential-nominations-won/5636718.