Author Samuel Popkin Examines What It Takes To Win and Hold the White House
August 29, 2012
The road to the White House is littered with geniuses of campaigns past. Why doesn't practice make perfect? Why is experience such a poor teacher? Why are the same mistakes replayed again and again?
Political scientist Samuel Popkin answers those questions in The Candidate: What it Takes to Win -- and Hold -- the White House on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Drawing on a lifetime of presidential campaign experience and extensive research, Popkin explains how challengers get to the White House, how incumbents stay there for a second term, and how successors hold power for their party.
He looks in particular at three campaigns -- George H.W. Bush's muddled 1992 reelection effort, Al Gore's flawed 2000 campaign for the presidency, and Hillary Clinton's mismanaged effort to win the 2008 Democratic nomination -- and uncovers the lessons that Ronald Reagan can teach future candidates about teamwork.
While a presidential challenger can quickly adjust and adapt, Popkin compares an incumbent's campaign to a battleship that moves slowly and makes large waves. Instead of a core inner circle calling the shots from a "war room," a president's re-election team must coordinate with White House staffers and the president's cabinet, all of whom have agendas difficult to change, control, or coordinate.
"No one I know has more closely studied the link between the minds of voters and the machinery of Presidential campaigns than Sam Popkin," writes ABC chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos. "He's a scholar who has worked in war rooms, a strategist who knows his history. In The Candidate, Professor Popkin teaches us what he's learned -- the surprising secrets that separate winning campaigns from the ones that crash and burn."
Popkin has been a consulting analyst in numerous presidential campaigns, including those of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and has developed survey design and analysis for CBS News election units. He is a professor of political science at the University of California - San Diego. Among his books are The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns, Issues and Strategies: The Computer Simulation of Presidential Campaigns, and Chief of Staff: Twenty-Five Years of Managing the Presidency.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage on 10th & Baltimore.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.