A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.
A common refrain heard during presidential races is that candidates must pander to the party extreme during the primary season and then lurch back towards the center after winning the nomination. Mitt Romney, having all but wrapped up the nomination, has already begun this radical and potentially painful change of course.
To whatever extent this conceptual framework accurately describes candidate behavior in election seasons, it is important to realize that it also assumes, none too subtly, that centrist voters — however elusive and poorly defined — are the gatekeepers to the presidency. Read more