Visualizing the Money Primary


The New York Times (via @UpshotNY) has an article with some charts comparing the ideological underpinnings of the 2012 and 2016 Democratic and Republican fields. It’s largely a speculation about how much latitude candidates have if  they want to jockey between left and right. Hillary Clinton’s prospects get featured attention.

The analysis hinges on a scoring formula tabulated by CrowdPac which makes a lot of reductionist assumptions about the relative liberal/conservative predispositions of a candidate’s donors.

CrowdPac’s interactive charts are undeniably cool, but it showcases a style of political analysis that invites voters to pick a spot along some thinly imagined left/right spectrum and then leave it at that. The New York Times takes it a step further by covering a candidate’s issue selection as the challenge of navigating to a more lucrative position in the money primary… as a means to an end rather than a motivating purpose.


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