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Another Year of the Interloper?

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14.02.2020

It's a familiar plotline. An interloper runs for a party's presidential nomination and, with an anti-insider pitch, scores wins and near-wins in the first contests with vote pluralities.

His numerous opponents, fearful of antagonizing his enthusiastic supporters, launch attacks on one another that, predictably, hurt the attacker as well as the target.

Party establishment types, convinced the interloper is a sure loser in November, dither and tilt things mildly against him while trying to maintain the impression of fairness.

Candidates with no chance remain in the race, dividing the anti-interloper vote, hoping the interloper will collapse. But he doesn't, and even starts winning absolute majorities in late contests.

That's how Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016, and so far, it's consistent with how Bernie Sanders is doing in this year's Democratic race.

Remember that Trump lost the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, and that 65% of New Hampshire Republicans voted for somebody else. Sanders' performance so far is comparable: He had a lead in first- and second-round popular votes in Iowa, though he lost SDEs (state convention delegate equivalents) to Pete Buttigieg for a total of 564-562; and he won 26% to 24% over........

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