Intraparty Politics and the 2016 Election

Collaborative examination illuminates how decisions within parties play into healthy democracies

Our Partnership

The 2016 presidential election cast ripples through American government, culture and society, and its effects are still being evaluated by political scientists as a point of major change in the function of American democracy. Through a partnership between DU's Seth Masket and Marquette University scholars, a pair of experts delved into the role of intraparty politics in elections and how those decisions at the organizational level influence the future of American government.

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About the Project

Published in Conventional Wisdom, Parties, and Broken Barriers in the 2016 Election, the examination focused on the in-party dynamics that drove the nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the presidential election, studying how an expanding political process that incorporates more perspectives could lead to the surprise result seen in that year's contest.

The authors presented a case challenging the notion that a democratic process within America's two primary political parties should inevitably produce the most democratic result possible in the general election. Specifically, the scholars focused on institutional changes within each political party that contributed to the unexpected victory of Donald Trump.

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Seth Masket

Seth Masket

Seth Masket is a professor of political science and director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. A veteran researcher in the field of political science, Masket's scholarship has appeared in several books and publications, and he is a regular contributor at FiveThirtyEight, Pacific Standard, and He specializes in research around political parties, elections, campaigns and political reform movements.