Katy Perry, Lena Dunham and Jamie Lee Curtis are among the many celebrities hitting the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton this election cycle. The "Duck Dynasty" guys are split on whether they prefer Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as the next president of the United States. But do endorsements from the rich and famous actually do much for campaigns? Or, is it, as traditional political wisdom holds, that endorsements from established party politicians that decide the primary winner?
In their popular book about the 2008 election, The Party Decides, political scientists Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel, and John Zaller posit that the most reliable indicator for who gets the nomination is who has the most endorsements from the party elite -- elected officials and other politicos.
Right now, Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, and Jeb Bush, the once-presumed-Republican-nominee-now-laggard-in-the-polls, are leading their respective "endorsement primaries."
And some of the early leaders in their respective camps -- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side -- are not the parties' favored candidate, to say the least. A cadre of party elite have banded together in a recent magazine special to take Trump down (probably a doomed mission). It's widely known that Cruz is hated within his party (a fact he embraces). And Sanders's top rival for the Democratic nomination, Clinton, far outpaces him in party endorsements.
Should Clinton and Bush continue to rack up the support of their colleagues and prevail in the primaries, traditional wisdom will also win the day. But what if Trump, Cruz or Sanders win? Or some other, less-favored candidate?