James Joyner rebuts Byron York’s assertion that Rick Santorum has a shot at the Republican nomination in 2016. Jonathan Bernstein considers it, figuring that Santorum’s strong showing in 2012 shows him to have conventional qualifications.
However, it has to count for something that he ran for president in 2012 and won several primaries and caucuses, including Iowa. I spent 2011-2012 saying that Santorum was close to the line for conventional qualifications…I think I’d have to say that his 2012 wins mean he has somewhat stronger qualifications this time around. I guess. Sort of. So he passes that test, albeit not by much.
What’s less clear, however, is whether Santorum is within the party mainstream on public policy — that is, on economic policy. I don’t think I know the answer to that, but we do know that he was utterly incapable of attracting significant party support last time around, and I strongly suspect it was for policy reasons. And from this interview, it sounds as if he’s moving farther from party orthodoxy, not embracing it.
I guess that sort of leaves him right on the edge of viability, pending more information.
In a new article in Interest Groups and Advocacy (currently ungated), Michael Heaney and Geoffrey Lorenz argue that a group becomes influential not because of its work in a single coalition, but rather because of its larger portfolio of work in various coalitions on a range of policy issues. However, groups can’t always develop such a portfolio by their own choices; the broader alliance-forming patterns of other interest groups will influence the path they take.