The New York Times

What's Really Going On in the Democratic Primary?


The early stages of the 2020 Democratic primary are rewriting the rules of how a candidate wins his or her party’s presidential nomination. Recent Democratic primary battles were all about the invisible primary, the yearlong period before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary — when presidential candidates hired key staff members, seduced major donors and lined up crucial endorsements.

“Invisible primary” comes from an influential 2008 political science book, “The Party Decides,” which argued that all this behind-the-scenes activity to secure the support of party elites essentially predetermined who would ultimately claim the party’s nomination.

So Hillary Clinton, the winner of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, actually

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