American political parties have become much more complex in recent decades. The demise of those political machines and the rise of the civil service meant that party leaders couldn’t just hand out public jobs to their supporters; they had to attract volunteer labor from ideological activists, which became easier as the parties moved toward the ideological extremes. Campaign finance laws prevented prominent party leaders from handing sufficient funds to their preferred candidates. Money is now raised in small amounts from a wider range of donors and coordinated across many different organizations.
The modern American party is a network in this sense: It is a collection of different sorts of political actors — candidates, officeholders, activists, major donors, media figures, and others — working together to determine who gets nominated for office and thus what direction the government moves. These different actors are connected to each other in a variety of ways, including theexchange of information and the transfer of campaign money, all of which involve picking candidates and backing them at the presidential,congressional, or local level.Gregor Aisch and Karen Yourish write at The New York Times:
Presidential candidates change, but the people who run the campaigns often remain the same. Here is how the teams behind some likely and announced candidates are connected to previous campaigns, administrations and organizations close to the possible nominees.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Mrs. Clinton is relying on a mix of Clinton loyalists, seasoned Obama operatives and other key strategists to modernize and force discipline on her campaign (in other words, to avoid many of the mistakes of her 2008 primary race). At the top are John D. Podesta, a Clintonite with strong ties to President Obama; Robby Mook, known for his no-drama approach to managing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign; and Huma Abedin, Mrs. Clinton’s longtime aide. Campaign veterans loyal to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are running Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting Mrs. Clinton, which operates outside the official campaign.
The former Florida governor is building a sizable political operation in anticipation of a likely campaign announcement. His team includes longtime advisers, key operatives from Mitt Romney’s presidential races, and a few veterans of George W. Bush’s campaigns. Sally Bradshaw and Mike Murphy form the core of Jeb Bush’s inner circle. Ms. Bradshaw and David Kochel are expected to head the campaign, and Mr. Murphy will oversee Right to Rise, the pro-Bush super PAC.Jonathan Martin follows up here.