A Theory of Political Parties (or) The Tail That Wags the Dog

I just read about a theory of political parties that posits the opposite relationship between parties and voters than the dynamic I had always assumed:

This came to me from Pressthink who got it from Ezra Klein who read the original study and the premise can be summed up thusly:

Having scanned it (I haven’t read it thoroughly yet, I’m at work), it seems really obvious in hindsight. But I have to confess that I’ve always taken the view that our elected representatives, you know, are supposed to represent the people who elected them rather than using elections as turns at bats to push their policies. ← I can’t even word that sentence in a way in which I don’t sound naive.

Well, yeah.

Look at how quickly leaders like Woodrow Wilson and G.W. Bush changed their positions on foreign wars, and brought the country along.

Did a majority of people spontaneously change their minds, or were they* led?*

External events like say the Zimmerman telegraph or the Reich’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare played the biggest part for World War I.