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Putin and Romney
The Monkey Cage had an interesting article last week comparing the
similarities of the domestic structures surrounding Romney and Putin.

Both are suffering from similar domestic political prognostications--they
both are the presumptive nominee, yet both suffer from (minor?) domestic
opposition even from within their normal patronage circles. Henry Hale of
George Washington University writes that patronage regimes such as those in
authoritarian states desire to promote their guy, but above all want mostly
to end up on the winning team.

Joshua Tucker of the Monkey Cage posits that maybe this is a useful
analytical tool in democratic elections as well. Big donors in democratic
elections, as opposed to authoritarian elites, prefer one party over
another, and give to it in hopes the party will win and they will be
rewarded with access to a grateful candidate. But both donors within a
democratic system AND elites within an authoritarian regime are faced with
the "not trivial" problem of analyzing who will actually win.

Complicating the issue for Russian elites is that although Putin will
probably win reelection, there are all those pesky protests going on. One
would normally expect the elites to continue to back Putin, but
unfortunately Putin himself just proved that true power can be wielded by
somebody other than a sitting President because that's exactly what he
did. After all, nobody believes Medvedev truly holds the reigns in that

Romney seems to be able to keep raising funds as long as he is the
presumptive nominee. But ending up on the wrong side of a hat trick to
Santorum last week raises a question about that inevitability. Couple that
to recent polling showing him slipping against Obama and Romney could have
a serious problem.

In the end Tucker contends that in a democratic system donors do actually
tend to prefer one party over another. So as long as Romney actually ties
up the nomination he should be ok in the general election. Putin, however,
needs to worry about those pesky protests, and whether or not any elites
can be persuaded to join them.