The Effect of the Internet on the Number of Withdrawn Nominees:

In his post below, Eugene asks why there seem to be more withdrawn nominees in the early phase of this Administration than in past Administrations. I’m not really sure there are more in this Administration than others, as it’s not something I have followed closely or can easily quantify. At the same time, if it’s happening, I would think one significant reason is the Internet.

  The Internet has made so much more information about people widely available in an instant that there is now much more basis for critics to object to nominees who have said or done something controversial. In the the old days, it was hard to learn about a nominee. You might know a nominee’s basic resume, but good luck finding any record of what they thought or said or did on controversial issues. In an era of blogs, YouTube, and Google, that’s much less common. A great deal is now online, so there is much more information out there and there’s a much greater chance that something the nominee said or wrote about controversial issues will come to light. And humans being humans, messy and imperfect, at least some of that is going to cause problems for at least some of the nominees.

  I don’t think that explains everything. But if it’s true that there have been more withdrawn nominees than in the past, I suspect the Internet explains at least part of it. (Oh, and I’ll close comments here because this is really just an extended comment on Eugene’s post; If you’d like to comment, please do so in the original thread.)

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