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Elections, Nominations & Voting Revised
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Elections, Nominations & Voting Revised



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  • 1. Nominations and Campaigns
  • 2. The Nomination Game
    • Deciding to Run
      • Other countries have short campaigns- generally less than 2 months.
      • U.S. campaigns (especially for President) can last 18 months or more.
    • Nomination:
      • The official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party. Requires momentum , money, and media attention.
    • Campaign Strategy:
      • The master plan candidates lay out to guide their electoral campaign.
  • 3. The Nomination Game
    • Competing for Delegates
      • The Caucus Road
        • Caucus: Meetings of party leaders. Used to selected delegate. – Iowa is first.
      • The Primary Road
        • Primary: Elections in which voters choose the nominee or delegates pledged to the nominee.
        • Most states use one of the forms of a primary and New Hampshire is the first.
  • 4. The Nomination Game
    • Competing for Delegates
      • Evaluating the Primary and Caucus System
        • Disproportionate attention to the early ones, especially Iowa & New Hampshire – causes
        • frontloading where states move primaries to earlier
        • Money plays too big a role.
        • Too many primaries & primary season lasts too long - Super Tuesday(s) / regional primaries
        • The system gives too much power to the media.
        • ( Thomas Patterson)
  • 5. The Nomination Game The Perception of Iowa and New Hampshire
  • 6. The Nomination Game
    • The Convention
    • - Delegates selection dependant on primaries /
    • Democrats reserve slots for superdelegates who
    • are elected party officials
      • Are still important to the party to get organized and motivated.
      • Party platform: Statement of its goals and policies and general beliefs.
      • Official nominations and candidate speeches – place for “rising stars” in the party to be recognized
  • 7. Convention
  • 8. The Campaign Game
    • The Campaign Trail
      • Campaign Team
        • campaign manager & finance manager
        • fund-raiser & counsel
        • media & campaign consultants (pollsters, etc)
        • research staff, policy advisors
        • press secretary
      • Campaign Strategy
        • TV Debates
        • Geographic campaigning – where to travel
        • Campaign appearances / media coverage
  • 9. Money and Campaigning
    • The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms
      • FEC: Created by FECA law in 1974 to administer campaign finance laws for federal elections.
        • Public financing of presidential elections
        • Limited spending & required disclosure
        • Limited contributions to campaigns
      • Soft Money
        • Contributions (with no limits) used for party-building expenses or generic party advertising
      • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
        • Further limited contributions to campaigns
      • Banned soft money
  • 10. Money and Campaigning
    • The Proliferation of PACs
      • Definition : Created by FECA law in 1974 these are the financial arm of interest groups, unions & corporations which allow them to donate money to campaigns.
      • Over 3900 PACs donating over $212 million
      • Donate to candidates who support their issue, regardless of party affiliation
      • The money follows the power – higher donations to those currently in power or to get candidates who will promote their cause into power
  • 11. Elections and Voting Behavior
  • 12. How American Elections Work
    • Three types of elections :
      • Select party nominees ( primary)
      • Select officeholders (general election)
      • Select options on specific policies ( referendum/initiative)
    • Referendum:
      • State voters approve or disapprove proposed legislation.
      • Often used for constitutional amendments.
    • Initiative:
      • Requires a specific number of signatures to be valid.
      • Voters in some states propose legislation to be voted on. (California uses this often)
  • 13. Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice
    • Deciding Whether to Vote
      • U.S. typically has low voter turnouts (40%).
      • Political Efficacy : The belief that one’s political participation really matters.
    • Registering To Vote
      • Voter Registration : Methods vary by state but are usually in advance of the election day.
      • Motor Voter Act : Requires states to permit people to register to vote when the apply for their driver’s license.
  • 14. Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice
    • Who Votes?
      • Education : More education = more likely to vote. Most important factor .
      • Age : Older = more likely to go vote. (AARP)
      • Race : Caucasian = more likely to go vote. BUT, other ethnicities are higher with comparable education.
      • Gender : Female = more likely to go vote.
      • Marital Status : Married = more likely to go vote.
      • Mobility : Don’t move = more likely to go vote.
      • Union Membership : Union member = more likely to go vote.
  • 15. How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizen's Decisions
    • Party Identification
      • Rise of candidate-centered politics has changed this view.
      • Still #1 reason why people vote the way they do
    • Candidate Evaluations
    • - Candidates want a good visual image – so do the voters!
      • Most important dimensions are integrity, reliability and competence.
      • Personality & charisma still play a role.
  • 16. How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizen's Decisions
    • Policy Voting
      • Basing vote choice on issue preferences.
      • Must know where the candidates stand on issues and see differences between candidates.
      • And voters may like different candidates on different issues- which may lead to ticket-splitting
  • 17. The Last Battle: The Electoral College
    • How it works today:
      • Each state has as many votes as it does Representatives and Senators.
      • Winner of popular vote typically gets ALL the Electoral College votes. (w inner-take-all)
      • Electors meet in December, votes are reported by the vice president in January.
      • If no candidate gets 270 votes (a majority), the House of Representatives votes for president, with each state getting ONE vote.
  • 18. Presidential Election Patterns
    • Party Realignment - shifts in party coalition groups that remain in effect for several years and include both branches ( rare)
    • Critical Elections – voters become polarized over an issue and may shift parties (abortion)
    • Dealignment – unstable period with weak party affiliations and ticket-splitting
  • 19. Understanding Elections and Voting Behavior
    • Congressional Elections
    • - Incumbency advantage – 90% re-elect
    • * name recognition * constituent work
    • *staff * franking privileges
    • *committee work * press coverage
    • - House = constant campaigning for re
    • election
      • - Senate = more costly but only every 6 yrs
      • - “Coat tail” effect in Presidential election years helps those of the winners party