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A2 G&P invisible primaries

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  • 1. A2 G&P US Government and Politics Presidential elections
  • 2. UNIT 3A: OUTLINE: KEY CONCEPTS KEY CONCEPTS  Open, closed and invisible primaries  The caucus system  The balanced ticket  Candidate and issue centred campaigns  Momentum  Soft and hard money  Negative campaigning  Insider and outsider candidates  Fixed terms  Swing states
  • 3. OUTLINE: KEY IDEAS Answering questions on this topic requires knowledge of:  The main characteristics of presidential and congressional elections and campaigns.  The main influences on their outcomes.  Candidate selection and nomination through the primary and caucus system and the role of the national nominating conventions  Debates concerning the workings and outcomes of the Electoral College and its impact on campaigns
  • 4. OUTLINE: KEY IDEAS Answering questions on this topic requires knowledge of:  The significance of money as a factor in electoral success.  The impact of the media on campaigns and candidates  Direct democracy at State level through the use of referendums  Initiatives, propositions and recall elections, and debates concerning their use  Comparisons with the UK electoral process to illustrate arguments
  • 5. US Elections  Cornerstone of a liberal democracy is the holding of regular, fair elections.  The right of citizens to be represented and to vote was entrenched in the Constitution of the USA (with the exception of women who had to wait well over a century for that right).  As other groups such as ex-slaves and Native Americans became citizens, they too were offered the right to vote.  Probable that USA offers more elected posts than any country in world, approx over 80,000.
  • 6. US Elections  The average voter in the US is assaulted with a seemingly non-stop barrage of available voting opportunities.  These range from the President, through Congress to a wide variety of state and local elections.  We cant look at them all here, and you are not required to understand too many. While we will start with the most well known – the contest for Presidency – remember that examiners like us to show that we understand that elections take place at other levels.
  • 7. US Elections  The average voter in the US is assaulted with a seemingly non-stop barrage of available voting opportunities.  These range from the President, through Congress to a wide variety of state and local elections.  We cant look at them all here, and you are not required to understand too many. While we will start with the most well known – the contest for Presidency – remember that examiners like us to show that we understand that elections take place at other levels.
  • 8. Electing the President – Every Four Years Pre- primaries Primary elections and caucuses National nominating conventions General election Voting day Electoral count Inauguratio n of the president At least one year before the Primaries January Super- Tuesday February August/Sep September to November Tuesday after the first Monday in November January 6th (usually) January 20th
  • 9. The Importance of ‘Pre-Primaries’  If federal elections have become ‘non-stop’, nothing shows this better than so called pre- or invisible primaries.  Their importance has been recognised recently, whereby presidential candidates effectively begin their campaigns up to four years before general elections.  This is particularly true of candidates who are not incumbent Presidents, or not familiar to the public, and they take every media opportunity to be known.
  • 10. The Importance of ‘Pre-Primaries’  The crucial factor about these is that the candidates who have entered the primaries as favourites in public opinion polls have in nearly all cases gone on to win their party’s nomination.  As a result, this throws some doubt on the worth of primaries.  As we will see, this pattern did not happen for 2008, but there were many special factors about these elections. These ‘invisible’ primaries can greatly increase the length and cost of presidential elections.  By 2003, GW Bush had spent over $2 million prior to official primary elections that began in January 2004.
  • 11. The 2007 Pre-Primaries (invisible)  All records for electoral finances were beaten in remarkable elections of 2008.  Dubbed the ‘longest Presidential race in history’  Front runners were emerging long before the elections began in 2008.  Clinton, Romney and Obama had already raised over $20 million in the first three months of 2007.  Quickly evident that 2008 race would become most expensive to date.  Most candidates had declared intention to campaign well before the first primary elections in January of that year.
  • 12. The 2007 Pre-Primaries (invisible)  As we said, pre-primaries usually provide us with clues as to the result of the following Primary Elections.  The Republican candidate leading at the outset of the election year has tended to end up as the Party’s nominee at the Party Convention.  The same has usually been true of the Democrat Party, although not invariably.  By July 2007 Clinton (D) and Giuliani (R) were leading their contests at 38% and 30% in polls.
  • 13. The 2007 Pre-Primaries (invisible)  McCain trailed in third place at this stage on 14%, a steady drop from just two months before.  His funds were running low and chances looked slim  The relatively unknown Obama came second in the Democratic polls on 25% with John Edwards coming in third on 16%.  All this indicates just how important pre-primaries have become. Candidates were using this time to sort themselves out.
  • 14. The 2007 Pre-Primaries (invisible)  They were jostling for the top slots in January 2008.  IN both parties, the position was to change significantly as the Pre-Primaries and Primaries unfolded.  By October 2007, several names were being mentioned as ‘favourites’  Democrats – Clinton, Obama, Edwards  Republicans – Giuliani, Thompson, Romney.  Other polls now began to mention McCain as a possible  Unusually by Jan, neither party had a clear front runner, and this had effect of raising public interest.
  • 15. 2007 Pre Primaries – Early Issues  Clinton meant that others had to make a real effort to attract the votes of women.  Allowed candidates like Huckabee (Republican) and Obama (Democrat) to become better known to voting public  New records set for fundraising which worried many who saw this as anti-democratic.
  • 16. 2011 Pre-Primaries  By Feb 2011, nearly 80 candidates had declared themselves as presidential candidates for 2012  US media was soon full of speculation as to which Republican candidates would challenge Obama  By Feb, it was also reported that Tea Party supporters were taking over Republican Party organisation in crucial primary of New Hampshire.  Sarah Palin was a leading figure in speculation at this time.
  • 17. 2011 Pre-Primaries  After disastrous results in 2010 midterms, Obama was now focusing his strategy more on problems of the economy.  What follows from about Jan to Aug in the election year is the period when the candidates for the two main parties are selected.  It used to be that this would be done by state party conventions, effectively private meetings, but now the choice is made either through primary elections or, in a few states, caucuses.