A2 G&P presidential elections and candidate requirements


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A2 G&P presidential elections and candidate requirements

  1. 1. A2 G&P US Government and Politics Presidential elections
  2. 2. Objectives today • Understand how and when Presidential elections occur • What are the requirements for Presidential candidates?
  3. 3. 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 ex-slaves and Native Americans who had to wait well over a century for that right). • As other groups such as 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.
  4. 4. 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 can’t 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.
  5. 5. When do presidential elections occur? • Every 4 years unless….? • On the Tuesday after the first Monday in November! • Four stages
  6. 6. When do presidential elections occur? Stage Functions Occurs Primaries and caucuses Show popular support for candidates Choose candidates to attend National Party Conventions January – early June National Party conventions Choose presidential candidate Choose vice-presidential candidate Decide on party platform August/September (each lasts about 4 days) General election campaigns The campaign between the candidates of various parties September, October, first week of November Election day and Electoral College Elect the president and vice-president November/December
  7. 7. Electing the President – Every Four Years Pre-primaries Primary elections and caucuses National nominating conventions General election Voting day Electoral count Inauguration 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
  8. 8. Objectives today • Understand how and when Presidential elections occur • What are the requirements for Presidential candidates?
  9. 9. Requirements for a presidential candidate ESSENTIAL (CONSTITUTIONAL) REQUIREMENTS • Must be a natural-born American citizen • Must be at least 35 years old • There is a residency qualification of 14 years The youngest ever president was Theodore Roosevelt, who was just 42 when he became president after assassination of William McKinley in 1901. The youngest ever elected president was John Kennedy who was 43.
  10. 10. Requirements for a presidential candidate ESSENTIAL (CONSTITUTIONAL) REQUIREMENTS • In 1951, the Constitution was amended to limit presidents to two terms in office. • The first president to feel this limit was Dwight Eisenhower in 1960. • Subsequently three more presidents have been limited; Reagan (1980-1988); Clinton (1992- 2000); GW Bush (2000-2008)
  11. 11. Other ‘helpful’ requirements POLITICAL EXPERIENCE • Wisdom would tell us that this is probably the most important extra-constitutional requirement. • Three groups of politicians are good pools or recruitment: vice-presidents, state governors and Senators. • One could also add members of the House of Representatives to that list (however, very few of these manage to get themselves regarded as leading candidates)
  12. 12. Other ‘helpful’ requirements Democrat candidate Most recent political office Republican candidate Most recent political office Joseph Biden Senator Sam Brownback Senator Hillary Clinton Senator Rudy Giuliani Mayor Christopher Dodd Senator Mike Huckabee Governor John Edwards Senator Duncan Hunter Congressman Dennis Kucinich Congressman John McCain Senator Barack Obama Senator Ron Paul Congressman Bill Richardson Governor Mitt Romney Governor Fred Thompson Senator
  13. 13. Other ‘helpful’ requirements POLITICAL EXPERIENCE • Of the 16 politicians who were nominated as presidential candidates in the last 11 elections to 2008: • 9 were or had been senators • 6 had been vice-president • 5 were governors The last time either party nominated someone not from this background was former WW2 general Eisenhower (1952).
  14. 14. Other ‘helpful’ requirements MAJOR PARTY ENDORSEMENT • If someone is serious about becoming president, it is vital to be chosen as the candidate for one of the two major parties. • Even Eisenhower in 1952 had to become a Republican. George Wallace (1968), John Anderson (1980), Ross Perot (1992 and 1996) and Pat Buchanan (2000) show that third party or independent candidates do not led to the White House
  15. 15. Other ‘helpful’ requirements PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS • Historically up until 2008, all presidential candidates for president had been white males. • However, a remarkable fact of 2008 Democratic presidential nomination race was that it came down to a choice between a white woman and a black man. • Given the pools of recruitment, it is hardly surprising all candidates are normally white males.
  16. 16. Other ‘helpful’ requirements PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS • Even by 2008 there were only 16 women out of 100 members in the US Senate and only one African-American, Barack Obama. • At the same time, only eight states had women governors. • All vice presidents have been white males
  17. 17. Other ‘helpful’ requirements PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS • It is an advantage to be married. • There has only been one bachelor president – James Buchanan, elected in 1857. • Until 1992, it was said that scandal involving marital infidelity could rule out a possible candidate. • Senator Ed Kennedy chances were ended by the ‘Chappaquiddick affair’, in which a young female acquaintance drowned in his car after a late night party.
  18. 18. Other ‘helpful’ requirements ABILITY TO RAISE MONEY • It is crucial to a successful bid for the presidency. • Campaigns are so expensive that very few candidates can afford to finance their own campaigns. • Only billionaire candidates (Ross Perot – Steve Forbes) can fund out of their own pockets. • Candidates need vast sums. In 2007 Hillary
  19. 19. Other ‘helpful’ requirements EFFECTIVE ORGANISATION • During primaries, candidates cannot use the parties organisation structure as they are all competing for the party nomination. • They therefore must create their own organisation. This is time consuming and demanding but crucial to chances of success. • Michael Dukakis (1988) and Bob Dole (1996) had big issues on this and went on to lose election. • One of key reasons Obama succeeded v Clinton was his
  20. 20. Other ‘helpful’ requirements ORATICAL SKILLS AND BEING TELEGENIC • In media age being able to speak well and look good on TV are crucial • Would Abraham Lincoln or wheelchair bound Franklin Roosevelt have succeeded now?
  21. 21. Other ‘helpful’ requirements SOUND AND RELEVANT POLICIES • There can be a danger that presidential candidates can be described as all style and no substance.
  22. 22. Objectives today • Understand how and when Presidential elections occur • What are the requirements for Presidential candidates?
  23. 23. Plenary Draw a picture to show the key points from today’s lesson!