The Making of the President a.k.a, The Steps to Electing the President
There are many steps involved in electing the President… All campaigns have the basics, but Presidential elections, since they are for such an important office, have a few extras…
The basic steps are… Self-nomination Campaign to win party nomination - “Win Primaries and Caucuses” National Nominating Convention Campaign to win General Election General Election Electoral College meets and votes Inauguration
Self-Nomination Candidates for the presidency usually nominate themselves This occurs up to 2 years before the General Election If the candidate finds they have the potential, they will make an announcement that they are seeking the office
Self-Nomination They may form an “exploratorycommittee” to find out if they have what it takes to be president This committee really exists to find out the answer to 2 questions: Do people like the candidate? Will they contribute $$ to the campaign?
Some examples of those who threw their “hat in the ring” in 2008… John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats… Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Rudy Guiliani for the Republicans…
Step 2: Campaign to Win Your Party’s Nomination for Prez
Occurs winter and spring before the General Election
Both fields of Democratic and Republican candidates campaign across the country. They are trying to win votes in each state. Each state has a part in choosing the candidates from each party
Step 2: Campaign to Win Your Party’s Nomination for Prez Each state uses 1 of 2 methods to select its citizens’ preferred candidate from each party Primaries – voters in a state choose candidate they like the best Open – anyone in state can vote Closed - only party members can vote to choose from their party’s candidates (**most states use this primary method) Caucuses – a set of meetings, at the local, county and then state levels, where party delegates choose a candidate
Democratic Party Primaries/Caucuses for the 2008 election January 14th, 2008 - Iowacaucus January 15th – Michigan (most candidates boycotted; won by Clinton) January 19th - Nevada caucus January 22nd - New Hampshire primary (1st in nation) January 29th – South Carolina Florida (most candidates boycotted; won by Clinton) February 5 (SUPER TUESDAY) Alabama, Alaska caucus, Arizona, California, Colorado caucus, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho caucus, Illinois, Kansas caucus, Minnesota caucus, Missouri , New Jersey, New Mexico caucus, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah **April 22nd - Pennsylvania June 3 – South Dakota, Montana
Republican Primaries/ Caucuses for the 2008 election January 3rd, 2008 – Iowa caucus January 5th – Wyoming (half of delegates to NNC; others “unbound”) January 15th – Michigan January 19th – South Carolina, Nevada January 22nd - New Hampshire primary (used to be first) January 29th - Florida February 5 (SUPER TUESDAY)- Alabama, Alaska , Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado , Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas , Minnesota, Missouri, Montana , New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia **April 22nd – Pennsylvania June 3rd – South Dakota (last)
Super Tuesday Name for the day in a presidential campaign when many states hold their primaries. In the 2008 campaign, Super Tuesday fell on February 5th (usually in February) Manystates had both their 2008 Democratic and Republican primaries on that day…. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia Candidates can take a huge lead, become a front-runner, or find out they may not have “the right stuff”
The goal of all of these primaries and caucuses is for the field of candidates to be narrowed down… Each state can send a certain number of delegates to the Republican and Democratic National Nominating Conventions (…to choose their party’s candidate officially) If a candidate wins a state’s Primary or Caucus, supporters of the candidate become that state’s delegates to the NNC.
Step 3: The National Nominating Convention Held in the mid/late summer of the election year (August/September 2008) Delegates from the states decide 2 issues Candidateto run in the General Election Party Platform (party’s stance on the issues)
The National Nominating Conventions Democratic National Convention – August 25 to August 28, 2008 in Denver Republican National Convention – September 1 to September 4, 2008 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Which candidate do you think gains an advantage due to this order?
Step 4: The Presidential Campaign Trail September thru November of the election year Many different methods are used to sway voters for one candidate or the other… Political Ads Televised debates Travel/campaigning/ “stumping” As you can imagine, these campaigns can get pricey…
The Co$tsof Running The 2008 campaign was one of the most expensive in history Both Barack Obama and John McCain have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to run for the highest office in the land… Obama = $450m McCain = $370m
Step 5: The General Election Takes place on the same day every year 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in Nov. Next presidential general election? Voters turn out to cast their ballots for President/VP and for many other offices as well But…when voting for President, they are NOT actually casting their ballots for the candidates.
Here is where the Electoral College comes in…
Step 5: The General Election (Electoral College) When voters in each state cast their votes for Prez/VP, they are actually voting for a political party’s slate of electors This is a group of “electors” (people who will cast a ballot) from a political party in each state THESE PEOPLE actually get to cast the “REAL” votes for President and VP These votes are known as Electoral Votes, since they actually elect the president.
Each state has a certain number of Electoral Votes # of EV’s = # of Sens + # of Reps
The Electoral College – How does it work? The winner of each state’s popular vote (the vote of the people) has all of their electors chosen to cast their votes for President and VP. This is called the “winner-take-all” method (**ME, NE)
For example: In 2008, the popular vote in PA turned out this way: John Barack McCain Obama 2,655,855 (44%)3,276,363 (56%)
Who won PA’s electoral votes?
Whose electors would be chosen?
The Electoral College The number of electoral votes each state has can change… As each census changes the # of Reps., it also impacts the # of electoral votes But…the total number of electoral votes is always… 538 Why this #?
Changes after the 2000 Census
Step 6: Electoral College meets and votes Where do the electors gather to cast their votes? How many does the candidate need to win? What if there is a tie?
The Electoral College Must all electors vote for the popular vote winner in their state? Give a reason why they would be very likely to vote for the popular vote winner in their state… **Most electors do vote for the popular vote winner…but a few have not…
Step 7: The Inauguration Occurs on January 20th of the year following the election Sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
The oath of office… "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."