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Govt 2305-Ch_9
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  • 1. Campaigns, Elections,and the MediaChapter 9
  • 2. Why Run for Political Office? Logic of Elective Offices  The higher the office, the more people are likely to run for it  Ex. Not a lot turn out to run for McLennan Co. Justice of the Peace, but a considerable number always turn out to run for Mayor of Waco Why do people run for president or high offices?  Self-starters – people who voluntarily get involved in politics to further their careers, programs, or in response to certain events  Some run for office once or twice, some are long-term politicians  Recruits – people already involved in politics who are recruited by their parties to run for office
  • 3. Primaries and Elections Primary Elections  Election in which political parties choose their candidates for the general election Presidential Primaries  Statewide primary election of delegates to a political party’s national convention, held to determine a party’s presidential nominee General Election  Election normally held on the first Tuesday in November that determines who will fill various elected positions
  • 4. Primary Elections Expanded Caucus  Meeting of party members designed to select candidates and propose policies  Some states use this to select candidates for various offices Direct Primary  Primary election in which voters decide party nominations by voting directly for candidates  Used often in state or local elections Indirect Primary  Primary election in which voters choose convention delegates and the delegates pick the party’s candidate in the general election  Used almost exclusively in presidential elections
  • 5. Primary Elections Expanded Closed Primary  Type of primary in which the voter is limited to choosing candidates of the party of which he/she is a member  Basically, voters must declare party affiliation when they register to vote or at the election site Open Primary  Primary in which any registered voter can vote without declaring party affiliation  However, they must vote for candidates of only one party
  • 6. The Electoral College In presidential elections, people do not directly vote for the president and vice president Actually voting for electors who will cast their ballot in the Electoral College  Electors – members of the Electoral College, which selects the president and vice president; each state’s electors are chosen in each presidential election according to state laws Number of electors  538 equal to 100 senators, 435 House members, and 3 electors for the District of Columbia
  • 7. The Electoral College Candidates who receive a majority of the electoral votes (270) are certified as president-elect and vice president-elect in January What if no candidate receives a majority of the electoral vote?  The House selects from the presidential candidates with the three highest number of votes (each state has one vote; decided by a plurality of each state delegation)  The Senate determines the vice president in a choice between the two candidates with the most votes (each senator has one vote)
  • 8. How to Win a Campaign Hire a Political Consultant  Paid profession hired to devise a campaign strategy and manage a campaign  Thinks up a campaign theme, oversees advertising, chooses campaign colors, and the candidate’s official portrait Capturing Votes  Win all the votes of your party’s supporters  Convince a majority of the independent’s that you’re the better choice  Attempt to gain a few votes from the opposition party It’s all about image  Candidate visibility, the message, and the campaign strategy
  • 9. How to Win a Campaign Candidate visibility  Name recognition  If you’re already known and part of a major party; keep up the good work  If you’re a third party candidate, you have to seriously undermine the major party candidates Opinion Polls and Focus Groups  Everyone relies on them during election season; candidates have private polls ran to make sure they have a remote chance of winning  Focus Groups – small group of individuals who are led in discussion by a professional consultant in order to gather opinions on and responses to candidates and issues  Recent campaign focuses: “soccer moms,” “Wal-Mart shoppers,” and “NASCAR dads”
  • 10. Financing the Campaign Total Spending for 2007-2008: $4.14 billion  Presidential Candidates -- $2.4 billion  Avg. Senate incumbent -- $13 million  Avg. Senate challenger -- $5 million  Avg. House incumbent -- $1.7 million  Avg. House challenger -- $700,000 Who funds candidates?  Candidates, their families, borrowed money, or contributions from individuals and Political Action Committees  A committee set up by and representing a corporation, labor union, or special interest group; PACS raise money and give campaign donations
  • 11. Regulating Campaign Financing Campaign Finance Regulation  Federal Corrupt Practices Acts – series of acts passed by Congress in an attempt to limit and regulate the size and sources of contributions and expenditures in political campaigns  Hatch Act – passed in 1939 to restrict the political activities of government employees  Prohibited political groups from spending more than $3 million in any campaign  Restricted individual contributions to a campaign committee to $5,000
  • 12. Regulating Campaign Financing Campaign Finance Regulation  Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971  Replaced all past laws  No limit on overall spending, but restricted the amount that could be spent on mass media advertising  Disclosure required of all contributors who spent over $100 in political campaigns  Provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections  Established the Federal Election Commission (FEC)  Overall, it attempted to limit the influence of labor unions and corporations
  • 13. Types of Contributions Hard Money – money donated by individuals and parties to campaigns and PACs; strictly regulated by the FEC Soft Money – contributions unregulated by federal or state law; usually given to parties and PACs to help fund general party activities  Outlawed after 2002 Independent Expenditures – non-regulated contributions from PACs, organizations, and individuals  Funds may be spent on advertising or other campaign activates so long as those expenditures are not coordinated with those of a candidate
  • 14. TV’s Influence on the PoliticalProcess Opinion: TV News is superficial compared to newspapers and magazines Fact: TV is technically limited by time; stories must be reported in only a few minutes How are political stories chosen?  Well-constructed storylines garner viewers  The story should be short, have a clear plot, and pictures  In the extreme, sound bites are used to immediately have an impact on the viewer  Sound bites – brief, memorable comment that can easily fit into news broadcasts
  • 15. TV’s Influence on the PoliticalProcess Negative Advertising  “You shouldn’t vote for Candidate B because …” “Vote for Candidate A in November  LBJ’s Daisy Ad is a classic example of negative advertising Does negative advertising work?  The public claims to not like it  Consultants claim it works Negative advertising can backfire  Studies show that the attacking candidate and the candidate who is attacked can be viewed negatively by the public  This helps boost the chances of a third candidate
  • 16. TV’s Influence on the PoliticalProcess Management of News Coverage  Coverage by the news media is free  Candidates needs to make sure the coverage takes place and hopefully convince reporters that their interpretation of events is true (a.k.a. “spin”)  Spin – an interpretation of campaign events or election results that is favorable to the candidate’s campaign strategy  To successfully do this, candidates often hire spin doctors  Political campaign adviser who tries to convince journalists of the truth of a particular interpretation of events
  • 17. Bias in the Media What is Bias?  An inclination or preference that interferes with impartial judgment Liberal Bias in the Media Argument  Mainstream media has a long history of liberal bias  Some argue that it comes naturally to reporters  Stephen Colbert – “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Conservative Bias in the Media Argument  Mainstream media has a well-known conservative bias, especially when dealing with economic issues  Talk radio increasingly conservative  “image bites” (charts and graphs) more in favor of Republican views
  • 18. Bias in the Media Drama Theory  Mainstream media is really biased towards stories that involve conflict and drama (often takes a liberal bent) Loser Theory  Mainstream media is really biased towards political losers  The more a candidate falls behind in a race, the more negative coverage they receive  Election of 2008 a prime example Is bias just a fixture of the media in general?
  • 19. Threats to Traditional Media Blogging  Regular update of one’s ideas on a specific website  Politicians have readily taken advantage of blogging  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace all incorporate forms of blogging Podcasting  Method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video files, for downloading onto mobile devices or personal computers  YouTube is a prime example  Candidates in the 2008 and 2010 election cycle heavily relied on outlets like YouTube and other forms of podcasting to reach voters