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Chapter11

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  • 1. American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy, and Citizenship Chapter Eleven Elections and Campaigns
  • 2. Chapter Eleven: Learning Objectives • Describe various kinds of elections in the United States • Explain the distinctiveness of presidential and congressional elections
  • 3. Chapter Eleven: Learning Objectives • Analyze how the mechanics of voting may affect turnout and outcomes • Summarize the reasons for electoral success and failure
  • 4. Chapter Eleven: Learning Objectives • Understand the basics of how candidates finance and run their campaigns • Appraise the ways in which the current electoral process may foster or hinder deliberation and active citizenship
  • 5. Introduction Why hold elections? 1. A way for citizens to check and control government 2. We want officials that have wisdom to pursue common good
  • 6. Introduction Why hold elections? 3. Elections foster active citizenship 4. Elections stimulate public deliberation Chris Rank/Photographer/Corbis
  • 7. Varieties of American Elections: Referendum, Recall, and Initiatives Elections that give voters direct voice in state government include • Initiative • Popular referendum • Legislative referendum • Recall elections
  • 8. Varieties of American Elections: Candidate Elections Types of elections for public officials • Partisan elections • Nonpartisan elections • Primary elections • General elections
  • 9. Varieties of American Elections: Districts U.S. House members serve in single- member districts. The number of U.S. House members was set at 435 after the 1910 census. In 2000, the average U.S. House district had 647,000 residents.
  • 10. Varieties of American Elections: Districts After the census, reapportionment occurs. State governments are responsible for redistricting. State governments have engaged in gerrymandering while redistricting.
  • 11. Myths and Misinformation Campaign legends Many of the stories we hear about politicians are actually myths or misinterpretations of fact. Example: Al Gore’s claim that he “invented the Internet”
  • 12. Presidential and Congressional Races Do elections provide enough opportunities for citizens to deliberate? How do elections promote active citizenship?
  • 13. Presidential and Congressional Races: Nominations The political parties host national conventions where delegates formally choose their presidential candidates. A candidate’s performance in the early primaries and caucuses is important and the practice of front-loading has emerged.
  • 14. Presidential and Congressional Races: The Electoral College The president is selected by the electoral college. Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of U.S. House seats plus two U.S. Senate seats.
  • 15. Presidential and Congressional Races: The Electoral College Are there any advantages to the electoral college? Are there any disadvantages to the electoral college? Should we abolish the electoral college? Why or why not?
  • 16. Presidential and Congressional Races: Congressional Elections The outcomes of congressional races may be tied to national conditions. The coattail effect may also affect electoral outcomes. Historically, in most midterm elections the president’s party loses seats in Congress.
  • 17. The American Electoral Process There are many rules that govern elections, including rules on ballot design and rules for when elections may be held. Do you believe that there is a need for reform of election laws in the United States? Explain
  • 18. What Wins Elections? What factors contribute to a candidate’s success or failure in electoral campaigns? Rob Kim/Landov
  • 19. What Wins Elections? Party Party • Party identification is a cue to how people vote • In 2008, 89% of Democrats voted for Obama and 90% of Republicans voted for McCain • Sometimes voters will split the ticket
  • 20. What Wins Elections? Demographics Demographics • Gender and ethnicity may play a role in voting • Candidates focus on mobilization of certain supportive demographic groups • Does microtargeting hurt citizen deliberation?
  • 21. What Wins Elections? Geography Geography • Demographic groups may cluster in certain areas • Geography may affect political culture • Geography may affect the opinions of voters
  • 22. What Wins Elections? Good Times, Bad Times Good times, bad times • Americans tend to turn away from the president’s party during times of war or international crisis that appear to have no near end in sight • Americans tend to turn away from the president’s party during bad economic times
  • 23. What Wins Elections? The Power of Incumbency Why do incumbents win re-election? • Winning elections show candidates have skills • Incumbents often raise more campaign money • Incumbents are able to show how they have served constituents
  • 24. What Wins Elections? Message Message • Incumbents focus on accomplishments • Challengers focus on qualifications • Issues are important in campaign messages
  • 25. What Wins Elections? Attacks Attacks • Do negative attacks increase or decrease voter turnout? • Negative attacks often focus on policy positions • Today’s negative attacks are more tame
  • 26. Campaign Finance and Management Where campaign finance comes from • What are the differences between hard and soft money? • What is the role of the Federal Election Commission in elections?
  • 27. Campaign Finance and Management Where campaign finance comes from • How did Buckley v. Valeo affect laws on independent expenditures? • How did the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) change campaign finance law?
  • 28. Campaign Finance and Management
  • 29. Campaign Finance and Management: Where the Money Goes Where does the money go? • Advertising (television, direct mail) • Campaign consultants that work in a variety of areas, such as media, polling, fundraising, research, and get-out-the-vote planning
  • 30. Campaign Finance and Management: Where the Money Goes Source: Center for Responsive Politics, “Barack Obama: Expenditure Breakdown,” www.opensecrets.org/pres08/expend .php?cycle=2008&cid=n00009638, accessed June 24, 2009.
  • 31. International Perspectives Campaigns, American style American campaign consultants have been working on campaigns around the world for many years.
  • 32. Elections, Campaigns, and Deliberative Democracy What elections do for candidates and voters • Require citizens to reflect on candidates • Campaigns educate citizens • Citizens participate in democracy through elections • Allow successful candidates to claim a mandate
  • 33. Pledges and Promises Campaign promises Two campaign promises still haunt 1. LBJ - no Vietnam ground war 2. GHW Bush - “no new taxes”
  • 34. Deliberation, Citizenship, and You Votewithamerica.com In 2000, two college students started this website providing contact information for 172 Republican electors. They wanted voters to contact electors to convince them to change their vote to Al Gore since he won the popular vote.
  • 35. Summary • The electoral system is complex • Elections may take many forms • Elections may be expensive • Elections may empower voters

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