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  • Who Wants to Be a Candidate? Why They Run . There are two categories of individuals who run for office— Self-starters : Self-starters may choose to get involved to gain publicity to further a career, because of a commitment to a specific policy issue, or because of a political cause. Party recruits : those who are recruited by the party have been chosen by party leaders because they appear to have qualities that are necessary to gain the support of the voters. Nomination Process . Depends on the office and on state law Candidates can be placed on a party’s general election ticket by: a state or local convention a party caucus, or a primary election. Eligibility . Qualifications for candidates vary from office to office, but few offices have restrictive limitations. Some common restrictions include: Residency requirements for legislative positions. Age requirements (25 years of age for the U.S. House, 30 years of age for the U.S. Senate, and 35 years of age for the presidency). Citizenship for the President – a presidential candidate cannot be a naturalized citizen. Who Runs? While there are few restrictions most candidates are not demographically representative of the general population. The overwhelming majority of candidates are: white, male, and relatively well off. Women as Candidates . However, in recent years, more women have run for office. Women are more likely to run for local and state offices, though the number of women elected to Congress recently has increased significantly. Lawyers as Candidates . A very large number of elected officials at all levels are lawyers. These professionals enjoy more flexible schedules and have careers that can be aided by serving in elected positions.
  • A national temporary cadre of professionals and volunteers forms the base for the complex effort. The candidate is in the eye of a hurricane full of stump speeches, handshaking, and being jostled by the press, crowds, camera crews, local politicos and campaign aides. The pace is physically exhausting and stress is high for fear a slip of the tongue could cost an election. Ultimate success depends on many variables: charisma, smiles and appearance, the issues, the number of registered Democrats and Republicans, a sudden foreign-policy crisis, and even the weather. Incumbency Incumbents enjoys real advantages: Trappings of the office and the aura of the presidency help their effort. They can give contracts to get support in key states. In 2004, George W. Bush funneled more than $12 billion in emergency aid to hurricane-stricken Florida in the midst of his campaign. Appearances are carefully orchestrated. The Secret Service checks for security, the advance staff displays the crowds for the TV cameras. President can get on TV being presidential in a crisis and signing treaties. Campaign The candidate must have a campaign manager and a professional political consultant. Additionally, there must be: Fund-raisers, a media team to handle advertising and television, and a press secretary. Personal appearance planners, speech-writers, state and regional coordinators, and volunteer support groups. All of these need to be coordinated at the national, state, and local levels.
  • Campaigning for public office has changed dramatically over the past forty years. In the years before most households had televisions, campaigning was personalized . Voters received information about a candidate from an individual, either from the candidate or a person who was working on behalf of the candidate or the party of the candidate. Campaigns today are often less personal , with voters receiving information through the media, usually in the form of advertising. In the recent decades campaigns have become less party-centered and more candidate-centered . Increasingly candidates must form their own political organizations and not rely on the party organization for campaign support. It is now commonplace for candidates even for local offices to hire consultants for their campaigns. Political consultants devise a campaign strategy that begins months before the general election. This strategy will include: raising contributions, seeking endorsements of organized groups arranging for the candidate to speak at meetings of organized groups the formation of groups for grass roots neighborhood support and an extensive advertising campaign
  • In close elections, the undecided can be essential. Two-thirds of voters identify with one of the two major parties. Candidates try to preserve their base while winning over the independents and the undecided There is a close relationship between candidate images and voting behavior," and those images can change during the campaign. They contend that image particularly makes a difference among independent voters, who are more likely to shift impressions during a campaign. Voters construct their own individual view of the campaign, interpreting the symbols presented to them and drawing on their own experiences. Issues and targeting Must use campaigns to communicate the issues of the day. Today's campaign strategists target voters by battleground states, or on specific categories like age and race.
  • The Tactics of Winning Candidates lay claim to certain issues, seeking an advantage over their opponents. Campaign themes are shaped, to a large extent, by such factors as: Whether the candidate is of the in party or the out party Candidates, having to defend the record of the previous administration, are burdened by its foibles and failures. Negative campaigning Substantive issues become submerged when candidates devote more time to attack one another. Attacks begin almost immediately. In 2004, Bush attacked Kerry as a "flip-flopper". The "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacked Kerry's Vietnam war record. However, the group was bankrolled by Bush supporters in Texas. Mudslinging and charges of corruption are common in elections, in an attempt to damage a rival. Key Issues Bread and Butter Issues Peace and pocketbook issues tend to dominate presidential campaigns. Since the New Deal, the Democrats have been perceived as the party that used government to achieve social progress at home. Voters sometimes associate the party with prosperity. In 1980 the economy's double-digit inflation and high unemployment were a negative for Jimmy Carter. Economic issues helped Clinton in both 1992 and 1996. In 2004, the weak economy was a challenge for George W. Bush. In 2004, George W. Bush argued that the invasion of Iraq had removed a brutal dictator and made the world safer. However, the original premise for the war was to find weapons of mass destruction. John Kerry launched an attack calling the invasion "a diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy-al Qaeda.“ Presidents often talk of foreign policy in lofty national interest terms, but things like the price of a gallon of gas bring Middle East issues home to the United States. The Unexpected A sudden foreign policy crisis, a slip of the tongue, or a scandal may influence election outcomes. In 1884 Grover Cleveland was accused of fathering an illegitimate child, but this was overshadowed by anti-Catholic remarks made by a Protestant minister supporting the Republican candidate. In 1948, Thomas Dewey's campaign lurched backward when his quip about a railroad engineer ("that's the first lunatic I've had for an engineer") angered railroad employees. In June 1972, James W. McCord, Jr. was arrested inside the Washington headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. He and six others were later indicted. The scandal later reached the White House and forced Richard Nixon to resign. In 1984, Ronald Reagan's voice check (" . . . I'm pleased to tell you that I've signed legislation that would outlaw Russia . . . bombing in five minutes") aroused controversy and was denounced by the Soviets. In 1992, Gennifer Flowers claimed that she engaged in an affair with candidate Bill Clinton. Also in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle attacked fictional character Murphy Brown for having a baby as a single, unmarried mother. Later, he added an "e" to the word potato. In 1996, Dole fell off a platform in California when a railing gave way. Some speculated that it was symbolic of his presidential campaign. In 2000, George W. Bush used an expletive to describe a New York Times reporter. That remark contradicted his pledge to restore dignity to the White House. Al Gore embarrassed himself when he misquoted drug prices and asserted that he invented the internet In the long run, such incidents can lead to retribution at the polls. Sudden world crises cannot be anticipated and can turn an election around, hurting the party in power.
  • Television The marriage of television and politics took place in 1948, when people could tune in to the national nominating conventions. Its influence increased in 1952 and 1956, as the number of television sets mushroomed. By 1960, 88 percent (46.6 million) of American households had TVs. The famous Daisy Girl commercial with a little girl counting down the petals to a doomsday nuclear holocaust is a graphic example of the power of television. Millions saw it, although it aired only once in 1964. Without using GOP candidate Goldwater's name Johnson's voice-over left the impression that Goldwater was irresponsible enough to start a nuclear war. Theodore White commented that the GOP's indignant response gave credibility to the commercial. In 2000, the Republican National Committee sponsored a commercial attacking Al Gore. Suddenly, the word RATS flashed on the screen. Television and Debates In 1960, Congressional legislation created, then suspended, the equal time provisions of the Federal Communications Act, clearing the way for four Kennedy-Nixon debates. Most observers say the debates helped Kennedy, partly because he looked so vibrant compared to the haggard Nixon. In 1976, the debate between Carter and Ford helped Carter win by a narrow margin. Some analysts credit the debates with adding credibility to Carter. Typically front-runners and incumbents don't agree to debate, but Ford was 33 points behind in the polls, so he challenged Carter. Ford made the famous gaffe that Eastern Europe was not under Soviet domination. The 1980 debates. The main debate was between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Reagan displayed an affable manner, unlike Carter's more serious warnings. Reagan created the famous "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" line. This economic message sold brilliantly. In the 1992 debates, Bush at first refused to debate Clinton and the Democrats dogged him with characters in chicken suits called "Chicken George." When Bush lagged in the polls, he decided to debate. Bush tried to emphasize that the economy was not as bad as Clinton portrayed it. The big winner was maverick Ross Perot, who promised to clean house on the hill and send lobbyists packing. In Debate Two, Bush attacked Clinton as a waffler; an audience member asked the candidates to stick to the issues, not mudslinging; Perot was less of a novelty; and Clinton held his own, to Bush's disadvantage. The 1996 debates pitted President Clinton and Republican Bob Dole. In 2000, Texas Governor Bush agreed to one debate, and when criticized, accepted the three debates organized by the bipartisan commission. It is unfair to candidates and voters to depend on televised debates-candidates may misstate facts and viewers would not know better. However, it is an opportunity to watch candidates in action. The studies on the impact of the debates are mixed-some viewers see what they want to see, while other studies suggest that debates have a measurable influence.
  • Packaging the Candidate The ability of political candidates to reach increased numbers of voters through TV has been reflected in the dramatic increase in campaign spending for commercials. By 2004, more than 248 million television sets are in 102 million (98 percent) homes. In 1972, $10.8 million was spent for presidential broadcast ads. By 2000, $606 million was spent. In 2004, $1.5 billion was spent. The increased use of TV and Madison Avenue advertising techniques raises the question of whether candidates are being sold like toothpaste. Professional actor Ronald Reagan had an added advantage with TV. Besides praising their candidate, ads take jabs at the opponent by using negative advertising techniques. Ad campaigns, though, are limited by current issues, spending limits, party loyalty of voters, and the strengths and weakness of the candidate being packaged. Professional Managers Professional managers and consultants include people in advertising, public relations, issues research, public opinion sampling, focus groups organization, fund-raising, telemarketing, computer analysis, and speech-writing. Political scientist Larry Sabato says that the importance of consultants can be overstated. They can't claim credit or blame for wins or losses; but, as self-promoters, can convince people they influence the results more than they actually do. He complains about sweetheart ties between the press, which wants campaign news, and the political consultants who feed them. Sabato says that new technology may be producing a whole generation of officeholders far more skilled at running for office than in governing. As far back as 1965, California public relations firm Spencer-Roberts helped candidate Ronald Reagan look less like a programmed actor and more like a knowledgeable candidate for governor. Campaign management has become a profitable industry. Public relations firms have expanded as well. Mass media is used as a road to power in contemporary society.
  • Polling Public opinion polls are used in political campaigns by news media and candidates. Politicians use confidential polls to see if they ought to run. Polls can be used to test issues that are salient to voters and to determine their sentiments on them. Polls can be used in the campaign to test voter response to issues the candidate tackles. If elected, officials may poll to measure voter reaction to office performance. Reagan pollster Dick Wirthlin employed the first "tracking polls" in 1980 to gauge shifts in opinion among voters and to decide how to act based on the information. Democrat Michael Dukakis, who continually trailed Bush in the polls, complained of a bandwagon effect, saying that it had reached the point where polls were driving the process. Media Major national newspapers and political correspondents play a role in who is considered suitable to run. Editorial endorsements have less of an impact on the outcome of presidential campaigns. Despite the increasing role of TV, print press still must be included in strategizing since there are 60 million daily newspaper subscribers. Campaign staffers sometimes try to shield their candidates from the press corps.
  • Running for President is often a very long and complicated process focused on winning individual state primaries and caucuses. The first primary election was held in Wisconsin in 1903 and was viewed as a way to open up the presidential nomination process to the ordinary voter and reduce the power of political “bosses.” However, until 1968, only a minority of states had binding primaries and some of those primaries were “beauty contests” that did not actually select delegates. For the most part, Presidential nominees were selected by party bosses during party conventions with very little input from the ordinary voter Reforming the Primaries . After riots outside the 1968 Democratic Convention, the Democratic party created the McGovern-Fraser Commission to recommend reforms. Under the new rules, delegates had to be chosen by primaries, open caucuses, or elected state conventions, and not by party leaders. However, in 1984, elected officials re-won the right to attend conventions as voting superdelegates . The Republicans have also instituted most of these reforms. Types of Primaries. States are not required to run one type of primary or caucus and therefore the nature of the primary or caucus really depends on what is adopted by individual states and/or state parties: Closed Primary . Voters are restricted to voting for candidates of the party in which the voter is registered. Open Primary . Voters are restricted to voting for candidates of one party. The voter selects which party primary to participate in at the voting booth. Blanket Primary . Voters may participate in the primaries of both political parties. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled the California blanket primary unconstitutional. Runoff Primary . In some states, if no candidate receives an absolute majority in a primary, a second primary is held between the top two contenders. Front-Loading the Primaries Each state determines the date for its primary or caucus. Because early primaries are more influential, states have competed to schedule their primaries as early as possible. As a result, the primary season is essentially over by March. This process is believed to help well-funded front-runners. By choosing the nominees so early, there is a long lull in the news between the primaries and the national conventions. 2004 Democratic Primary During the 2004 Democratic Primary Contest, John Kerry was able to overcome an early lead by Vermont Governor Howard Dean, ultimately winning 47 state contests and locking up the nomination by March 2. Virtually all candidates are compelled to take the primary route. The prenomination candidate organizations are as large as the general election organizations of the winners.
  • Once the primaries are concluded and the nominees are selected, the major political parties conduct national conventions. At these conventions, each state receives delegates to the national convention for each party. The number of delegates a state receives is roughly in proportion to the population of the state, with extra delegates if the party’s candidate carried the state in the last presidential election. A credentials committee approves all delegates – which is typically a pretty standard process although there have been some disputed delegations in the past. The highlight of the convention is the nomination of the presidential candidate. However, because the identity of the nominee is now a foregone conclusion coverage of these events is very limited In addition to marking the formal end of the nomination process and the formal selection of the party nominee for President the Convention is also charged with developing the official party platform – this political agenda sets the parties priorities for the next four years The GOP platform adopted in 2004 aligned with the social conservatives in the party. It calls for federal amendments to ban abortion and gay marriage, and further opposes civil unions. In foreign policy, the platform praised Bush for his actions following September 11 and said that the invasion of Iraq had made America safer. Reflecting the shift in political goals, the platform shifted from the 2000 platform toward Russia and China, no longer challenging them on economic policy and removing the 2000 platform's rebuke of Russia for the Chechnya conflict. The DEM platform adopted for 2004 was entitled "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World" — also the name of the theme conveyed on the last night of the convention. The first part of the platform was called "A Strong, Respected America." The section defined specific goals and actions to defeat terrorism, to keep weapons of mass destruction from the hands of terrorists, to promote world peace and security, to strengthen the military, to achieve energy independence and to strengthen homeland security. The second part of the platform was called, "A Strong, Growing Economy." The section defined specific goals and actions to create what the party called "good jobs" and "standing up for the great American middle class." The third part of the platform was called, "Strong, Healthy Families." The section defined specific goals and actions to reform the healthcare system in the United States, to improve education and to protect the environment. The final part of the platform was called, "A Strong American Community." It stressed the diversity of the nation and the importance of upholding civil rights as a major tenet of the party. These events are often heavily scripted and designed to present the party and the party’s presidential nominee in the best light possible For example – during the GOP convention each day was tied to a theme; Monday – Courage of a Nation Tuesday – Compassion of the American people Wednesday – Land of opportunity Thursday – Build a safer world and more hopeful America
  • After winning the nomination, candidates spend more of their time campaigning in pivotal states with large electoral vote potentials. Nixon's presidential campaigns provide a case study on the importance of targeting states for campaigning. In 1960 he vowed to campaign in all 50 states, did so, and lost. In 1968 he only campaigned in ten populous "battleground" states, southern states that could be taken from George Wallace, and the border states. This time, he won. Television has influenced the course of campaigning. It puts candidates in danger of assassination (JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Ford, and George Wallace). Media blitzes end national campaigns with saturation campaign ads. Campaigns help keep the voters excited and party volunteers involved. Incumbency Although presidents have been defeated when they ran for reelection, incumbents still have advantages. Incumbents have the prestige of the office. Incumbents have a large, proven campaign organization. They have White House press facilities to manipulate as needed. The incumbent can be presidential doing his job and get free coverage. The president can get grants for a state to help win support. He can use foreign policy crisis to show his leadership; for example, Clinton's cruise missile attacks against Iraq during Campaign '96.
  • The Choice of Electors The Electoral College is set forth in the Constitution (Article II, Section 1; Amendment XII; and Amendment XXIII). Each state chooses electors equal in number to the number of representatives and senators the state has at the time of the election. The District of Columbia also chooses three electors. Currently there are a total of 538 electors. For a candidate to be elected president, he or she must win a minimum of 270 electoral votes. The Electors’ Commitment . In each state the political party selects a number of people to serve as potential electors under the party label. When voters go to the polls to cast a ballot for the presidential candidate they are actually voting for a slate of electors pledged to support the presidential candidate of the party. In all but two states, there is the winner-take-all system. That is, if a candidate receives a plurality of the votes cast he or she wins all of the electoral votes from the state. This is the unit rule . Criticisms of the Electoral College As a result of the unit rule, presidential candidates often ignore states where the result is not in doubt. Also, in four different elections (including 2000), the presidential candidate who received a plurality of the popular vote did not receive a majority of the electoral vote. In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote and still received a majority of the electoral vote, though Democrats challenged the popular vote count in Florida, which determined Bush’s Electoral College victory. In the wake of the 2000 elections, there have been numerous arguments against the Electoral College. Regardless of these arguments, it is likely to remain as the method for the election of the president. To change how the president is elected, an amendment to the Constitution would have to be proposed and ratified. Such an amendment is not likely to pass. The unit rule, however, could be altered by national legislation.
  • All states have used a secret, or Australian ballot since 1888. But while every state uses a secret ballot, not all state’s ballots are of the same type. Office Block and Party Column Ballots The office-block ballot groups candidates for elective office together under the title of the office. The office-block ballot discourages straight-ticket voting. States that use the party-column ballot list candidates in columns arranged by political parties. This type of ballot makes voting for all candidates of one party easier. In general elections where a president or a governor is elected, voters who are not knowledgeable about candidates for lower offices may be swayed to support candidates of the same party as the president or governor. This is referred to as the coattail effect . Voting by Mail . Increasingly, voting by mail has been used in the states. This has been done to make it easier for people to vote. Oregon is the only state in which all votes are cast by mail. Problems with Mail Voting Arguments against vote by mail include the claim that early voters may not benefit from late-breaking information and that vote by mail could result in election fraud. Benefits of Mail Voting In nearly all elections in which vote by mail has been used, there has been an increase in levels of participation. Vote Fraud This was probably more of a problem in the historical past. Failure to purge the electoral rolls of voters who have died or moved opens up possibilities of fraud. Mistakes by Voting Officials. On the other hand, in some locales voting officials have purged many legitimate voters from the rolls by mistake. Historical Restrictions Property Requirements. By the 1850s individuals who did not own land were allowed to participate in most states. Further Extensions of the Franchise. In 1870 African-Americans were granted the right to vote, though obstacles to their participation remained until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By 1920 women were granted suffrage. The last major extension of suffrage occurred in 1971 when 18 to 20 year olds were allowed to vote. Is the Franchise Still Too Restrictive? The principal argument is over ex-felons who have served their sentences but are barred from voting, often for life. Most other democracies do not impose this rule and not all U.S. states have it. This restriction alters the shape of the electorate because ex-felons are often members of minority groups, poor, or both. Current Eligibility and Registration Requirements In order to participate in the electoral process in most states an individual must complete a registration process. While this process varies from state to state, it is considered important to prevent voter fraud. Some have argued that the registration process is too complicated and therefore reduces the number of people who vote. In 1995, Congress passed a bill that allows individuals to complete the registration process when they apply for a driver’s license, assuming they are at least 18 years of age. It is now considerably easier for citizens to register.
  • The Cost Spending at all levels in 1972 totaled $425 million. By 2000 it was estimated to be about $3.9 billion. In 2004, George W. Bush and John Kerry each received $75 million in public funds for the general election. Those who raise $100,000 qualify for matching funds to help pay some of their primary election costs as well. Regulating Donations The laws to control spending did not work as intended. Limits on wealthy individuals, corporations, and interest groups were designed to keep them from exercising undue influence over those they contributed to. Limits on the amount a candidate could spend so that all compete on a level playing field. Loopholes in the law, court decisions, and new ways to finance campaigns undermined the system. The presidential election of 1976 was the first to provide effective limits on the contributions to candidates. However, loopholes greatly weaken the effectiveness of the laws, including soft money and independent expenditures. Soft money is funds raised by the two major political parties and spent by them in the states to aid candidates indirectly. There are no federal regulations on this. Independent expenditures are funds spent for or against a candidate by committees not formally connected to the candidate. These also are not subject to federal spending regulations. In 2002, the McCain-Feingold law banned contributions of soft money to national parties. Prohibits the use of funds for "issue ads". Allows for limited contributions to state parties. Doubled the amount individuals can give to candidates from $1000 to $2000. The law was challenged in court by Republicans charging that such restrictions violated the First Amendment's freedom of speech. The Supreme Court upheld McCain-Feingold. Foreign contributions arose during the 1996 campaign. Donors connected to a wealthy Indonesian family and its conglomerate, the Lippo Group, gave the Democratic National Committee more than $1 million. Another resident Indonesian couple gave $450,000. Most states have disclosure and limit laws, but these vary widely. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 made reforms. It requires name disclosure of all donors giving more than $100. It repealed the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925. It repealed provisions of the Hatch Act of 1940. It encouraged the creation of PACs to get around the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 limits on gifts from corporations and unions. Tax breaks to contributors were permitted in 1973.
  • The federal rules. In 1976, the Buckley v. Valeo case opened the way to independent expenditures, creating an enormous loophole. Contribution limits. Individuals may contribute: Up to $2,000 to a federal candidate in each primary and general election. Up to $95,000 over a two-year cycle to candidates, party committees, and PACs. Public financing. Federal funds may be accepted to help presidential candidates pay for primaries or general election expenses. To qualify for public funds in primaries, a candidate must raise at least $5,000 in each of twenty states in contributions of up to $1,000, for an overall total of $100,000. Public funds may be used to help each major political party finance its national convention. Spending limits. Presidential candidates who accept federal funds are limited to spending the amount they receive-$75 million in 2004. Candidates receiving federal funds for the general election can accept no private contributions. Disclosure. Candidates must file periodic reports with the government, disclosing names and addresses of contributors of more than $200. They also must report expenditures of more than $200. Federal election commission. The law created a bipartisan, six-member federal election commission to enforce the campaign finance laws and administer the public financing. In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court ruled that limits restricted freedom of expression, except for presidential candidates. The Court's decision opened the way for rich candidates to spend vast amounts of their own money in their campaigns. It also permitted independent expenditures to be made by committees not connected with a candidate. In a major loophole ruling, the Supreme Court said in 1996 that state and national political parties may spend unlimited amounts on congressional campaigns as long as the party and candidate aren't working together.
  • The average Congressional race several hundred thousand dollars. In 1990, 11 candidates for the House reported spending $1 million or more. By 1994, that number was up to 48.73, and by 2004, $1 million for a House race was not unusual. In 1988 the average cost of a Senate race was almost $4 million. In 2000, Jon Corzine spent $35.5 million for a nomination to the U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey.. In 2004, Blair Hull spent $29 million of his own money on his primary only to be defeated by Barack Obama, an Illinois state senator. Gubernatorial races are expensive as well-Jay Rockefeller spent $12 million in 1980 on his race in West Virginia. Radio and television costs are the biggest single item in campaign spending at the presidential and congressional levels. Political committees also spend money on publicity and advertising. Other money is spent on polls, data processing, printing, phones, headquarters, salaries of party workers, etc.
  • Interest Groups and Campaign Money One of the requirements in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 was the establishment of Political Action Committees or PACs as an alternative to the receipt of direct contributions from unions and corporations PACS were established: to represent a corporation, a labor union, or an interest group. Raise money and provide candidates with contributions. In order to be legitimate, a federal PAC must obtain donations from a minimum of 50 people and contribute to at least five candidates in a federal election. The number of PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission has increased significantly since 1976. The amount of money being contributed to campaign by PACs also has increased significantly, and incumbents receive the lion’s share of contributions. In 1984, they provided $113 million to federal-level campaigns. In 2000, they provided $579 million. In 1988, three of every four PAC dollars went to incumbents. In 2000 there were 4,400 PACs, up from 2,279 two decades earlier. People give money to campaigns for a variety of reasons. They believe in a candidate or party and want to express support. Some expect a tangible benefit or hope to gain access. Others want social recognition and a ticket to a White House dinner. Wealthy families contribute heavily to political campaigns, the bulk going to the Republican Party. The law permits up to $25,000 to state and local candidates. Other ways to get funds: Dinners at $100-a-plate and $1,000-a-plate, direct mail efforts, TV appeals, money from executives. An unadvertised source is organized crime. Alexander Heard guessed that 15 percent of state and local expenditures comes from the underworld.
  • Turning Out to Vote In the 2000 general election, 51.2 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots. Voter participation in the United States is low compared with other countries. In congressional elections in years when a president is not elected, the turnout rates are lower. Turnout rates are even lower yet for most local elections. The Effect of Low Voter Turnout Some observers believe that low turnout reflects a dangerous disaffection with our political system. Others believe that nonvoting means satisfaction with the status quo. Is Voter Turnout Declining? The voting-age population (VAP) is not the same as the population that is eligible to vote. The VAP includes noncitizens and ineligible ex-felons and does not include overseas citizens (who can vote absentee). Correcting for eligibility, the turnout in 2000 was actually 55.6 percent. It may be possible to entirely explain recent declines in voter participation (as measured by VAP) by an increase in immigration.
  • Factors Influencing Who Votes The decision to vote appears to be influenced by the following factors: Age . Individuals who are older are more likely to vote. Education . Individuals who have more formal schooling are more likely to vote. Minority status . Despite a decreasing gap, African-Americans are still less likely to vote than whites. Turnout for Hispanics and Asian Americans is low because many are not yet citizens. Income . Individuals who have higher incomes are more likely to vote. Party competition . States that have two strong parties, as opposed to one strong and one weak party, tend to have higher voter participation. Why People Do Not Vote There are several explanations why people do not vote. Two include “rational ignorance effect” and ”uninformative media coverage and negative campaigning.” Uninformative Media Coverage and Negative Campaigning. This theory says that voters are not given the kind of information that would provide an incentive for them to vote, and many are turned off by the negativism of campaigns. The Rational Ignorance Effect . This theory purports that many individuals rationally calculate that their vote is not important and that the effort to seek information to cast an informed vote is not worthwhile. Plans for Improved Voter Turnout More reliance on absentee ballots may not help. One idea is to declare Election Day a national holiday.
  • Foundation

    1. 1. American Government and Politics Today Campaigns, Nominations, and Elections
    2. 2. The Candidate <ul><li>Who are they? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they run? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the eligibility criteria? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the typical demographics? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Campaign Organizations <ul><li>Campaign organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Keys to Success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Charisma </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appearances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incumbency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Campaign Staff </li></ul>
    4. 4. The 21 st Century Campaign <ul><ul><li>Decline of Personalized Campaigns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Party-centered versus Candidate-centered. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultants and Campaign Strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Endorsements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking engagements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grass roots </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Media and Advertising </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. A Winning Strategy <ul><li>Preserving the Base </li></ul><ul><li>The Undecided Voters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. A Winning Strategy <ul><li>The Tactics of Winning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative Campaigning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bread and Butter Issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Unexpected </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Key Campaign Techniques <ul><li>Television </li></ul><ul><li>Television and Debates </li></ul><ul><li>Packaging a Candidate </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Managers </li></ul><ul><li>Polling </li></ul><ul><li>News Media </li></ul>
    8. 8. Key Campaign Techniques <ul><li>Television </li></ul><ul><li>Television and Debates </li></ul><ul><li>Packaging a Candidate </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Managers </li></ul><ul><li>Polling </li></ul><ul><li>News Media </li></ul>
    9. 9. Key Campaign Techniques <ul><li>Television </li></ul><ul><li>Television and Debates </li></ul><ul><li>Packaging a Candidate </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Managers </li></ul><ul><li>Polling </li></ul><ul><li>News Media </li></ul>
    10. 10. Presidential Campaigns <ul><li>Primaries </li></ul><ul><li>National Convention </li></ul><ul><li>General Election </li></ul><ul><li>The Electoral College </li></ul>
    11. 11. Presidential Campaigns <ul><li>Primaries </li></ul><ul><li>National Convention </li></ul><ul><li>General Election </li></ul><ul><li>The Electoral College </li></ul>
    12. 12. Presidential Campaigns <ul><li>Primaries </li></ul><ul><li>National Convention </li></ul><ul><li>General Election </li></ul><ul><li>The Electoral College </li></ul>
    13. 13. Presidential Campaigns <ul><li>Primaries </li></ul><ul><li>National Convention </li></ul><ul><li>The Electoral College </li></ul>
    14. 14. Conducting Elections <ul><li>Casting your Ballot </li></ul><ul><li>Voter Fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Voting Eligibility Requirements </li></ul>
    15. 15. Financing Campaigns <ul><li>The Cost </li></ul><ul><li>Regulating Donations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soft money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclosure Laws </li></ul></ul>
    16. 18. Federal Campaign Financing Regulation <ul><li>Buckley v. Valeo </li></ul><ul><li>Public Financing </li></ul><ul><li>Spending limits </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosures </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Election Commission </li></ul>
    17. 19. The Actual Cost of Campaigns <ul><li>Congressional races </li></ul><ul><li>Senate races </li></ul><ul><li>Governor races </li></ul>
    18. 20. Funding Sources <ul><li>Political Action Committees </li></ul><ul><li>People </li></ul><ul><li>Wealthy </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraisers </li></ul>
    19. 21. PAC Contributions to Congressional Candidates 1986-2004
    20. 22. Voter Turnout <ul><li>Traditionally low </li></ul>
    21. 25. Factors that Influence Turnout <ul><li>Age. </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Minority status </li></ul><ul><li>Income </li></ul><ul><li>Party competition </li></ul>
    22. 28. Questions??

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