Elections

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Elections

  1. 1. Elections and Political Participation Michael P. Fix
  2. 2. Elections and Democratic Theory
  3. 3. Direct Democracy <ul><li>All citizens have direct input on the actions and policies of government </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Ancient Athens </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instability </li></ul></ul>Image from wikipedia.org
  4. 4. A Republican Form of Government <ul><li>A system of government in which citizens select leaders to represent them and make political decisions on their behalf </li></ul><ul><li>What is the best way to select the leaders? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Different Ways to Select Leaders <ul><li>Random Selection – The medieval Italian Model </li></ul><ul><li>Selection of the Most Qualified – The Platonic Model </li></ul><ul><li>Leaders Handpick Successors </li></ul><ul><li>Elections </li></ul>
  6. 6. Random Selection of Leaders <ul><li>Selecting leaders randomly from members of the community – drawing names from a hat. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Medieval Italy </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corruption </li></ul></ul>Image from wikipedia.org
  7. 7. Selection of the Most Qualified <ul><li>Some individuals are born to rule and others to be ruled. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: None in practice, in theory could use an exam to determine the most qualified </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most qualified may not want to serve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not democratic? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Leaders Handpick Successors <ul><li>Leaders would select good individuals as replacements to ensure a continuation of their policies and their standing with the public </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No Accountability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not Democratic? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Elections <ul><li>Allow citizens direct say in who leads </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: US and most other modern democratic nations </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential for instability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires citizens to be knowledgeable </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Expressions of Popular Will <ul><li>Elections can be an important signal of popular will or sentiments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Landslide elections and mandates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact of minor party candidates and issues </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Expressions of Popular Will Landslide Elections When the victorious candidate comes to power with overwhelming public support
  12. 12. Expressions of Popular Will <ul><li>Minor party candidates can impact elections through expression of popular will. </li></ul><ul><li>When a minor party candidate raises a issue largely ignored by the major parties and receives high levels of public support, the major parties are forced to pay attention to the issue. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Stability and Legitimacy <ul><li>Legitimacy requires that elections appear free and fair to those who must live with the outcome </li></ul><ul><li>If a president is elected with less than majority support, then do they have the necessary legitimacy to lead the country? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Stability and Legitimacy <ul><li>Abraham Lincoln was elected with just 39.8 percent of the popular vote in 1860--none of which came from the southern states, where he wasn’t on the ballot </li></ul><ul><li>George W. Bush lost the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election, but won the presidency after a Supreme Court decision ended voting recounts in Florida. </li></ul>Images from wikipedia.org
  15. 15. Roles of Elections in Society Civic Education Fulfilling a Civic Duty A Safety Valve
  16. 16. The Limitations of Elections <ul><li>Elections as a civic placebo </li></ul><ul><li>A poor measure of public sentiment </li></ul><ul><li>The atomization of politics </li></ul><ul><li>Constricting the pool of public officials </li></ul><ul><li>A broken process </li></ul>
  17. 17. Elections and the Law
  18. 18. Framers Intent for Elections’ Role <ul><li>Founding fathers did not intend to create a truly democratic form of government </li></ul><ul><li>Want to preserve the ideals of democracy, but prevent instability that could come from too much citizen control </li></ul>
  19. 19. Framers Intent for Elections’ Role <ul><li>Multiple Constitutional mechanisms were put in place to prevent the instability they fear from too much popular control: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only one component of national government was to be elected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electoral College </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. How the Electoral College Works
  21. 21. How the President is Selected
  22. 22. Voting and Constitutional Change <ul><li>Fourteenth Amendment (1868)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Fifteenth Amendment (1870)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Nineteenth Amendment (1920)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Twenty-Fourth Amendment (1962)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Twenty-Sixth Amendment (1971)‏ </li></ul>
  23. 23. Voting and Legislative Acts <ul><li>Different types of restrictions states have enacted on voting: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Religious qualifications </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Property-ownership requirements </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax-paying requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy tests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Grandfather clause” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ White” primary </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Voting and Legislative Acts <ul><li>Recent legislation has been enacted to ease the requirements for voter registration and to create a more uniform system of voting: </li></ul><ul><li>Motor-Voter Law (1993)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Help America Vote Act (2002)‏ </li></ul>
  25. 25. Referendums, Initiatives, & Recall Ballot Initiative Citizens can have a proposed law placed on the ballot by gathering a required number of signatures. If it is approved by a majority of voters the initiative becomes law. Referendum A process by which citizens are asked to reaffirm or reject an existing law.
  26. 26. Referendums, Initiatives, & Recall Recall Process by which voters can remove an elected official from office before the next scheduled election
  27. 27. The Role of Money in Elections
  28. 28. The Role of Money in Elections <ul><li>Four reasons money became critical in elections by the late 1960s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline of party organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More voters up for grabs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Television </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campaign consultants </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. The Cost of Getting Elected
  30. 30. The Cost of Getting Elected
  31. 31. Raising Campaign Cash Where do candidates get their money? <ul><li>Public money </li></ul><ul><li>Small donations </li></ul><ul><li>Large individual donors </li></ul><ul><li>Candidate self-financing </li></ul>
  32. 32. What Do Contributors “Buy”? <ul><li>Rarely is money given with an explicit quid pro quo </li></ul><ul><li>Contributions can, however, increase the chances of the contributor gaining: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to policy makers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government assistance </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. All Time Big-Money Contributors
  34. 34. Major Contributors by Sector
  35. 35. Characteristics of Individual Contributors
  36. 36. Campaign Finance Reform
  37. 37. Regulating Campaign Finance <ul><li>Methods used to regulate campaign finance: </li></ul><ul><li>Limits on Contributions </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Federal funding of Presidential elections </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign finance reform </li></ul>Celebrity entertainers are a major source of campaign funding for Democratic Candidates
  38. 38. Regulating Campaign Finance <ul><li>Serious campaign finance reform began in the 1970s with the Federal Election Campaign Act (1971)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Buckley v. Valeo (1976): challenged the constitutionality of campaign finance limits </li></ul><ul><li>Now, politicians must get small amounts of money from many sources, with an exception for “soft” money </li></ul>
  39. 39. Regulating Campaign Finance The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was passed and signed into law by President George W. Bush in February, 2002 Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.)‏
  40. 40. The Disappearing Voter
  41. 41. The Shrinking Electorate
  42. 42. Why Has Turnout Declined? <ul><li>Attitudinal change </li></ul><ul><li>Lifestyle-changes </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in local party politics </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Role of the news media </li></ul><ul><li>Burnout from negative campaigns </li></ul>Theories
  43. 43. Young Voters in the 2004 Election <ul><li>Why do you think there was such a significant jump in the turnout rate for young Americans in 2004? </li></ul>Turnout by Age Groups in 2000 and 2004 Elections
  44. 44. Young Voters in the 2004 Election <ul><li>Sean “P. Diddy” Combs founded the non-partisan/ non-profit organization Citizen Change: </li></ul><ul><li>“ For the first time in history, we’re going to make voting fashionable” </li></ul>

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