Study Guide for Chapter 10 of "The Struggle for Democracy"
Voting, Campaigns, andElectionsChapter 10
Elections Elections and Democracy Three models of how elections can lead to popular control. Prospective voting model Electoral competition model Retrospective voting model
Elections Prospective Voting Model Definition:A theory of democratic elections in which voters decide what government will do in the near future. Potential problems: Might increase the intensity of political conflicts. Likely to lead to gridlock within the separation of powers.
Elections Electoral Competition Model Definition:A form of election in which parties seeking votes move toward them median voter or the center of the political spectrum. Potential problems: Needs unified parties in order to work Voters must know exactly where the party stands and the party must keep their promises (Which is unlikely)
Elections Retrospective Voting Model Definition:A form of election in which voters look back at the performance of a party in power and cast their vote to the better party. Electoral reward and punishment states that the voter votes for the incumbent when times are good, against when times are bad. Potential problems: Gets rid of bad political leaders after disaster, and not before.
ElectionsThe Unique Nature of American Elections Key features: Numerous and frequent elections Usually separate and independent form anther. Inconsistent election procedures and Vote- Counting. Elected positions have fixed terms Elections are held on fixed dates First past the Post wins Meaning the first one with the most votes wins. Not necessarily with majority.
Voting Voting in the United StatesExpansion of the Franchise: Before the 14th and 15th amendments, it was up to the states to determine who gets to vote. The states set a limit, called a Franchise, on the right to vote. Barriers were also set to limit the vote. This left universal suffrage, or the ability to vote. White property owning males usually voted in the elections.
Voting Low Voting Turnout Why is turnout so low? Barriers to voting Too much complexity Weak voter mobilization Decline in competitive elections
Voting Barriers to Voting One of he biggest barriers to voting in the United States is that the public has to register in advance to vote. Many procrastinate and do not register in time. How the United States could increase voter turnout: Make voting easier by lowering registration requirements. Make election day a legal holiday.
Voting Too Much Complexity When voters go to the polls they must make their choices for the federal, state, and local offices and often decide on constitutional and policy measures put on the ballot by state legislatures or the public. Referenda (state legislatures) Initiatives (the public) Manyvoters feel overwhelmed and stay home.
Voting Weak Voter Mobilization by the Parties Theparties are only worried about getting their own supporters to the polls, and not increasing voter turnout.
Voting Decline in Competitive Elections Many states find themselves as Democratic or Republican. Candidates tend to only worry about states that are affiliated with their party. Only focused on the big states.
Voting Who Votes? Main Factors: Income and education Race and ethnicity Age
Voting Income and Education Higher income voters Tend to have more time making it easier to get to the polls. More money to get things done and donate to their candidates. Educated voters More knowledge about politics Less troubled by registration requirements Voter with little education and a small income are less likely to vote.
Voting Race and Ethnicity Whites are more likely to vote, but in the past years African Americans have increased their voting turnout. Whites and African Americans now have proportional voter turnout
Voting Age Older people tend to vote more. They have more time, more money, and are in the routine of voting. They know what to expect. Young voters are less likely to go to the polls. They know little about politics and are unsure who to vote for.
Campaigns Campaigning for OfficeMoney In general elections: Campaigning for the elections cost a lot of money. The estimate for the 2007-2008 election was about $5.3 billion
Campaigns Hard MoneyMoney In general elections: Hard money refers to contributions and spending that fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission. The FEC wanted to set limits on what the candidates could spend on advertising, and air time. This meant that corporations and unions would play a much bigger role financing campaigns.
Campaigns Where the Money Comes FromThe money comes from the following: Individuals and candidates Pac’s (Political Action Committees) 527’s 501’s
Campaigns Individuals and Candidates Individuals are the largest single source of funding for presidential campaigns. Voters give contributions to their candidate but have a limit on what they can give. Senate and house candidates usually donate money to their own campaigns. Presidential candidates will usually spend a lot of their own money seeking the party nomination.
Campaigns Political Action Committees Pac’s are entities created by interest groups. These pacs collect money and make contributions to candidates in federal elections.
Campaigns 527’s 527s are entities that can use unregulated money to talk about issues, mobilize voters, and praise or criticizes candidates and office holders. No limits on donations and spending of 527s, but have to report their contributors to the IRS.This source of money is not used oftenanymore.
Campaigns 501’s 501’s do not have to report the identities of the contributors to the IRS like the 527s do. They still have to report the donations but not as much as the 527s, making it an easier and less stressful process.
Voters How Voters decide Voters decide on their candidate by their: Social Characteristics Party Loyalties Issues
Voters Social CharacteristicsA citizens socioeconomic status, where they live, religion, gender, and age are all related to how a citizen casts their vote. African American, Jews, and lower income citizens tend to vote democrat. White upper income citizens tend to vote republican.
Voters Party Loyalties Party loyalty is the concept of two parties, Democrat or Republican. When a person uses their party identification to vote it means they vote for the candidate closest to their party and issues.
Voters Issues Voters usually vote for the incumbent when the economy is strong. If the Economy was worse off after the presidents term the voters may be more likely to vote for the other candidate.
Decision How Does the Votes Elect a PresidentA voter usually votes for an elector. They do not vote directly for the president. These electors will cast the vote for their people. The president with the majority of the electoral votes win.
Terms Other Terms to Know Provisional Ballot – A vote that is cast but not counted until determination is made that the voter is properly registered. Congressional Primaries – Election in which voters choose delegates to the national party convention. Congressional Caucuses – Supporters and activists hold meetings for selecting delegates.