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Chapter 9. Campaigns and Elections. Nominating Candidates Election Campaigns Money and Politics Electing the Candidates Campaign Finance Reform. Voting in Democracies. Legitimizes the institutions Safety valve for discontent Holds leaders accountable Protects against abuse

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Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

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Campaigns and Elections

  • Nominating Candidates

  • Election Campaigns

  • Money and Politics

  • Electing the Candidates

  • Campaign Finance Reform

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Voting in Democracies

  • Legitimizes the institutions

  • Safety valve for discontent

  • Holds leaders accountable

  • Protects against abuse

  • Organized by states and local governments

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Electoral Districts

  • Drawn by the state legislatures following reapportionment

  • Political gerrymandering is well accepted.

  • Racial gerrymandering was declared to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The Convention

  • Historically the party had meeting to negotiate candidate positions

  • Today Presidential hopefuls must compete in a series of primaries and caucuses or conventions to win delegates at the national convention.

  • The winner of the primary season will receive the party’s nomination.

  • Established future rules.

  • Writes party platform.

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The Primaries

  • A direct primary is an election held within a party to select a nominee for a general election.

  • Must defeat party contenders to win a spot on the general election ballot

  • Requires winning the approval of the party activists

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Types of Primaries

  • Primary elections

    • Closed

    • Open

    • Blanket

  • Runoff elections

  • Preference Poll

  • Mandatory Preference Poll

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Primaries across the U.S.

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Primary Contests

  • Personality Clash

    • Bush and McCain

    • Gore and Bradley

  • Ideological Clash

    • Bush and Buchanan (1992)

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Positioning to Win the Primaries

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National Party Conventions

  • Selects the party’s candidate for president.

  • Party used the caucus in early years.

  • Has become more democratic since the 1960s.

  • Winner know usually well in advance.

  • Some feel it’s now a giant infomercial.

  • Establishes future convention rules.

  • Writes the party platform.

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Attitudes of Republican and Democratic Delegates

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Personal Characteristics of Republican and Democratic Delegates

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Election Campaigns

  • Advisers

  • Polling

  • The Elections

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Advisers and Consultants

  • Candidates utilize political advisors to manage their campaigns.

  • Develop campaign strategies, conduct polls and coordinate the media events.

  • James Carville and Dick Morris are some of the best-known campaign strategists.

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A Typical Presidential Campaign Organization

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  • Conducting political polls is essential for a successful campaign.

  • Must ascertain the will of the people and tailor a message that appeals to the voters

  • Benchmark Poll

  • Tracking Poll

  • Rolling Polls

  • Focus Groups

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Campaigning Techniques

  • Polling

  • Broadcast Media

    • spot ads

    • town meetings

    • infomercials

    • debates

  • Phone Banks

  • Direct Mail

  • Public Relations

  • Internet

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Money and Politics

  • $500,000 for a House seat

  • $5,000,000 for a Senate seat

  • $50 - 100,000,000 for President

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Money and Politics

  • Winners out spend losers 2 to 1

  • Geographic size of Texas requires high spending just for name recognition

  • 10 months of face to face equals 2 days of state wide TV

  • It’s expensive for a one point increase

  • 15 - 75% $15,000 per percentage point

  • 76 - 100% $25,000 per point

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Sources of Campaign Funds

  • The Federal Election Commission monitors campaign fundraising.

  • Sources of funds include

    — individuals - 50%

    — political action committees (PAC) - 25%

    — the candidate - 25%

    — parties and soft money,

    — public funding.

  • Limits - individual $1000, group $5000

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PACs Give Postelection Donations to Winners

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PAC Contributions to Congressional Candidates, 1974 to 1998

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Soft Money Raised by Political Parties, 1992 to 1998

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The Criteria for Winning

  • Majority

    — Southern primaries

  • Plurality

    — General election

  • Proportional Representation

    — European elections

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Types of Elections

  • General election - regularly scheduled national elections held in even numbered years on the first Tuesday in November.

    • Presidential

    • Mid Term

  • Special election - state and/or local election necessary before next general election.

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The Ballot

  • Prior to 1890 - Controlled by party

  • Utilizes a neutral ballot that contains the candidates for all the eligible parties

  • Party-column versus office-block ballot

  • Permits split-ticket and straight-ticket voting

  • Coattail effect possible with popular candidate

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Presidential Elections

  • How is the president elected?

  • What factors have the greatest impact on a general election campaign?

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The Electoral College

  • Electors are chosen by each state to meet after the popular election to cast ballots for the president and vice president.

  • Electors equal to the number of House and Senate members.

  • Need 270 of 538 to win.

  • Possible to win popular vote and lose election.

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State Electoral Votes

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The General Election

  • The general presidential election contest is about winning 270 electoral college votes.

  • This forces the candidates to focus on the states with large delegations (California, Texas, etc.).

  • Organizationally driven

  • Media driven

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The 2000 Election

  • The 2000 election was mired in controversy, including

    — media confusion regarding the projected winner of key states,

    — the mandated recount of the Florida popular vote,

    — confusion in the Florida courts regarding extent of manual recounts,

    — U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting recounts.

  • Bush was declared the winner with a 271 to 267 vote in the electoral college.

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Campaign Finance Reform

  • Both parties have argued that reforms should be made to the campaign finance system.

  • Incumbents are reluctant to give up the financial advantage.

  • Each party fears that reform would benefit the other side

    • Democrats would not give up PAC contributions

    • Republican would give up PAC contributions

  • Future soft money campaign uses.

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