Counting Donkeys and Elephants:. 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections. Step by Step. 1. The U.S. Political System 3 Branches 2. The President’s Place 3. Electing the President Who can be president? (legal requirements) The Election Process 4. Election Day and Beyond.
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Counting Donkeys and Elephants: 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections
Step by Step 1. The U.S. Political System 3 Branches 2. The President’s Place 3. Electing the President Who can be president? (legal requirements) The Election Process 4. Election Day and Beyond
Back to the Roots Founding Fathers’ Main Objectives: Representation of the people Avoid TOO MUCH power in one place (oppressive rulers) Satisfy varying needs Encourage unity (compromise)
Legislative Branch Congress
ExecutiveBranch 2.7 million civilian employees 1.7 million military employees Official US Executive Branch Websites
Separation of Power Checks and Balances
Leader of the Free World? Head of State Commander-In-Chief Legislative leader Chief Administrator Power to appoint personnel Must work with Congress (compromise!) White House official website
I want to be Commander in Chief! Legal requirements: Natural-born U.S. citizen At least 35 years old Lived in the U.S. 14 years (min.) Unofficial Typecast White Male Generally Protestant A New Precedent Redefining Gender and Race
“Testing the Waters” Getting a feel for party’s potential candidate nomination Intra-party competition Seeking out: Large amounts of money Broad base of support
Considerations “Incumbent” Connections Established Fewer challengers Current state of affairs Support of party Opposition Parties Unknown figures Starting from scratch Full-blown campaign Many challengers Time and money • Only one “winner”
Declaring Candidacy Timing Location Electability Excitement
Primaries and Caucuses Primaries Open Closed Direct voting to choose candidate on state level New Hampshire Caucuses Local District State Local meetings of registered party members Iowa’s impact Returning government to the people! “Super Tuesday”
The Primaries Process Hillary Clinton Mike Huckabee
Garnering Support • Clinton • Chelsea • America Ferrara • Obama • Oprah • John Kerry • McCain • Guiliani • Schwarzenegger Spouses!
National Conventions A Party Tradition Not legally mandated Baltimore 1832 Build unity Party platform Ceremonial Nomination of Candidate Running Mate declared
About 3 months before Election Day Publicity Direct media exposure Build excitement National Conventions cont’d
Republican National Convention Sarah Palin
We have a winner! Or at least a candidate! Campaigning begins! The goal: score 270 electoral votes!! What are electoral votes? 270
Method Behind the Madness? What is it? An indirect election system Popular vote does NOT decide president Electors cast “electoral votes” that ultimately decide Who are electors? Prominent people Active in political parties To learn more about the Electoral College National Archives on the Electoral College
Who Gets What? How does it work? # Electors = # Senators + # Reps in House of Reps i.e. CA = 55 electors = 2 Senators + 53 representatives in the House of Reps Washington, DC = 3 electors WINNER TAKES ALL PER STATE!!!
A Popularity Contest Why do we have this system? Founding Fathers lack of faith in the “average citizen” Ensuring men of sound judgment Knowledgeable standpoint A check on popular opinion, Amplifying and clarifying voice of people Or nullifying it?
The Long Campaign
Campaign “Strategy” Financing a campaign “Swing/Battleground States” The Internet Campaign Role of media/polls Discussing the issues
Campaign Finance Where does the money come from? Top Donors Individuals Internet Matching Funds - yes or no? Figures from elections past Over $880 million spent in 2004 http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/index_2004.asp
“Battleground States” Also “swing states” States that are still “undecided” in who is likely to capture their electoral votes. Rather than waste time and money on sealing a larger margin of victory in “guaranteed” states, candidates tend to focus on winning these all-important regions. creating “spectator states”
The Internet • Individual Candidate Sites • Presenting a platform • You-Tube • Debates • Republican • Democrat • Out of Control? • Anti - Hillary Ad • Fundraising 71% of Americans have internet at home Public schools & libraries are on-line
The Major Issues Economy Renewable energy Taxation Financial Crisis Health Care Abortion National Security Iraq Foreign Relations Immigration Education • Discover the Candidates Stances on the Issues at: • CNN Election 2008 • America.gov • BBC News • Personal candidate websites
Advertising the Issues Reaching out to specific populations Advertising techniques ex: Latino community Interest groups Negative ad campaigns Debates focusing on the issues
Election debates Obama vs. McCain (57.40)
Election Day1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November Time zones trials & tribulations Exit poll predictions Voter turn-out Voting method Absentee ballots Varied voting machines