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Civic Education Workshop. Day 2: Presidential Elections. Structure of Presidential Elections. National Law sets days for Federal elections, minimum qualifications, basic voter rights, and regulations for campaign finance of federal elections

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civic education workshop

Civic Education Workshop

Day 2:

Presidential Elections

structure of presidential elections
Structure of Presidential Elections
  • National Law sets days for Federal elections, minimum qualifications, basic voter rights, and regulations for campaign finance of federal elections
  • State Law controls ballot form, access to the ballot, registration, polling times, absentee ballots, division of Electoral Votes
  • The “Rules of the Game” matter!
running for president
Running for President
  • Getting Nominated
    • Delegates to national conventions select candidates
    • Previously, delegates were selected before primaries and free to support whomever they wanted
    • Now, most delegates are bound to particular candidates based on primaries
presidential primaries
Presidential Primaries
  • Primaries are a series of state-wide elections
  • Rules governing primaries are set by state and national political parties
    • Timing
    • Allocation of delegates
    • Open or closed primaries
    • Conventions
presidential primaries cont
Presidential Primaries (cont.)
  • Early primary success is critical
    • Creates a bandwagon effect
    • Attracts media coverage and contributions
  • “Success” defined by expectations
    • LBJ; Clinton
  • Importance of early primaries has caused pressure to ‘front-load’
  • Front-loading makes early money and name recognition more important
presidential primaries cont6
Presidential Primaries (cont.)
  • Primaries differ from general elections because:
    • They often begin with more than 2 viable candidates
    • Primary and general electorates are not the same
    • Party labels cannot serve as information cues
the general election
The General Election
  • Early Nominees have the advantage
  • The content of the campaigns change because the opponents change
  • The battle is over defining the nature of the choice (“It’s the Economy Stupid”)
general election cont
General Election (cont.)
  • The Electoral College means that presidential elections are really a set of 50 (plus D.C.) simultaneous state-wide elections
  • The Electoral College over-represents small states
  • Candidates compete in “swing” states
elements of the general election
Elements of the General Election
  • Polls
    • Learn about voters
    • Test messages
  • Negative campaigns
    • Negative messages stick with voters
    • Must be credible
    • Remember, the goal is not to make voters feel good – the goal is to win.
  • The Debates
    • What is said is important
    • What is said about them is also important