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Primaries & Caucuses. Selecting a President:. Presidential Selection. Stage 1: Caucuses & Primaries The Battle for the Party Faithful Stage 2: Nominating Conventions “Glorified Infomercials?” Stage 3: General Election The Fight for the Center Stage 4: Electoral College

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Primaries caucuses

Primaries & Caucuses

Selecting a President:

Presidential selection
Presidential Selection

  • Stage 1: Caucuses & PrimariesThe Battle for the Party Faithful

  • Stage 2: Nominating Conventions“Glorified Infomercials?”

  • Stage 3: General Election

    The Fight for the Center

  • Stage 4: Electoral College

    Power to the People?

Stage 1 caucuses
Stage 1: Caucuses

  • Closed meeting of party members in each state

  • Delegates select the party’s choice for presidential candidate

  • Currently, six states, including Nevada in 2008, offer party caucuses selecting presidential nominees.

Barrack Obama campaigns in Iowa

Stage 1 primaries
Stage 1: Primaries

Presidential Primary Elections - special elections in which voters select candidates to be the party’s nominee for president in the general election.

  • Primary Season - January - June

  • Who Decides? - State party organizations for the most part decide the rules for the primaries in a particular state.

  • Types of Primaries:

    • Closed Primaries

    • Open Primaries

Mitt Romney campaigning in New Hampshire

Closed primary
Closed Primary

  • Voters may vote in a party's primary only if they are registered members of that party

Open primary
Open Primary

  • A registered voter may vote in any party primary regardless of his or her own party affiliation.

Nominating conventions

Nominating Conventions

Selecting a President:

Presidential selection1
Presidential Selection

  • Stage 1: Caucuses & PrimariesThe Battle for the Party Faithful

  • Stage 2: Nominating Conventions“Glorified Infomercials?”

  • Stage 3: General Election

    The Fight for the Center

  • Stage 4: Electoral College

    Power to the People?

Presidential nominating conventions the nuts bolts

Barack and Michelle Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Presidential Nominating Conventions:The Nuts & Bolts

Nominating conventions1

George W. and Laura Bush at the 2000 Republican Convention

Nominating Conventions

  • An assembly held by political parties every four years

  • Usually held in late summer before the general election in November

  • The Democratic and Republican parties hold nominating conventions as do third parties [ex: Green Party, Libertarian Party]

Purposes of nominating conventions
Purposes of Nominating Conventions 2000 Republican Convention

  • Delegates at the convention adopt a party platform.

  • Delegates to the convention elect that party’s nominees for President and Vice-president.

1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan

What s a party platform
What’s a Party Platform? 2000 Republican Convention

  • Party Platform - a statement of principles and objectives a political party and a candidate supports in order to win the general election.

  • Plank - Individual topics in a party’s platform (ex: abortion, war in Iraq)

Cartoon satirizing the 1896 Democratic Party Platform

2004 platform themes

Democratic Party: 2000 Republican Convention

“Strong at Home, Respected in the World”

Republican Party:

“A Safer World and a More Hopeful America”

2004 Platform Themes

How are these themes similar?


Who are delegates
Who are 2000 Republican ConventionDelegates?

Delegate -A voting representative to the party nominating convention

Delegate selection

Proportional System 2000 Republican Convention

Primary system used by the Democratic Party

Candidates are allocated the same percentage of a state’s delegates as they received in popular votes

Pro’s & con’s of the proportional system?

Winner-take-all System

System used in most Republican primaries

The winner of the popular vote in that state receives all that state’s delegates

Pro’s & con’s of the winner-take-all system?

Delegate Selection

Democratic party rules two types of delegates
Democratic Party Rules: 2000 Republican ConventionTwo Types of Delegates

Pledged Delegates v. Superdelegates

Pledged delegates
Pledged Delegates 2000 Republican Convention

  • Each state allotted certain number of delegates who vote at the party’s convention

  • Pledged delegates are chosen at state & local level

  • Pledged delegates are required to cast a vote at the convention based on the results of the primary or caucus in their state

Pledged delegates count during the 2008 Democratic primaries

Superdelegates 2000 Republican Convention

  • Members of the Democratic Party establishment who serve as unpledged delegates at the party convention

  • Include members of Congress, governors, and members of the D.N.C.

  • They are free to vote for any candidate at the convention

Brokered convention
Brokered Convention 2000 Republican Convention

Democrats avoided a brokered convention in 2008

  • A situation in which no one candidate in a political party has received enough delegates in the primaries and caucuses to obtain a majority

  • After the first ballot at the party’s convention, nominee decided through horse-trading and further ballots

  • Thomas Dewey (R) in 1948 and Adlai Stevenson (D) in 1952 last two candidates selected through brokered conventions; neither won the general election

Brainstorm potential positive and negative consequences of a brokered convention.

Convention speeches the keynote address

The speech given at the convention that embodies that party 2000 Republican Convention’s core message

Why do you think Democrats choose Barrack Obama and Republicans Zell Miller to deliver the 2004 Keynote Addresses?

Convention Speeches: The Keynote Address

Senator Barrack Obama gives the 2004 DNC Keynote Address

Democrat Zell Miller delivers the 2004 RNC Keynote Address

Convention speeches the acceptance address

The speech given at the final day of the convention in which the winning candidate formally accepts the party’s nomination for president

The Acceptance Address is always televised by the major networks

Convention Speeches: The Acceptance Address

1960 presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon deliver their Acceptance Addresses at their party’s national convention

Critics say that party nominating conventions have become no more than infomercials
Critics say that party nominating conventions have become no more than infomercials.

1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City

What do you think?

1920 republican convention
1920 Republican Convention more than infomercials.

  • Today candidates secure their party’s nomination during the primaries

  • But in 1920 there was no clear nominee going into the Republican Convention

Schwarzenegger rocks republican convention
Schwarzenegger Rocks Republican Convention more than infomercials.

By Patrick Chappatte, The International Herald Tribune  09/21/2004

2008 the final three
2008 -- The Final Three more than infomercials.

By Paresh Nath, National Herald, New Delhi, India 3/17/08

Super delegates
Super Delegates more than infomercials.

By John Trever, The Albuquerque Journal 03/30/2008