Section 1:Election Campaigns Section 2:Campaign Funding and Political Action Committees Section 3:Election Day and the Voters Chapter 12: Understanding Elections
Section 1 at a Glance • Election Campaigns • Television and the 1960 Election Learn about the campaign that led to the election of President John F. Kennedy. • Learn about what is needed to run a successful election campaign and about the importance of the media and polling in today’s elections. • Running a Presidential Campaign Use your knowledge to run an election campaign for someone running for president of the United States.
Election Campaigns Reading Focus The purpose of election campaigns is to help the public learn about the candidates, so that voters can make an informed decision on election day. Candidates today take advantage of media exposure and polling in order to influence the voters and get elected to public office.
The Presidential Debate The Debate’s Aftermath • First televised debate • Kennedy was tanned and wore stage makeup; Nixon did not • Different opinions between radio listeners and TV viewers about who won the debate • Kennedy won the election by fewer than 120,000 votes • Television’s effects on viewers’ impressions Television and the 1960 Election Nixon, Kennedy, and the Cold War Democrat John F. Kennedy focused on the Cold War to criticize the Republican Richard M. Nixon.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 1. Why do you think Kennedy tried to link Nixon to Eisenhower? 2. Did the debate benefit Kennedy’s campaign strategy? Why or why not? 3. Do you think television has a positive or a negative influence on election campaigns? Explain.
Campaign Staff Campaign Strategy • Campaign Manager • Finance Chair • Pollster • Media Coordinator • Scheduler • Issue Advisers, others • Identify Supporters • Conduct polls to identify where most support is • Target the Message • Use polls and focus groups to learn which issues most important to supporters. • Package the Candidate • Manage media coverage of candidate’s image and message Campaign Planning A campaign informs the public about the candidate and the party’s platform, their stand on important topics.
Identifying Supporting Details How do campaign organizations determine which issues and messages to emphasize? Answer(s):possible answer—They use polls and focus groups to identify people who like their candidate or are undecided, and then tailor their message to address issues that concern those potential voters.
Conducting a Campaign • On the Campaign Trail • Candidates spend most of campaign time on swing states: where support for candidates is about equal, or in states where their support is greatest • Tackling the Issues • Candidates use stump speeches, or standard speeches usually less than 20 minutes long, express candidate’s beliefs On key issues. • Many candidates use slogans • Negative Campaigning • Candidates may use negative campaigning, attacks on opposing candidate’s weaknesses
Conducting a Campaign • Campaigns and the Media • Campaign’s media coordinator uses voters’ ages to determine which type of media to use to reach them. • Broadcast Media • Television, photos, radio • Media often use sound bites of candidates’ speeches • Print Media • Newspapers, magazines, especially ads • Often more detailed than broadcast; editorials influential • The Internet • Blogs, online editions of print media, TV news • Polls and Polling • Polls can show where support is weakest; show which demographic may support the candidate; influence voters
Identifying the Main Idea What are some of the major decisions that candidates and their staffs have to make when deciding what kind of election campaign they want to run? Answer(s):possible answer—which issues to address, where to campaign, which media to use, and which demographic groups to target
SimulationRunning a Presidential Campaign Who will win the presidential election? In order to run smoothly and successfully, election campaigns depend on the hard work and expertise of many different people. Using what you have learned in Section 1, complete the simulation to plan a campaign that will elect the next president of the United States.
Simulation (cont’d.) • Roles • Presidential candidate Charles Smith • Presidential candidate Nancy Carlson • Campaign manager (one for each campaign) • Finance chair (one for each campaign) • Pollster (one for each campaign) • Media coordinator (one for each campaign) • Volunteers (three for each campaign) • Voters of varying demographics
The Situation The Campaign • Future of Social Security most important issue • Smith has supported increasing FICA tax; Carlson has supported reducing Social Security benefits • 100 days remain until election • Each candidate writes stump speech; candidates stage debate • Campaign managers develop campaign slogans • Finance chairs decide how to raise funds, what budgets should be • Pollsters create poll about Social Security issue • Media managers decide where candidates should spend time • Volunteers assist staffers Simulation (cont’d.)
Simulation (cont’d.) DebriefingAfter the votes have been tallied, discuss ways in which the campaigns succeeded and areas where they could have been improved. Then write a report assessing how well these campaigns applied the knowledge of campaigning gained from Section 1.
Section 2 at a Glance • Campaign Funding and Political Action Committees • Controversies over Campaign Funding Learn about two politicians who became involved in campaign-funding controversies. • Learn about the funding that goes into an election campaign and the role that political action committees play in campaign funding. • Deciding to Back a Candidate Use your knowledge to decide if a political action committee should give funds to a candidate’s election campaign.
Campaign Funding and Political Action Committees Reading Focus Money plays a major role in election campaigns. Candidates and their staff must carefully decide where the campaign will get money and how it will use this money.
Controversies over Campaign Funding • James Traficant • A Democratic representative from Ohio in the U.S. Congress, he was very popular in his district. He was first charged with racketeering in 1983, but successfully defended himself and was acquitted of all charges. He was charged in 2002 with corruption, and this time he was convicted. • Tom DeLay • A powerful Republican representative from Texas in the U.S. Congress, he formed several PACs that gave campaign funds to Republican candidates. In 2005, he was indicted for violating campaign finance laws. Campaign-Funding Challenges These cases show the need to regulate campaign financing.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 1. Should Traficant have been expelled from the House? Explain. 2. Was it right for House members to pressure DeLay to resign? Explain your answer. 3. Should concealing the source of any campaign contribution be illegal? Explain.
Where the Money Comes From • Individual Donations: Largest source of funds; individuals contribute directly or by hosting fund-raisers • Contributions by PACs: Second most important source of funds • Political Party Contributions: Limited amounts funded by committees within a political party • Public Funding: Comes from federal government through income tax; only available to presidential candidates Funding Election Campaigns Election campaigns can be very expensive.
Campaign Finance Laws • Early Campaign Finance Reform • 1907: Congress first restricts campaign funds; expanded restrictions in 1940s • 1971: Congress passed FECA, requires candidates, PACs, political parties to report contributions received above certain amount • FECA reports must identify contributors • FECA Amendments • 1974: FEC (Federal Election Commission) created • 1979: allowances made for unlimited spending on party-building activities • Soft Money • No restrictions placed on donations not given directly to candidates • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act • 2002: banned soft money raised for issue ads
Making Generalizations What is the largest source of money for most candidates’ campaigns? Answer(s):individual donations
Interest Groups and Election Campaigns Political Action Committees Many interest groups have a PAC. How PACs FunctionCollects funds; distribute to political parties or candidates Leadership PACsNot official campaign organizations; canraise unlimited funds Influence of PACs Allow interest groups greater voice in government; critics say too powerful Elections and 527 Groups Tax-exempt organizations that have no limit on political donations Controversies over 527 GroupsFirst came to forefront in 2004 election (e.g., MoveOn.org) Impact of 527 GroupsCritics blame for increase in negative campaigning Campaign Reform and the Media BCRA requires ads to identify who is paying for them; supporters hope this reduces negative campaigning
Interest Groups and Election Campaigns • Political Action Committees • Many interest groups have a PAC. • How PACs Function • Collect funds • Distribute to political parties or candidates • Leadership PACs • Not official campaign organizations • Can raise unlimited funds • Influence of PACs • Allow interest groups greater voice in government • Critics say too powerful
Interest Groups and Election Campaigns • Elections and 527 Groups • Tax-exempt organizations that have no limit on political donations • Controversies over 527 Groups • First came to forefront in 2004 election (e.g., MoveOn.org) • Impact of 527 Groups • Critics blame for increase in negative campaigning • Campaign Reform and the Media • BCRA requires ads to identify who is paying for them • Supporters hope this reduces negative campaigning
Identifying Supporting Details Explain why many interest groups have PACs and the roles that these PACs play in election campaigns. Answer(s):possible answer—Interest groups use PACs to donate money to candidates and parties, thereby increasing the interest groups’ influence. PACs contribute money to candidates running for office.
SimulationDeciding to Back a Candidate Who will CleanEarthPAC support for election to the Senate? Before donating money to a candidate’s campaign, a political action committee (PAC) must evaluate whether the candidate supports the goals of the PAC’s interest group. Follow the steps below to simulate the process a PAC uses to decide which candidate to give money to in an election campaign.
Simulation (cont’d.) • Roles • Candidate Laura Fox • Candidate Andrew Flores • Candidate Kenneth Jones • Candidate Shelly Jackson • CleanEarthPAC director • CleanEarthPAC finance chair • ACE executive committee • ACE members
The Situation The Task • CleanEarthPAC must determine which candidate to support • Background: • Laura Fox opposed renewal of Clean Air Act • Andrew Flores, president of Earth Comes First, has never held public office • Each candidate prepares statement • ACE members vote to choose candidate • ACE executive committee chooses candidate to endorse • CleanEarthPAC’s director and finance chair decide how much to contribute to candidates Simulation (cont’d.)
Simulation (cont’d.) DebriefingAfter the CleanEarthPAC director has announced how much the organization will give to each candidate, discuss and evaluate the decision. Think about the factors a PAC needs to consider when making such decisions. Then write a paragraph about the importance of evaluating a candidate before deciding to give money to his or her campaign.
Section 3 at a Glance • Election Day and the Voters • Election 2000 Learn about the events of the presidential election in 2000 and its controversial aftermath. • Learn about the responsibilities of voters, the process of voting, and other events that affect outcomes on election day. • Planning Election Day Strategies Use your knowledge to plan and carry out election day strategies in a local election.
Election Day and the Voters Reading Focus Voting is one of the main responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Being a part of the voting process and taking an active role in electing public officials helps give all Americans a voice in their government.