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Electing a President. Electing the President. Primaries and Caucuses (January through June) National Conventions Dems: Aug. 25-28, Denver Reps: Sept. 1-4, St. Paul General Election (1 st Tuesday in November) Electoral College Vote (Monday following 2 nd Wednesday in December)

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electing the president
Electing the President
  • Primaries and Caucuses (January through June)
  • National Conventions
    • Dems: Aug. 25-28, Denver
    • Reps: Sept. 1-4, St. Paul
  • General Election (1st Tuesday in November)
  • Electoral College Vote (Monday following 2nd Wednesday in December)
  • President of Senate Unseals and Reads (January 6)
  • Inauguration (January 20)
step 1 volunteer support and fundraising
Step 1:Volunteer Support and Fundraising
  • Two years before general election (Autumn 2006)
  • War chest, name recognition, viability?
campaign finance where do candidates get money
Campaign Finance:Where Do Candidates Get Money?
  • Presidential candidates: Public Funding!
  • Personal finances (think Perot)
    • Buckley v. Valeo – protected by First Amendment
  • Individual donors
  • Political Action Committees (PACs)
other sources of money
Other Sources of Money
  • “Soft Money”
    • Under Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain/Feingold), most is banned to national parties
    • But still state and local parties use soft money
  • 527s
distinguishing between a pac and a 527
Distinguishing Between a PAC and a 527
  • PACs raise money to give to parties and individual candidates
    • Can be operated by any sort of group
    • Must donate to at least 5 different federal candidates
    • Limits on amount of donations
  • 527s run their own ads
    • No limit on spending
    • Must not coordinate w/ parties or candidates
step 2 hire campaign advisors
Step 2:Hire Campaign Advisors
  • Campaign manager
  • Media consultant / press spokesperson
  • Pollsters
step 3 prepare for primary or primaries
Step 3:Prepare for Primary (or Primaries)
  • Keep raising money
  • Continue polling
    • Select issues
    • Identify opponent’s weaknesses
    • Test media ads (focus groups)
  • Handle scandals
  • Travel
    • Key primary/caucus states
primary campaigns the delicate balance
Primary Campaigns:The Delicate Balance
  • Campaigning against people “on your team”
    • If you win – may want support
    • If they win – you may want a JOB
  • Two types of primaries:
    • “personality clash”
    • “ideological struggle”
primaries and caucuses
Primaries and Caucuses
  • Open and Closed Primaries
  • Caucuses (at least 11 states)
  • Both selecting party delegates to the national party convention
  • Texas primaries technically closed, but you declare partisanship by voting, so you can switch right up to time you participate
primaries and caucuses 2008
Primaries and Caucuses 2008
  • Dates
    • Iowa, Nev, S.C., N.H. and Fla. – Jan.
    • Super Tuesday – Feb. 5 – 19 states
    • Texas: Mar. 4
    • Last, June 3 – Montana, S.D.
presidential public funding primary season
Presidential Public Funding:Primary Season
  • Eligibility requirements
    • Must raise at least $5000 in each of 20 states
    • Contributions that “count” must be less than $250
    • Eligibility disappears if you bomb (<10%) in two consecutive primaries
  • Presidential Election Campaign Fund matches all donations of under $250
  • The catch: total spending limit during the primary season (in 2000, $40.5 million)
    • 2004, both Kerry and Bush turned down public funding for primary season
step 4 win the primary convention
Step 4:Win the Primary / Convention
  • Usually know the outcome before the convention actually takes place
    • State delegates bound by primary/caucus results
    • Superdelegates usually commit in advance
  • Now your strategy shifts and you can focus on your actual opponent
  • Re: Money . . . The rules change at this point
step 5 general election campaign
Step 5:General Election Campaign
  • Polling
  • Getting out the message:
    • Broadcast media
    • Other advertising
  • Debates
    • First televised??
presidential public funding general election
Presidential Public Funding:General Election
  • Democratic and Republican nominees have two choices for funding the general election
    • Take the public funding and don’t spend any other money
    • No public funding . . . And no limits! (Perot in 1992)
  • Third party candidates
    • If you received 5% or more of the vote in the previous election, you’re eligible
    • If you receive 5% or more of the vote in *this* election, you can get the money after the fact (John Anderson in 1980)
    • Amount depends on success in election
electoral college composition
Electoral College Composition
  • # of electors from state = # of House reps + # of Senators (always 2)
  • District of Columbia gets 3 electors
  • Each party submits slate of electors for state, so you are really voting for that slate of electors
  • Winner takes all electors in every state except Nebraska and Maine
    • NE and ME: two “at large” electors, remainder selected by Congressional district
example texas
Example: Texas
  • Texas has 32 reps in the House
  • So 32 + 2 = 34 electors
  • Second only to CA, NY has 31
  • Electors chosen by the parties at their state conventions
  • Vote: 34% Bush, 33% Kerry, 33% Nader . . .
  • All 34 electors for Bush
special requirements
Special Requirements
  • Electors cast vote for President and separate vote for VP
    • Electors cannot vote for BOTH a President and a VP from their home state
    • Must have a majority to win (not just a plurality)
    • No majority for President: House of Reps chooses among top 3 vote-getters
    • No majority for VP: Senate chooses among top 2 vote-getters
doing the math
Doing the Math . . .
  • 435 House Members + 100 Senators + 3 D.C. Electors = 538 Electors Total
  • 50% = 269 Electoral Votes
  • 50% + 1 = 270 Electoral Votes (needed to win)
arguments against the electoral college
Arguments Against the Electoral College
  • Voters in territories (Guam, Am Samoa, VI, etc.) disenfranchised
  • Can win the electoral college w/out winning popular vote (as in 2000)
  • Loss of confidence in system
  • “Faithless Electors”
  • Small states (population-wise) have an advantage:
    • Wyoming: 3 EC votes, 1 per 165,000 citizens
    • California: 55 EC votes, 1 per 617,000 citizens
arguments in favor of electoral college
Arguments in Favor of Electoral College
  • Candidates have to have broad geographic support
  • May reduce cost of election
  • May reduce corruption
arguments against the electoral college23
Arguments Against the Electoral College
  • Voters in territories (Guam, Am Samoa, VI, etc.) disenfranchised
  • Can win the electoral college w/out winning popular vote (as in 2000)
  • Loss of confidence in system
  • “Faithless Electors”
  • Small states (population-wise) have an advantage:
    • Wyoming: 3 EC votes, 1 per 165,000 citizens
    • California: 55 EC votes, 1 per 617,000 citizens
candidate competition how voters decide
Candidate Competition:How Voters Decide
  • Partisan Loyalty
  • Issues
  • Government performance
    • Prospective / retrospective voting
  • Candidate Characteristics
    • Appearance
    • Insider / outsider
    • Character (integrity, honor, faith, etc.)
importance of context
Importance of Context
  • Economy
  • Threats to safety, at home and abroad
what does it mean
What Does It Mean . . .
  • People vote by
    • Party
    • Performance of government (blamed on incumbent)
    • Broad issues, specifically “party image” issues
  • People don’t vote by
    • Candidate characteristics
    • Issue specifics
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