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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 a President


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Electing a President

    2. 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)

    3. Step 1:Volunteer Support and Fundraising • Two years before general election (Autumn 2006) • War chest, name recognition, viability?

    4. 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)

    5. 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

    6. 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

    7. Step 2:Hire Campaign Advisors • Campaign manager • Media consultant / press spokesperson • Pollsters

    8. 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

    9. 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”

    10. 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

    11. 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.

    12. 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

    13. 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

    14. Step 5:General Election Campaign • Polling • Getting out the message: • Broadcast media • Other advertising • Debates • First televised??

    15. 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

    16. The Electoral College Process

    17. 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

    18. 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

    19. 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

    20. 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)

    21. 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

    22. Arguments in Favor of Electoral College • Candidates have to have broad geographic support • May reduce cost of election • May reduce corruption

    23. 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

    24. Candidate Competition:How Voters Decide • Partisan Loyalty • Issues • Government performance • Prospective / retrospective voting • Candidate Characteristics • Appearance • Insider / outsider • Character (integrity, honor, faith, etc.)

    25. Importance of Context • Economy • Threats to safety, at home and abroad

    26. 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