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Elections and Campaigns Chapter 8. Presidential vs. Congressional Campaigns Presidential races are more competitive than HR races 90%+ incumbents are.

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Presentation on theme: "Elections and Campaigns Chapter 8. Presidential vs. Congressional Campaigns Presidential races are more competitive than HR races 90%+ incumbents are."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elections and Campaigns Chapter 8

2 Presidential vs. Congressional Campaigns Presidential races are more competitive than HR races 90%+ incumbents are reelected In non-presidential elections only about 36% of the voting population turns out Members of Congress do way more than Presidents, take credit, close contact with constituents (letters, and visits) Presidents do not have a lot of personal contact with voters, and must rely on media to communicate

3 PAC money to incumbents PAC money to challengers

4 Running for President First task – have name announced by the Great Mentioner (be famous-tell people-legislation-governor) Money – 4-6 years fundraise, $1,000 per person $5,000 per action group Organization – fundraiser, lawyer, accountants, press secretary, travel, ad, mail, polls, volunteers, endorsements, advisers, etc… Strategery – tone, theme, timing, target

5 Primary Versus General Campaigns Two crucial phases – Nomination, Election America: you decide to run, you fundraise, you get petitions signed, you appeal to voters, etc… Europe: organization decides to run, party fundraises etc… Primaries / Caucus – again, not representative of the overall make up of the country, more ideological

6 Two kinds of Campaign Issues Position Issue – Rival opponents have opposing views on a question that also divides voters Ex. Slavery, tariffs, civil rights, privatization of social security, abortion, gun control Valence Issues – Important issues that everyone wants. How much does candidate support issue? Ex. Employment, anti-crime, economy, health care, education

7 Valence IssuePositional Issue

8 Television, Debate, and Direct Mail Old school – parades, rallies, whistle stop tours New way – TV interviews (spots and visuals) and commercials, Timing of these is important, Debates – Free very informative, ALL or NOTHING Internet is a growing way to raise money and get the message out BLOGS webpages etc…

9 ReaganReagan: Reagan would not exploit Mondales youth Reagan turns the age issue back on Mondale Bentsen:Bentsen: Bentsen tells Quayle hes "no Jack Kennedy" A comparison nipped in the bud Stockdale:Stockdale: "Who am I, Why am I here? Stockdales opening statement that reveals his displacement StockdaleStockdale: "Hearing aid was not turned on" Stockdale shows a bit of senility

10 Money Money can play a vital role in campaigning, but it alone may not always help a candidate win. Presidential candidates can get part of their money from private donors and part from the federal govt, while Congressional candidates must get all their money from private sources. The federal govt will provide matching funds that will give as much money to the candidate has he/she has raised through individual donors whove given $250 or less, each. The govt also gives a lump-sum grant to each PARTY to help pay for costs. Congressional candidates get money from many individual donors, and some use special fundraisers, like rock band concerts or benefit performances, to raise money quickly. Incumbents spend very little of their own money in elections, usually getting it from PACs and private donors, while their challengers usually spend a lot of their own money. In 1974, after the Nixon Watergate Scandal, Congress passed a new federal campaign finance reform law, creating a six-person Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce a tougher, new set of laws.

11 Money Today, any individual contribution of $100 or more must be reported to the FEC. Corporations and labor unions cannot make contributions, but they can for PACs to do so. There is a $50,000 limit on how much candidates can spend if they accept govt funds. There are now laws against independent political advertising (NOT asked to advertise by a candidate or a political party); these are usually ideological groups attacking a certain person. There are loopholes through these laws, though: If a party spends money on local party activities, it can get that as much of that money anywhere it likes; such funds are called soft money. Small contributions from PACs or individuals can be bundled together at one time to increase the impact of the donation.


13 Money Because PACs can contribute to campaigns, they have increased enormously. Election reform has shifted power away from political parties and toward the individual. The reforms give wealthy people the edge (as long as they dont take matching funds, they can spend however much they want). These reforms have given ideological candidates, who can use direct-mail to appeal to the emotions of people, more power and more advantage. Reforms hurt those who start campaigning late because they have less time to raise all that money need. Reforms hurt those who start campaigning late because they have less time to raise all that money need. Finally, the reforms help incumbents and hurt challengers, since incumbents can raise money from PACs and solo donors more easily than challengers can.

14 Money In presidential races, money is not a big factor, since both candidates usually have the same amount. in Congressional races, the challenger who spends more money usually does better than the one who spends less, and the incumbent who spends more can be more successful as well! Incumbents can send mail to constituents for free, raise money easily, and provide services for their constituents; challengers cannot. Thus, an overwhelming majority of incumbents win elections. Some people want to undo some of the 1974 reform laws, but this would be difficult and perhaps useless: the incumbents (the advantaged ones) make the laws, not the challengers, and limiting PAC contribution, shortening campaigning time, or providing free TV time for speeches could make little difference or even worsen matters.

15 What Decides the Election? Party plays a strong part in determining whom people vote for, as some vote for candidates of their own party without completely knowing what the candidates stances are. On the other hand, some people who identify with a certain party do not vote that way. Issues can also play a part in determining who voters vote for: they are more likely to vote for a candidate who will make the voters life easier and better, even if the voter doesnt know the issues affecting him/her that well. A citizen does not have to be informed on all the issues, only those that affect him/her. Prospective Voting requires a lot of information about issues and candidates because people examine the views of candidates and then vote for the one they think will hand the issues best in the future. Retrospective Voting involves looking back at how people have dealt with situations and then voting for a candidate, hoping that he/she will handle future issues similarly.

16 Retrospective voters win elections: in 1980, voters chose Ronald Reagan because Carters era had been highlighted by lots of inflation, and many wanted an alternative to CarterReagan just happened to be that alternative. Some feel that retrospective voting is based on the economy (good economy, incumbents stay), while others believe that it is more complicated, but both have come up with ways to forecast presidential elections and predict the winners (Congressional races are a LOT tougher).

17 What Decides the Election? Since 1860, only one election1934has gone by without the party holding presidential office losing Congressional seats. Those incumbents who lose seats lose because of retrospective voting. Campaigns can make the difference in elections by reawakening partisan loyalties of voters, giving voters a chance to see how candidates handle pressure and giving candidates a chance to apply pressure (negative advertising), and letting voters judge the character and core values of candidates. People want to know how candidates will really act, not just what their position papers say. Thus, there is a tendency to focus on the themes and not on the details so that as many people as possible can be satisfied.



20 What Decides the Election? Themes have changed from slavery in the 19th century to temperance and women suffrage at the turn of the century to abortion and moral topics in the 1970s and 80s. Today, the emphasis is on picking the right leader, not just one who will win, and the advent of primaries has helped to further this new cause. In putting together a winning coalition, one must retain those committed partisans and attract those who can swing either waythe undecided voters.

21 In examining the nature of parties voting coalitions, one can see what percentage of certain groups supported the Democrat or the Republican, or one can see how much of a partys vote came from this or that group.

22 What Decides the Election? African Americans are most solidly Democratic, while Jews used to but are now Republican (except in Brighton NY); Hispanic voters usually vote for Democrats, but there are divisions within Hispanics (Cubans, Mexicans, etc…). Democrats have lost their hold on Catholics, Southerners, and union members, while Republicans still have strong loyalty from businessmen and professional people. Farmers have voted for the group that would/could make farm prices most favorable to them. Interestingly, African Americans, who are the most dependable Democrats, make up very little of the votes, while those that make up much more can be swayed much more easily.

23 Race of Respondent '48 '5 2 '5 4 '5 6 '5 8 '6 0 '6 2 '6 4 '6 6 '6 8 '7 0 '7 2 '7 4 '7 6 '7 8 '8 0 '8 2 '8 4 '8 6 '8 8 '9 0 '9 2 '9 4 '9 6 '9 8 '0 0 '0 2 White : Black : Asian : Native American: Hispanic : Racial voting statistics

24 Election Outcomes Voters and candidates may only be concerned with who wins, but political scientists analyze the trends of elections and what they imply about the candidates, the system, and the fate of political parties. The Democrats and Republicans were very close in races from , and then the Republicans became dominant, continuing to even today, except for the FDR years. Scholars have developed the theory of critical or realignment periods, when support for one party becomes very strong and lasts for long periods of time, due to change in issues and voters. Five realignments seem to have occurred so far –1800 (Jefferson takes over) –1828 (Jacksonian Democrats rise), –1860 (rise of Republicans and collapse of the Whigs) –1896 (Republican dominance) and –1932 (Democrats came to office under Franklin D. Roosevelt).

25 Election Outcomes Realignment can occur when –a party is so badly defeated that they disappear (Federalists in 1800 and Whigs in 1860) –when one party just loses a lot of support (1860, 1896, 1932). In 1860, the Republicans came to power after having been formed four years earlier to combat slavery, and afterwards, they and the Democrats became stiffly opposite, with middle parties eliminated. In 1896, economics (depressions) gave Republicans the edge, with farmers supporting Democrats. The split was now between east and west, not north and south like after the Civil War. In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, the New Deal coalition was formed, headed by Franklin Roosevelt, uniting various Democratic factions and old supporters. Basically, realignment occurs when an issue of great importance causes to voters to shift their support from one party to another, because they think that will be for the best.

26 American politics, like matter itself, is always in motion. The Democrats controlled the country via the New Deal Coalition, but they couldn't keep it together. Starting in the 1940s, they moved to the left ideologically, especially on cultural issues, most notably civil rights. And in so doing, the heart and soul of the party moved north geographically In the meantime, the Democratic New Deal Coalition was running out of steam. By 1972, the backlash against crime, the Great Society, and the general "radical click" of the Democrats made Richard Nixon's re-election campaign against challenger George McGovern one of the great routes of all time Blue = Democrats -- Franklin D. Roosevelt Red = Republicans --Alf Landon 1972 Red = Republican -- Richard Nixon Blue = Democrat -- George McGovern

27 When North and South are divided, it's going to be a close election. McKinley was comfortably re-elected in 1900, boosted in part by the Spanish-American War, which rose up unexpectedly in the middle of his first term, sort of like But interestingly, even though the South is traditionally the most hawkish, pro-military part of the country, Dixie still clung to the Democrats in those days; even Teddy Roosevelt, the hero of San Juan Hill, couldn't carry a single state in Dixie. TR ran on national tickets four times from , and yet the "Solid South" stood solid against him Red = Republican -- William McKinley Blue = Democrats -- William Jennings Bryan 2001 Red = Republican -- George W. Bush Blue = Democrat -- Al Gore


29 Election Outcomes Some have said that the election of 1980 was a realignment, but the Democrats still controlled Congress; however, the South has become more Republican lately, so that might be true. Yet, another realignment may NEVER occur again, just because party labels have lost their meaning to voters, and theres more likely to be dealignment, not realignment! People voting a split ticket (Congressmen = same party as president) as opposed to a straight ticket have increased in recent years. In the 19th century, ticket splitting was unheard of because people basically voted for parties, not candidates, and since today, people vote more for the candidates than the party, its risen. Around the turn of the century, Progressives began urging states to adopt the office-bloc ballot or the party-column ballot where candidates were organized by the office they were running for, not by the party they were in, making it much harder to vote straight.

30 The Effects of Elections on Policy Public policy may or may not remain the same regardless of the party of the office holder because while there are only two parties, each one is made up of a wide range of DIVERSE groups with many different interests and policies that they want to make used. In a parliamentary system with strong parties, an election w/ a change in parties can lead to a strong change in public policy, but in the U.S., thats not always the case. A position issue has people take one side or the other in a debate. A valence issue has people debate on HOW an issue is to be resolved. In fact, in America, strong shifts in public policies have usually paralleled realignments.

31 The Effects of Elections on Policy One exception is 1964, when mass election of Democrats gave rise to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, federal aid to education and local law enforcement, two dozen environmental and consumer-protection laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and other massive, sweeping changes. In 1980, the voters brought in a much more conservative Congress, led by Reagan, who made cuts on many excess programs and tried to reduced spending. Elections CAN be important, as many promises actually ARE put into place. When there have been big differences in policy, most action seems to have been done (in law-making, etc…). People think elections dont do much probably because public opinion and political parties enter a phase of consolidation and continuity between periods of rapid change.


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