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Political Participation and Elections. Voting in America Suffrage – Suffrage or “franchise” is the right to vote.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Participation and Elections. Voting in America Suffrage – Suffrage or “franchise” is the right to vote."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Participation and Elections

2 Voting in America Suffrage – Suffrage or “franchise” is the right to vote

3 Voting in America White Males – Colonies and States Universal White Male Suffrage Property or Tax Requirement – Universal White Male Suffrage by Civil War in national elections – State and Local Governments retained property requirement

4 Voting in America African American Males – 15 th Amendment The right of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude – Southern States Poll Tax Literacy Test Grandfather Clause White Primaries – Resistance Voter Registration Voting Rights March

5 Voting in America Voting Rights – White Primaries declared unconstitutional between 1923 and 1944 (Smith v. Allright) Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Literacy at 6 th Grade Voting Rights Act of 1965 – US Attorney General granted authority to stop discriminatory voting practices Gerrymandering against racial groups Gerrymandering for racial groups – Banned discriminatory voting practices 24 th Amendment – Abolished poll tax national elections US Supreme Court Abolished poll tax in state elections – Harper v. Va. Board of Elections – Texas v. US

6 Voting in America Women – 19 th Amendment (1920) The right of citizens of the US shall not be denied or abridged by the US or any State on account of sex Year Olds – 26 th Amendment (1971) The right of US citizens, who are 18 years or older to vote shall not be denied by the US or any State on account of age

7 Voter Turnout Presidential Election – 50 to 60% Congressional/Mid-Term – 30 to 40% State and Local – 20 to 30% Runoffs and Special – Less than 10% European Elections – 80 to 90 %

8 Voter Turnout Why Higher in Europe? – Party Strength – Mandatory Voting Laws – National Holiday – Shorter Campaigns – Fewer Elections – Proportional More Parties Win Election Matters

9 Voter Turnout Factors for Low Turnout – Rational Voter Model Cost outweigh Benefit Psychological Benefits outweighs some Costs – Ethic of Voting – Patriotism – Sense of Duty – Democratic – Voter Registration 30 Days Prior to Election – Prevent Voter Fraud Depresses turnout for low income, low education and minorities Simplify Registration – Motor Voter – Postcard – Jury Duty – Lack of Competition – Political Alienation – Lack of Interest

10 Voter Turnout Who Votes? – High Education – High Income – White Collar/Professional – Older Americans – Race controlled for education is not a factor – Gender is no longer a factor

11 Elections and Democracy Purpose of Elections – Opportunity for Opposition – Orderly Transfer of Power – Reinforce Legitimacy – Facilitate Popular Influence – Promote Leadership Accountability Mandate Election – A perception of overwhelming support from the people for the candidates policies and programs – When is there a Mandate? Clear Policy Alternatives Voters Cast Ballots Based on Differences Election Results Provide Clear Winner Elected Officials Bound by Promises

12 Elections and Democracy Does Obama Have a Mandate? – Candidates ran centrist campaign so no real policy differences Both promised tax cuts Both proposed health care plan – Voters cast ballot for other “feel good” reasons Hope and Change – Close Popular Vote 53% for Obama to 46% for McCain – Obama Not Bound by Campaign Promises nor Does He Have Power to Enact Unilaterally Congress is the legislative body Pelosi and Reid control House and Senate Does Congress Have a Mandate? – Candidates run local races and rarely appeal to the platform

13 Election Process in the US Nomination Process – Primary Closed-Declare Party Open-Vote in Either Primary Runoff-If no 51% winner – General Election Presidential – Every four years Congressional or Mid-Term – Every two years with Mid-Term or Off-Year between Presidential Elections – President’s party generally loses seats – Recall Election Election to Remove Elected Officials California recall of Davis and election of Schwarzenegger – Criteria for Winning Absolute Majority-50% plus 1 – Used in Primary Plurality-One More vote – Used in General Election Proportional—seats based on vote %

14 Election Process in the US Congressional and Legislative Districts – Apportionment following decennial census – State Legislatures draw boundaries Partisan gerrymandering – Republicans control Texas Legislature and redrew the boundaries post One Person One Vote – Racial Gerrymandering declared unconstitutional Ballot – Neutral Ballot Allows Split or Straight Ticket Coattail Effect – Voting Method Varies by State Paper (Mail in Oregon) Lever Punch Card (Butterfly Ballot) Electronic Optical Scan

15 The Electoral College 538 Electoral Votes – Each state delegation equal to House and Senate members – DC has three electors Electors chosen by state party activists from party activists Voters cast ballot for electors “pledged” to vote for candidate – Not Bound to Vote as Pledged – Occasionally defect within Party Winner Take All – Except for Maine and Nebraska 270 Electoral Votes to Win House Decides if No Winner – One State One Vote – 1800 with Jefferson and Burr – 1824 with JQ Adams and Jackson Electoral Winner/Popular Loser – 1876 Hayes – 1888 Harrison – 2000 Bush

16 Political Candidates Who Becomes a Candidate? – Power and Ambition – Constitutional Requirements President – 35 years of age – 14 year resident – Natural Born US Citizen Senate – State Resident – 30 years of age – Citizen for 9 years House – State Resident – 25 years of age – Citizen for 7 years – Personal Characteristics Historical Characteristics – White Anglo-Saxon – Protestant – Attorneys/Business – Incumbents

17 Incumbents How Successful? – House incumbents reelected % – Senate incumbents reelected % Congressional Approval Rate % Reasons for Success – Home Style Politics – Media Attention – Franking – Casework – Pork Barrel Projects/ Earmarks – Public Relations – Campaign Finances Out raise challengers PACS favor incumbents

18 Campaign Strategies Modern Campaigns dominated by – Political Consultants Obama: Axelrod and Plouffe – Public Opinion/Polling – Media Negative Ads – Swift Boat Values – Family Values Issues – Health Care – Economy – Tax Relief Avoid the Flip Flop Sound Bites and Photo Ops – Letterman and Leno – Clinton on MTV Debate Performance

19 Money in Elections Campaign Financing – Over 50% for Media – Polling, Staffing, Travel – Fundraising Mass Mail (RNC, DNC) Parties less important as Candidates are increasingly self-funded Federal Elections Commission – Create in 1974 – Enforces Campaign Contribution Limits – Requires Disclosure of Spending Palin Shopping Spree – Individual Limits $2100 per candidate – PAC Limits $5000 per candidate – Presidential Matching Funds Funded by $3 Tax Form Checkoff Must agree to limits – McCain accepted matching funds – Obama opted out in 2008

20 Money in Elections

21 Sources of Funds – Campaign Committee Individual Donations Loans to Campaign – Party DNC or RNC Congressional Committees – 527 Groups MoveOn Swift Boat Vets – PACs Labor Unions and Environmental Groups Donate to Democrats Business and Trade Groups donate to incumbents Why Donate? – Access to Policymakers – Assistance or Influence Campaign Finance Reform – McCain Feingold

22 The Presidential Campaign Identifying the Candidates – Media Identifies frontrunners as with Clinton in 2008 and Palin in 2012 – Financing Must have funds to run viable campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire – Support of Party Activists Clinton in 2008 Palin in 2012 – Grassroots Mobilization Dean in 2004 Obama in 2008

23 The Presidential Campaign Early Stops – Stops in Iowa and New Hampshire – Key Party Functions GOPAC Caucuses and Primaries – Winning is Everything Republican Winner Take All Democrats Proportional – Reason for long 2008 Primary Campaign – Must win Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary Winner is designated front-runner or presumptive nominee Fourth Place or Worse means loss of campaign contributions Media also diminishes campaign – Super Tuesday – Generally over by April 2008 was an anomaly

24 Iowa Caucus

25 New Hampshire Primary

26 The Convention “Nominate” Candidate – Delegate count known from primary contest – Announcement now a show of party unity Hillary Clinton throws support to Obama Romney, Huckabee, Thomspon support McCain Draft Party Platform Adopt Party Rules VP Pick Announced Theatrics and Image – Obama Stadium Speech Post-Convention Bounce – 5-10% swing in polls – McCain gained huge swing with Palin VP pick and led in polls

27 The General Election – Electoral Map Red States Blue States Purple States (Battleground or Swing States)

28 Explaining Voting Choice Party ID Key Indicator Orientation – Retrospective Evaluate Past Performance – Prospective Evaluate Future Promises Race – Whites Split – Hispanics Lean Democrat Republicans use values as wedge – African Americans vote Democrat since %


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