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Primaries and caucuses. Definition A primary is an election to choose a party’s candidate for elective office (Presidency) A Caucus is a meeting to choose.

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Presentation on theme: "Primaries and caucuses. Definition A primary is an election to choose a party’s candidate for elective office (Presidency) A Caucus is a meeting to choose."— Presentation transcript:

1 Primaries and caucuses

2 Definition A primary is an election to choose a party’s candidate for elective office (Presidency) A Caucus is a meeting to choose a party’s candidate for elective office. These tend to be held in geographically large States with small populations.

3 Caucuses therefore tend to favour the more ideological candidates as those turning out tend to be more ideologically driven. So in 2008 Ron Paul who is a libertarian Republican got his best results in caucus states. In 2012 Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucus.

4 Timing of primaries  The national parties usually lay down the earliest and latest possible dates but within that period the state decides the date Some states try to schedule their primaries on a date when no other primaries are being held to get their state prominence Other states create a regional primary A Tuesday in Feb when a number of states arrange their primaries together has come to be known as SUPER TUESDAY In 2008 Super Tuesday was in early Feb and was the biggest ever with 22 Democrat and 21 Republican contests being held. In 2012 Super Tuesday was not so super with only 10 States holding primaries

5 How Primaries and Caucuses work? To win nomination a candidate must achieve their parties quota of delegates e.g R 1144/2186 and D 2117/4233. Each State party is awarded a number of delegates roughly in proportion to the population. Some states get award super delegates. Some states award delegates on a winner takes all basis others on a proportional basis. Super delegates can vote any way they want whereas delegates must follow the wishes of the state.

6 How Primaries and Caucuses work? If a candidate withdraws the delegates pledged to vote for them are then free to vote for another candidate. If a candidate gains the quota before all the primaries are finished he has effectively won the nomination as the delegates are pledged. This comes about because of Frontloading.

7 Frontloading This is the process by which state parties move their primaries earlier in the primary race in order to boost the importance of their state. This often results in a chaotic and hectic first half of the primary race as well as a frontrunner emerging as often a majority of the delegates have been settled by this time. e.g. in 2008 by end of February 70% of delegates had been decided. In 2012 Romney secures 1144 with Texas win on 29 May. It can also lead to the wrong person being chosen as candidate

8 Advantages of front loading Party settles its nomination early thus avoiding a protracted and expensive battle lasting for months Reduces the amount of ‘fratricidal strife’ – more time for the party to heal itself.

9 Disadvantages of front loading Unfairly favours well-known, well-organised and well-financed candidates and makes it much more difficult for so-called insurgent candidacies to be successful e.g. Jimmy Carter in 1976 Democratic race Because the nomination is decided so early, there is little opportunity for any reassessment of a candidate’s potential weaknesses. Can lead to ‘buyer’s remorse’. Has also lead to a chaotic timetable which makes it difficult for candidates to campaign

10 Types of Primary Two types of primary Open and Closed All voters register but some states require you to state an affiliation to a party.

11 In Closed primaries only those registered voters affiliated to a particular party can vote in that Party’s primary. In Open primaries voters can vote in either party’s primary but not both.

12 Iowa and New Hampshire By tradition they always hold the first primaries. These contests often shape the character of later contests. A serious candidate always looks to win in one of these states However, Bill Clinton failed to win either one Also, Howard Dean did badly here, (hence the scream) even though he had won the invisible primary Kerry had put all his time and money into winning Iowa (which was first) which he did and this seemed to be a winning strategy as he then built up momentum and then won New Hampshire This seems to show these contests are more important than the invisible primary?

13 The Importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008 for the Republicans Iowa result saw Mike Huckabee 34%, Mitt Romney 25%, John McCain and John Thompson 13% 3 months previously Huckabee was polling just 8% Huckabee went on to win primaries in 4 states and caucuses in 3.

14 The Importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008 for the Republicans New Hampshire saw Guiliani the front runner lose to McCain but Guiliani had decided to sit out the first 3 weeks of contest – a strategy that was to prove costly!

15 The Importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008 for the Democrats Iowa delivered a huge blow to Clinton as she came in third (29%) behind Edwards (30%) and Obama (38%). A huge blow for the Clinton camp and one that set the scene for one of the most startling upsets in presidential nominating history.

16 The Importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008 for the Democrats New Hampshire seemed to steady the ship for Clinton as she won it but only by 3% points which was not as big a gap as her team would have liked.

17 Iowa and New Hampshire: Victory in New Hampshire and Iowa bring three big bonuses Equally defeat can bring three big negatives Media coverage Money Boost in opinion poll

18 Iowa and New Hampshire: Following Iowa victory Obama enjoyed pages of favourable press in Time and Newsweek Following New Hampshire McCain made it on to the front cover of Time

19 Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012 Santorum just won Iowa which showed the importance of ideology in Caucus. It also signalled that he might be a Conservative threat to Romney as he took his campaign national. He went on to win 6 states and lost narrowly in a number of states.

20 Romney won New Hamphsire and seemed to establish him as the frontrunner Romney wins 6/10 States on Super Tuesday He gains nomination on 29 May

21 Importance of Primaries and are they effective? Divide into 3 groups with the following numbers Group 1 – 3 members (L) Group 2 – 7members (Rest) Group 3 – 3 members (Xt) Using the pages and the handouts each group is going to create a media presentation.

22 Importance of Primaries and are they effective? Group 1 will cover ‘The importance of primaries and the strengths of the current system’. You are to create an infomercial on this topic to educate the American electorate

23 Importance of Primaries and are they effective? Group 2 will cover the ‘Criticisms of the current system’. You are to create a ‘breakfast style news report’ one reporter and 6 members of the public asked what they they see the problems of the primary system are!

24 Importance of Primaries and are they effective? Group 3 will cover ‘the possible reforms and whether primaries are important at all’. You are to to a Newsnight style interview.

25 The 2008 Republican primary There were 8 candidates but only 4 were realistic ie McCain, Thompson, Romney and Guiliani McCain was the front-runner at the start of Any ideas why? Romney was the CEO of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and was also Governor of Massachusetts, a Republican governor of a Democrat state. But he is a Mormon and also seen as quite liberal

26 The 2008 Republican primary Guiliani was ‘America’s mayor’ after 09/11 However, he was also seen as too liberal for some Republicans and had a colourful private life Fred Thompson was in Law and Order but he dithered too much and then dropped out

27 The 2008 Republican primary Guiliani took a risk that did not pay off – he decided to sit out the first 6 contests as he felt he would be too liberal to play well with Republican voters He had failed to build up momentum or get media attention and thus bombed in Florida Romney thus put all his money into winning Iowa in the hope of building up momentum, however, Huckabee won Huckabee was seen as more ‘normal’ than the slick Romney

28 Continued New Hampshire helped McCain, he had done what Bill Clinton had in 1992 when he labelled himself the ‘comeback kid’. He had been behind in the money primary but then started to build momentum McCain had beaten Romney in every demographic except the over 65s In the following contests it was his support amongst ‘independents’ which helped him

29 Crowning of McCain Super Tuesday sealed McCain’s fate as the Republican nominee He won 6 of the 7 ‘winner-takes-all’ contests including California. Huckabee had played a key role as he had taken votes away from Romney having support from evangelicals and the South

30 Why did McCain win? Mainly because his opposition imploded e.g. Guiliani’s disastrous strategy Romney being liberal but pandering to the conservative right of the Republican party Thompson dithered Huckabee only really appealed to southerners and evangelicals McCain had remained true to himself even on unpopular issues e.g. immigration, Iraq and campaign finance reform

31 The 2008 Democratic primary There were 3 front-runners - Clinton, Obama and John Edwards Clinton was the clear front-runner, 2 months before Iowa she was 28% ahead of Obama However, she came 3 rd in the Iowa caucuses She never really recovered from this Charlie Cook ‘National Journal’ – ‘The Democratic nomination fight may not be over but the landscape has completely changed’

32 2008 Democratic primary contest The poll after the Iowa caucuses put Obama and Clinton at 33% each Hillary tried to show her more human side as she was now fighting for her political life 05Fk 05Fk She won New Hampshire but only by 8000 votes. More women had voted for her and the younger voters

33 2008 Democratic primary contest Between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday Clinton won Nevada and Obama won South Carolina Most women voted for Clinton and the over 65s but every other social group voted for Obama in South Carolina Obama got the endorsement of Ted Kennedy Bill had campaigned in South Carolina and he seemed to be losing his cool Ted Kennedy said that the contest had ‘fundamentally altered the dynamics of the Democrat presidential contest’

34 Super Tuesday The result was a draw, with Obama just ahead on points Obama won 13 to Clinton’s 9 but Clinton’s tally included large-population states of California and New York Obama won 847 delegates to Clinton’s 834 Clinton had not expected the primary contests to last and thus had no plan to move forward Obama now had the big mo

35 The end of Clinton Hillary’s contest ended in February Obama won 9 contests in 11 days and pulled ahead in terms of delegate numbers Clinton sacked her campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle By mid-February Obama was ahead in the polls and was now winning votes amongst women, low income earners and conservatives away from Clinton Symbolically, the Obama team started his speech before she had even finished hers Clinton hoped to win Texas to show she could still win big

36 Hillary’s last hurrah Clinton team were running out of the big mo and money and everyone was waiting for to bow out However, she had a better March and April – winning Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island Clinton focussed on Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience Her ’sniper fire’ quote was found to be misleading However, Obama had his own bad press due to his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his controversial comments Clinton clung on until June when Obama finally received the 2,118 delegate votes he needed

37 Why did Clinton lose? The 2008 Democratic nomination race was supposed to be a coronation for Clinton not a competition She had been planning her victory for more than a decade But this was part of her problem, the air of inevitability, this counted against her with voters

38 Poor organisation, personnel and management Based organisation similar to Bill’s campaign in 92 Chief personnel were Patti Solis Doyle and Mark Penn who were friends and not necessarily the best people for the job There seemed to be no clear plan Some of her team were fighting with each other

39 Losing the money primary ‘Mrs Clinton built the best fund-raising machine of the 20 th century but Mr Obama trumped her by building the best fund-raising machine of the 21 st century’ The Economist Clinton campaign was raising money the old way – thru fat cats and ‘whales’ i.e. big donors who only donate once Obama was raising money thru the internet getting $50 or $100 but many times

40 Change, not experience Voters according to polls wanted change but Clinton had based her campaign on ‘experience’ and tried to attack Obama for lack of it

41 The Iowa defeat Clinton finished third in Iowa and from then on was always on the defensive She needed to have a big win in New Hampshire to pull things back but altho she did win it was only by 3 percentage points

42 No plan past Super Tuesday ‘It’ll be over by 5 February’ Clinton had claimed just days before the Iowa caucuses She thus had no plan to move forward and was running out of money

43 Bill Clinton The campaign started to be about Bill and his erratic behaviour He was supposed to be an asset but had turned from ‘statesman into attack dog’ Newsweek The issue became if she can’t control her husband, who the hell is going to run this White House – a Clinton insider pw pw

44 Primary calendar and party rules ‘It was the primary calendar that killed Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign’ New York Observer If the Democrats had allowed winner- takes-all primaries If Florida and Michigan had been a bit later etc


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