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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS Nomination Process and General Election.

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Presentation on theme: "PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS Nomination Process and General Election."— Presentation transcript:

1 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS Nomination Process and General Election

2 NOMINATION PROCESS The (Traditional) Caucus/Convention Method 1830s-1910s Initiated during Jacksonian Era Multiple layers of caucuses electing delegates Culminating in national convention, which selects nominee Delegates formally uncommitted, many actually controlled by party bosses Convention would actually decide nominee; sometimes multiple ballots Old-style presidential campaigns

3 NOMINATION PROCESS The “Mixed” Method 1910s-1968 How Progressives’ “Ideal” Primary would work Methods by party bosses to subvert primary a.) “beauty contest” primary b.) “blind” primary c.) “favorite son” and “stalking horse” candidates

4 NOMINATION PROCESS The “Mixed” Method cont’d Percentage of national convention delegates selected thru primaries 1912 Dem 32.9, Rep Dem 53.5, Rep Dem 35.5, Rep Dem 36.3, Rep Dem 38.3, Rep Dem 40.2, Rep Dem 65.3, Rep Dem 66.9, Rep 83.9

5 NOMINATION PROCESS the big reforms 1968: LBJ withdraws, RFK and Eugene McCarthy win primaries, HHH wins nomination, protests : McGovern-Fraser Commission recommends democratized caucuses: open, public, timely, w/clear rules, affirmative action, encouraging delegates to state candidate preferences Unintended result: many states switched to primary for presidential elections What if states didn’t comply? – Cousins v. Wigoda, 1975

6 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present) 1972: McGovern victory followed by catastrophic general election loss 1976: Unknown Carter parlays early “victory” in Iowa to nomination, using “Big Mo” EARLY CRITIQUES OF NEW SYSTEM a.) excluded party bosses b.) voters too extreme and/or not sufficiently informed (“momentum” too important) c.) too long and divisive d.) Iowa and NH too important e.) too many, or too few, candidates (depending on who you ask) ---the issue of proportionality

7 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present) IMPACT OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMS 1.) Federal matching funds in primaries (how to qualify), coupled with overall and state- by-state spending limits 2.) Big Federal subsidies for convention and general election campaign, coupled with spending limits Do proportionality and $$ encourage “nuisance” candidates to stay in the race? Candidates (Bush, Kerry) increasingly “opting out” of some or all Fed. funding

8 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present) COUNTER-REFORMS OF THE 1980s (Democrats) a.) “superdelegates”---to bring Dem. Officeholders back b.) “Super Tuesday”-----to shorten the process and incr. Southern importance c.) Democrats back and forth on proportionality: GOP tends to reward primary winners more

9 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present) MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS More and more frontloading % of delegates selected by the 7 th week of the primary/caucus season 1972 D 17%, R 17% 1980 D 43%, R 37% 1992 D 43%, R 46% 1996 D 74%, R 77% 2000 D 65%, R 68%

10 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present Front-loading continued Dates on which winning candidates clinched nominations 1972 Democrat July 11 th (during convention) 1976 Democrat June 24 th, Republican August 16 th (during convention) 1980 Democrat June 3 rd, Republican May 24 th 1984 Democrat June 6 th 1988 Democrat June 7 th, Republican April 26 th 1992 Democrat June 2 nd, Republican May 5 th 1996 Republican March 26 th 2000 Democrat and Republican, March Democrat March Democrat June 3, Republican March 5th

11 NOMINATION PROCESS: THE ERA OF ENDLESS REFORM (1972-present) Possible Effects of Frontloading 1.) Quality and quantity of voter information bad 2.) Candidates forced to drop out before becoming known 3.) “Invisible primary” and media interpretation more important 4.) Multiple races on each day means “tarmac” campaigning 5.) Locking in early front runner 6.) Long interregnum period --bad news for candidates dependent on Federal funds

12 PROPOSED REFORMS TO NOMINATION PROCESS COMPREHENSIVE 1.) National primary 2.) Regional primary 3.) Delaware plan (small states first) 4.) Reversing order of convention, primaries

13 GENERAL ELECTION: Criticisms of Electoral College 1.) The “faithless elector” problem 2.) The “wrong winner” problem--- Happened only in 1824, 1888, and 2000 (1876 was a different story) 3.) Distorts candidate decisions of where and how to campaign Following 18 states got no visits from pres. Candidates in 2000: WY, AK, VT, ND, SD, MT, RI, ID, HI, NE, UT, KS, MS, OK, CT, CO, SC, VA Following 10 states got double-digit visits from pres. Candidates: IA, TN, WI, MO, MI, OH, IL, PA, FL, CA NY only got 7, GA only 6, TX only 3

14 GENERAL ELECTION: C Criticisms of EC continued 4.) The turnout problem (may affect other races?) 5.) The discouraging third party problem (related to the negative campaigning problem and the narrow ideology problem)

15 ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Alternatives? 1.) Eliminate winner take all ---congressional district plan ---proportional plan 2.) Direct election ---how to determine winner? ---plurality? Runoff? Instant runoff?

16 TRANSITIONS Arguments for and against bringing campaign veterans into governing team FOR: passion, loyalty, intimate knowledge of new pres., sense of public mandate AGAINST: combat mentality, arrogance, distance from DC, lack of technical expertise

17 TRANSITIONS What will need to be done first 1.) Appointments to WHO, EOP, and Cabinet 2.) Get them confirmed 3.) Own budget for new FY 4.) Joint session speech/proposals 5.) National security handoff

18 TRANSITIONS Collective wisdom from transition veterans: 1.) Fill WH staff first, even though media likes Cabinet better 2.) Don’t commit to staff cuts 3.) Even though anything can happen, set 1 st year priorities and focus appts. Accordingly 4.) The dangers of “friendly” transitions 5.) Listen to the outgoing folks, even though you think they hate you and they’re stupid!


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