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Nominations and Campaigns

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1 Nominations and Campaigns
Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy Fourteenth Edition Chapter 9 Nominations and Campaigns Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman.

2 I.The Nomination Game A. Nomination B. Campaign Strategy
The official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party Generally, success requires momentum, money, and media attention. B. Campaign Strategy The master game plan candidates lay out to guide their electoral campaign

3 C.Deciding to Run Campaigns are more physically and emotionally taxing than ever. American campaigns are much longer. Barack Obama made clear his intention to run for president in January 2007. Other countries have short campaigns, generally less than two months.

4 D. Competing for Delegates
Nomination game is an elimination contest Goal is to win a majority of delegates’ support at the national party convention, or the supreme power within each of the parties The convention meets every four years to nominate the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Conventions are but a formality today.

5 The Caucus Road Caucus: meetings of state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national convention Organized like a pyramid from local precincts to the state’s convention A handful of states use a caucus—open to all voters who are registered with a party The Iowa caucus is first and most important.

6 The Primary Road Primary: elections in which voters in a state vote for a nominee (or delegates pledged to the nominee) Began at turn of 20th century by progressive reformers McGovern-Fraser Commission led to selection of delegates through primary elections Most delegates are chosen through primaries. Superdelegates: democratic leaders who automatically get a delegate slot Frontloading is the tendency of states to hold primaries early to capitalize on media attention. New Hampshire is first. Generally primaries serve as elimination contests.

7 Evaluating the Primary and Caucus System
Disproportionate attention to early ones Prominent politicians do not run. Money plays too big a role. Participation in primaries and caucuses is low and unrepresentative; 20 percent vote in primaries. The system gives too much power to the media.


9 E. The Convention Send-off
National conventions once provided great drama, but now are a formality, which means less TV time. Significant rallying point for parties Key note speaker on first day of Convention Party platform: statement of a party’s goals and policies for next four years Debated on the second day of the Convention Formal nomination of president and vice-president candidates on third and fourth days Ann Romney 2012 Republican Convention Speech Michelle Obama 2012 Democratic Convention Speech


11 II.The Campaign Game A. The High-Tech Media Campaign
Direct mail used to generate support and money for the candidate Get media attention through ad budget and “free” coverage Emphasis on “marketing” a candidate News stories focus more on the “horse race” than substantive policy issues

12 B. Organizing the Campaign
Get a campaign manager Get a fund-raiser and campaign counsel Hire media and campaign consultants Assemble staff and plan logistics Get research staff, policy advisors, and pollsters Get a good press secretary Establish a website


14 III. Money and Campaigning
A. The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms Federal Election Campaign Act (1974) Created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer campaign finance laws for federal elections Created the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Provided partial public financing for presidential primaries Matching funds: Contributions of up to $250 are matched for candidates who meet conditions, such as limiting spending. Provided full public financing for major party candidates in the general election Required full disclosure and limited contributions

15 Soft Money: political contributions (not subject to contribution limits) earmarked for party-building expenses or generic party advertising The McCain-Feingold Act (2002) banned soft money, increased amount of individual contributions, and limited “issue ads.” 527s: independent groups that seek to influence political process but are not subject to contribution restricts because they do not directly seek election of particular candidates

16 B. The Proliferation of PACs
Political Action Committees (PACs): created by law in 1974 to allow corporations, labor unions and other interest groups to donate money to campaigns; PACs are registered with and monitored by the FEC. As of 2006 there were 4,217 PACs. PACs contributed over $372.1 million to congressional candidates in 2006. PACs donate to candidates who support their issue. PACs do not “buy” candidates, but give to candidates who support them in the first place.


18 C. Are Campaigns Too Expensive?
Fundraising takes a lot of time. Incumbents do worse when they spend more money because they need to spend to defeat quality challengers. The doctrine of sufficiency suggests that candidates need just “enough” money to win, not necessarily “more.”

19 IV.The Impact of Campaigns
A. Campaigns have three effects on voters: Reinforcement, Activation, Conversion B. Several factors weaken campaigns’ impact on voters: Selective perception: pay most attention to things we agree with Party identification still influence voting behavior Incumbents begin with sizeable advantage

20 V.Understanding Nominations and Campaigns
A. Are Nominations and Campaigns Too Democratic? Campaigns are open to almost everyone. Campaigns consume much time and money. Campaigns promote individualism in American politics. B. Do Big Campaigns Lead to an Increased Scope of Government? Candidates make numerous promises, especially to state and local interests. Hard for politicians to promise to cut size of government

21 Summary Campaigns are media-oriented and expensive.
Delegates are selected through caucuses and primaries. Money and contributions from PACs regulated by the FEC are essential to campaigns. Campaigns reinforce perceptions but do not change minds.

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