The Road to the White House Nominations, Campaigns and Elections
Stops Along the Way »1st Stop :Testing the Waters »2nd Stop:Candidate Announcement »3rd Stop: Designing an Electoral Strategy »4th: Primaries and caucuses »5th: Fundraising »6th: Party Nominating Convention »7th: The Fall General campaign »8th: Election Day »9th: The Electoral College »10: The President Elect
1st stop: Testing the Waters »People who are interested in running for president have “an invisible primary” which involves: »consulting with political allies, »Raising money (estimated at 20 million) »hiring pollsters »letting party leaders know that they are thinking of running
2nd stop: Announcement »After announcement candidate gets endorsements from other leaders, raises funds, and develops overall strategy, and tries to get media air time
3rd Stop: Electoral Strategy »The candidate hires consultants and pollsters to develop an electoral strategy. »A campaign organization is built in key states and cities with both paid election advisors and volunteers.
»Typically candidates move right or left during primary season to mobilize party faithful »Candidates often tack back to middle during regular election to gather support of more moderate electorate.
4th stop: The Primaries »First caucus in Iowa and first primary in New Hampshire marks official beginning of campaign 9 months before election! »Super Tuesday in includes many states In some cases, this large set or primaries helps a candidate wrap up the nomination.
»Closed primaries: only registered party members may participate in choosing party nominee »Open primaries: any registered voter may vote for a party nominee »Caucuses: People come to caucus locations to voice their support for a candidate. No secret ballot.
Design a better system »Should we have frontloading of certain primaries, states like Iowa or New Hampshire, or would be better served by a National primary or randomly choosing the voting order of states each election cycle?
Primaries vs. Caucuses? »In primaries people vote for their candidate by secret ballot. In caucuses people attend a meeting of their party and debate the pros and cons of candidates. Which are a better way for candidates to be chosen?
5th stop: Fundraising »Fundraising is key to the success for candidates. Money pays for media spots, direct mailings, polling, and staff salaries. »“Hard money” are funds directly given to elect candidates Citizens are limited to $2100 per candidate in primary and federal general elections, $20,000 to party, and $5000 to a PAC
»“Soft money” is money given to “party building activities.” by corporate and labor groups. »Interest Groups give money through PACs. PACs limited to $5000 max contribution for any given candidate »1971 Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) set limits on amount and type of advertising, disclosure for contributions over $100
»Most provisions of campaign spending limits were overturned by the Supreme Court in the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision. »McCain-Feingold Bill – tried to overhaul soft money, lobbyists, PACs and overall fundraising activities in federal elections
Super Pacs »The Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision resulted in taking off any limits to funding of Super Pacs. Super Pacs may not coordinate with campaigns, but there are no limits to individual contributions.
Campaign Financing? »The recent Supreme Court decision may effect other campaign contributions. Should we put limits on campaign financing, or is this a violation of free speech? »Would we be better served by public financing of campaigns? Why or why not?
Stop 6: The Party Convention »Date back to 1830s »Makes ultimate decision on party’s candidate »Huge media coverage, keynote speeches, platform debates, selection of running mate all key features »Candidate usually already decided well in advance. Vice Presidential running mate usually chosen to “balance the ticket”
Stop 7: The General Campaign »This is the campaign between the nominated Democrat against the nominated Republican candidate. »It runs after the two conventions until the November election. »The campaign organizations and workers to get the vote out- telephone calls, mailings, posters. The whole party organization is mobilized.
Stop 8: Election Day »Most elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. »Most American elections use the Australian ballot which is printed at public expense with all candidate names. It is given out at polls and marked in secret. »Over half of all US voting now includes electronic voting machines.
Stop 9: The Electoral College »The actual election of the president is made in the electoral college in December after the November popular election. »Electors are chosen by each political party. »If a plurality of a state chooses one party then that party’s electors go to the electoral college in December to cast their votes. »There are 538 Electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives.
Stop 10: The President Elect »During the period after the election until the inauguration in January, the candidate is known as the president elect. »During this period the president elect finds people for his cabinet and plans for policy implementation when he or she takes office.