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American National Government 2305, 4/5 & 4/7

by: Obs

American National Government 2305, 4/5 & 4/7 Govt 2305

Marketplace > University of Texas at Dallas > Political Science > Govt 2305 > American National Government 2305 4 5 4 7
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These are the first notes after our 2nd exam. If you didn't go to class and need the notes this is the perfect material to look at!! Definitely will give you an idea of what will be on the LAST test.
American National Government
Class Notes
GOVT 2305, american politics, American National Government




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Obs on Thursday April 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Govt 2305 at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Bearry in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 98 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at University of Texas at Dallas.


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Date Created: 04/07/16
4/5/2016 Suffrage  Suffrage: right to vote  Universal Suffrage for white men was not fully achieved until the 1840s.  1920: 19 Amendment removes voting restrictions based on gender o Does little to alter the voting patterns, women were expected to vote for “family values”  1965: Voting Rights Act o Enforcement mechanism for racial equality at the polls o Literacy test, poll taxes eliminated  1971: 26 Amendment sets minimum voting age to 18. But who actually Votes?  Paradox: the right to vote is worth dying for but millions of people don’t vote o Not really- elections are collective benefits, so people have incentive to free ride  Individually votes are worth nothing o Collective Action problem  Only in total are votes decisive Voter Turnout  Universal suffrage gives leaders a reason to care about people’s interest, opinion, and values o We want our leaders to care about what we care about  But while it makes sense to demand the vote, it also makes sense not to use the right o A single vote is not likely to make a difference  Voting is rational for the personal satisfaction of expressing oneself through the voting o Satisfaction gain outweighs opportunity cost of voting  Congress is ran by a third of the populations vote, because about 36.4% of people vote in the midterms elections  We think the president makes most of the decisions (more than half of the population votes in presidential elections) but congress makes the decisions also  The older you get the more likely you are to vote  Hispanics are the lowest voting percentage (27%) Black people (40.6%) and White people (45.8%)  Low income vote less and higher income people vote more often than any other socioeconomic group.  We noted a few weeks ago that Congress is overly represented by old, wealthy, white males  Is this because old, wealthy, white people vote more often than any other group? o In terms of gender, men and women are equally likely to turn out and vote. o Why the under representation of women  Back in the day, women were raised In an patriarchy setting and the role of women have changed over a period of time.  There has been a steady increase in female governors Factors Affecting Turnout  Age and education have the strongest influence on voting.  African- Americans and Hispanics are less likely to vote (taking other factors in accounts), as are people who live in southern states or those that border southern states  People with deeper roots in their community vote more often as do those with internal and external efficacy  Turnout is higher among people with stronger partisan views and electoral preference o The more left or right you are, the more likely you are to vote  If one lives in an area with more active parties and more competitive elections, there is also an increased probability of voting o Single vote doesn’t matter, but the more competitive and the more close the win is, the more your vote matters  The cynical and distrusting are likely to vote as anyone else o Conspiracy  Turnout is higher in areas where there are few barriers to registration o Opportunity Cost Voter roll off  Voters may only be interested in voting for major offices  Candidates down ballot receive fewer votes o This makes races tighter, each vote worth more  But why is this so? o The concept of federalism intends for elected officials closer to their constituents o What is the logic of voting more for those farther removed Voter ID laws  Institutional contexts (variation in registration laws, for example) affect turnout as well. How do voters decide?  Past Performance o Incumbency is a huge advantage in elections o However, some voters gauge performance on the pasty as a while  Voters unhappy with president and the Iraq war voted against congressional Republican in 2006.  Voters unhappy with President Obama and the economy voted against congressional democrats in 2010 and 2014.  Single issue voting: voters only care about a specific policy (abortion gun control, etc.) and vote based on a candidate’s stance on the issue.  Demographics o Age, race, sex, place of residence  Voters feel like candidates are more likely to think and act as they would if their demographics are the same  Personal Characteristics o Experience, honesty, knowledge, leadership  Five voters clues about where or not they can accomplish the job and will do the right things.  Party Identification o A large majority of voters take their cues from party- the party base o Weak democrat/republican and learning democrat/republican still vote heavily partisan  Less than 10% are pure independents (swing voters)  Party defection to opposite candidate hovers roughly around 10%  Independents and party defectors prevent party identification from determining outcomes. 4.7.2015 Campaign Organization  1 requirement- a candidate o Members of congress often run unopposed (the incumbency advantage) o When a challenger does exist they are often inexperienced o Who does not run can also influence who does  2ndrequirement- a message o Why should I vote for you?  Number one thing campaign’s focus on  Political prostitution o Shaped by ideology, value, and perceptions  Politics is also a big factor o Often use surveys, polls, and focus groups to tailor the message Campaign Operations  Initially, parties organized and operated campaigns o Patronage based system  Patronage- you have done stuff for me and I will reward you by running for office  After WWII, television becomes more important and party’s role declines  By 1960s campaigns are largely operated by the individual and their organization o Party have lost their foot-hole of being the bosses (still sorta in charge) o Party bosses have some say, and gets to make the rules for their party.  Being able to set the rules, still allows you to have agenda setting in the party. Negative Campaigning  Pointed personal criticism of another candidate. “mud-slinging”  May or may not be factually accurate  Used to exploit voters’ uncertainty  “People say they hate negative campaigning. But it works. They hate it and they remember it at the same time.” –democratic consultant Campaign Finance  3 requirement- $$$$$$$$$$$$$ o Well qualified with a strong message is worthless without money  Taxpayers partially finance presidential campaigns, but most of the money spent on congressional elections comes from private sources  Privately financed elections inevitably raise two related problems for American democracy: o Democracy demands political equality. But money is distributed very unequal, thus its rule in electoral politics threatens democratic equality o Privately financed elections raise the suspicion that elected officials will serve as the agents of their contributors rather than their constituents.  How much does a campaign cost? o Close to a billion dollars spent between Obama and McCain in 2008 elections o Spend more money on negative attack ads than positive ad Where does this money come from?  Before 1970s campaign money was effectively unregulated: o Congress had passed some limits on contributions and spending  As campaigns became more candidate-centered and broadcast campaigning became the standard, costs increased the demand for money, but many began to fear that winner would favor contributors over constituents o Congress responded to this situation with the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, amended in 1974  Parallel Systems o Hard Money  Money going directly to candidates is subject to limits on the size of contributions and full disclosures of sources  Presidential candidates who accept public funds also must observe spending limits o Soft Money  Money raised and spent outside of the parties’ and candidate’s campaigns under the guise of soft money or issue advocacy  Is lightly regulated  Not subject to limits  Ex. PACs  Can’t say do not vote for him and vote for me. Must relate to the issues. Campaign finance regulation  This law provided partial public funding for presidential campaigns and required full public reporting of, and strict limits on, all contributions and expenditures in deferral elections” o Established the federal election commissions to enforce the law and to collect and public detailed information on campaign contribution and expenditures  In Buckley v. Valeo (1976) the Supreme Court upheld the reporting requirements and contribution limits to prevent corruption or the appearance of overturned ceilings on how much of their own money candidates can spend on their campaigns.  Concerned that spending limits were choking off traditional local part activity in federal elections, Congress liberalized FECA in 1979. o This amendment of the act allowed unrestricted contributions and spending for state and local party- building and get –out- the vote activities (aka soft money). o 1966 Court decision gave party organizations the right to unfettered independent spending as well.  In March of 202 Congress passed Bipartisan Campaign Finance reform act prohibiting parties from raising and spending soft money for federal candidates. Outcome of BRCA  Huge increase in hard money raised by parties  Former soft money donors rerouted money into so called 537 committees and 501© committees o “Charitable” groups under the tax code who can finance campaigns if they maintain the fiction that they are merely informing voters, not advocating the election or defeat of particular candidates)  BCRA’s attempt to limit independent campaigning by such groups was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2007. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission  In 2010 the court overturned precedent to invalidate any restriction on independent campaign spending by any organizations, including corporations and labor unions, based on First Amendment rights o Corporations count as “people” for the purpose of political contributions o Previously (Buckley v. Valeo) money declared equal speech o Therefore corporate political contributions are protected 1t Amendment free speech rights. Are Super PACs Good or Bad??  Depends what you do with it. Impact of Super PACS  In 2013, 60% of all Super PAC donations came from only 132 people o Approx. 0.0000004% of the population  Is America a plutocracy then o As of December 03, 2015, 1360 Super PACS have reported total receipts of 696,011,919 and total independent expenditures of 345, 117, 042 in the 2014 cycle o But we established that a presidential campaign costs roughly $500,000,000 for each side  Then are the Supper PACS really buying elections? Super PAC rules  Super PACs are no anonymous donors! o Must disclose name or entity, date and amount of donations  Cannot donate directly to candidates o Special rules governing interaction with candidates  Can spend unlimited funds o This may make more elections competitive, but a lot of Super PAC money foes to the losing side.


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