POLS 1101 Chapter 10 Reading Summary
POLS 1101 Chapter 10 Reading Summary POLS 1101 08
Popular in American Government
Popular in Political Science & Int'l Aff. Department
This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by nako.nako.nako on Sunday September 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1101 08 at Kennesaw State University taught by April A Johnson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science & Int'l Aff. Department at Kennesaw State University.
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Date Created: 09/04/16
Presidential Elections Electoral College The presidential electors, selected to represent the votes of their respective states, who meet every four years to cast the electoral votes for president and vice president. Total=538 District of Columbia=3 Senate=100 House of Representation=435 ; majority needed to elect the president: 270 1. Citizens go to the polls and vote on the Tuesday after the 1 Monday in November. 2. Votes are counted by the states. 3. In each state, the candidate receiving the most votes is the winner. 4. Each state appoints the winner’s electors to the Electoral College. 5. The electors meet in their respective state capitals and vote for the winner on the Monday after the 2 Wednesday in December. 6. Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes and announce the next president. There was little support among the Framers for letting the people choose the president directly. “a trial of colors to a blind man.” In most of states, people choose the electors; in some states, members of state legislators choose electors. many states allow electors to vote their conscience; they are not bound by the results of the election in their state. However, electors who deviate from the candidate to whom they are pledged are rare. Except Nebraska and Maine, all states use winnertakeall system where if a candidate wins by a just a one vote, the candidate gets all of the state’s electoral votes. If no one wins a majority of electoral votes, the election is thrown into the House of Representatives. At this point, each state delegation gets a single vote, and the candidate who wins a majority of the states becomes the next president. Problems with the Electoral College The Twelfth Amendment, adopted in 1804, fixed problem by combining the vote for president and vice president into one ballot, with the person running for each office named. Ex) TJ v Burr vs Adams. No outright majority states were free to set their own rules for selecting elector and didn’t have an agreedupon time for elections. popular vote Tally of total votes from individual citizens, as opposed to the electoral vote. Electoral College Reform Individual who received fewer popular vote can be the president. the Electoral College system encourages candidates to secure support in all corners of the country, not just in areas with dense populations. Doing away with the Electoral College through a constitutional amendment would be difficult because it is unlikely that threequarters of the states, needed to ratify an amendment, would support such a reform. The 2000 Presidential Election Albert Gore Jr. vs GW Bush. In the popular votes, Gore got nearly 600,000 more votes than Bush (0.5% difference) The number of electoral votes did not identify a winner on election night because the state of Florida was too close to call Neither had the necessary 270 votes. Bush led in Florida by 537 votes out of 5.8 million votes cast—a 0.0001 percent difference. Demands for a recount ensued, and the Florida recount revealed how difficult it is to produce an accurate vote count. Congressional Elections The Framers intended that the Senate would bring state interests to bear on the legislative process, while they intended that the House would represent the people. Senate Elections - Progressive reformers called for elimination of this gate, arguing that the people ought to have a direct say in the election of senators. This reform became a reality with the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913. House Elections and Redistricting - House members have always been elected directly by the people. - Redistricting Process whereby state legislatures redraw the boundaries of congressional districts in the state to make them equal in population size. - the majority party in the state legislature tries to construct each district in such a way as to make it easier for its candidates to win congressional seats. - some states sought to dilute the effect of minority voters by drawing district lines so as to split their voting strength and VRA forbade this practice and state legislatures created majorityminority - gerrymandering Redistricting that blatantly benefits one political party over the other or concentrates (or dilutes) the voting impact of racial and ethnic groups. - Thornburg v. Gingles unanimously struck down a North Carolina redistricting plan that had a discriminatory effect - LULAC v. Perry upheld a partisan gerrymander by the Texas legislature but struck down one of the districts where a Latino majority had been diluted by moving a bloc of Latinos into a different district. Other Elections Referenda/initiatives we have primary elections where parties ask the public to vote for the nominee for the general election 3 reasons of heavy reliance on ballot First, the public views elections as legitimate devices for making political choices. Second, the Constitution was vague about rules surrounding the choice of presidents and members of Congress, allowing states to make greater use of elections, and many have done so. Third, the federal system created layers of government and multiple political offices to fill them, most of which are elected. Evolution of the Modern Campaign G. Washington worried that a chief executive could morph into a monarch, so he deliberately avoided doing anything to advance his candidacy. Candidates allowed their political parties to campaign on their behalf but avoided looking too ambitious. In 1896, William McKinley (1897–1901) stayed home in Canton, Ohio, speaking to wellwishers from his front porch. By the early twentieth century, presidential contenders began to campaign actively, too, and campaigning started earlier and earlier. permanent campaign Charge that presidents and members of Congress focus more on winning the next election than on governing. The Decision to Run and the Invisible Primary invisible primary Period just before the primaries begin during which candidates attempt to capture party support and media coverage. To gain momentum, Candidates who can get attention from the news media can raise more money and secure more endorsements from party leaders. Incumbent presidents usually win their party’s nomination for a second term. As in the previous four decades, this phase of the campaign tends to favor party insiders—candidates with deep ties to major party leaders who are not challenging the existing party leadership. The Caucuses and Primaries About 70 percent of the states use some form of primary election in which citizens go to the polling booths and vote for their favorite party candidates. 30 percent use caucuses (similar to town meeting). For example, in Iowa caucus, each party requires people to attend a meeting of about two hours in which they indicate their preferences and then try to convince those who are undecided to join a particular candidate’s group. Caucuses and primaries take place over 6 months from January through June of election year. The first states to hold these events wield tremendous influencestin most electionstears, the early primaries quickly build momentum for a frontrunner and yield a likely nominee. (1 caucusIowa, 1 primaryNew Hampshire) The National Convention After the primary season, each party meets in a national convention. Before the 1960s, conventions were often exciting because it was far from clear who would be the nominee. To avoid projecting an image that would cost votes in the upcoming election, party leaders instituted rule changes designed to increase the odds that the likely nominee would be known well in advance of the convention. Today party conventions usually last for four days and provide a chance for activists and party leaders to get together to discuss strategy and policy behind the scenes. The highlight of these four days is the acceptance speech, in which the party’s nominee has a chance to speak directly to the nation, laying out a vision for the country. The Presidential Debates The presidential debates are managed by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates, which was established in 1987. The commission chooses the locations and sets the rules. incumbent candidates were reluctant to participate in televised debates, fearing that they might have more to lose than to win. Ex) The first presidential debate was between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, and many felt that Kennedy’s performance was critical to his narrow win. Ex) President Gerald R. Ford (1974–77), behind in the polls, viewed the debates as a chance to narrow Jimmy Carter’s lead. Ex) In 1992, President George H. W. Bush (1989–93) was caught looking at his watch during one of the debates, giving the impression that he was bored. Ex) In 2012, Mitt Romney turned in a very good performance against President Obama in their first debate in Denver. Obama seemed disengaged. Fundraising and Money In 1971, Congress tried to put candidates on an equal financial footing and make them less beholden to special interests by passing the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). This law transformed the way campaigns are conducted and monitored, as it requires candidates and political parties to disclose their campaign financial records. In 1974, Congress amended the law to set strict limits on how much money could be contributed by individuals and parties to campaigns, and created the Federal Election Commission as an independent agency to monitor campaign finance McCutcheon, et al. v. FEC, individuals have no limit on the number of campaigns to which they may contribute. Rules for the public financing of presidential nomination - candidates must raise at least $5,000 in twenty states from donations that are less than $500 each. - Then they must get at least 10 percent of the vote in two consecutive primaries or they lose eligibility; to reestablish it, they must get 20 percent of the vote in a subsequent primary. These standards are hard to meet when the field of candidates is crowded, and they discourage thirdparty candidates from running. Even if candidates remain eligible, matching funds pose constraints in addition to the cap, as a candidate can spend only a certain amount of money per state. Some contributors have amplified their impact by bundling—that is, by amassing individual contributions. formed political action committees (PACs) with the express purpose of donating money to candidates who agree with their political agenda, although these amounts are also limited—in some cases $5,000 per candidate Since 2000, presidential candidates have started to forego matching funds in their quest for the nomination. One reason is to be able to spend money in states important to the contest without regard to FEC limits. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) increased campaign fundraising amounts and spending, as it undid many of the restrictions formerly placed on corporations and unions. Super PACs Independent groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, labor unions, and corporations and can spend it to support or oppose political candidates but cannot coordinate directly with candidates or political parties. Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with the candidates they support, but often those who run a Super PAC are friends and former aides to the candidates, making the distinction questionable. Finally, the rise of Internet fundraising has made it worthwhile for candidates to pursue small contributions The real problem with Super PACs and the issue ads they sponsor is that voters do not always know where the money is coming from. Swing States swing voters Voters who are neither reliably Republican nor reliably Democratic and who are pursued by each party during an election, as they can determine which candidate wins. swing states States that are not clearly proRepublican or proDemocrat and therefore are of vital interest to presidential candidates, as they can determine election outcomes. battleground state State in which the outcome of the presidential election is uncertain and in which both candidates invest much time and money, especially if its votes are vital for a victory in the Electoral College. Because of the Electoral College’s winnertakeall system, presidential candidates invest time and effort only in states that they can win. the strategy of pursuing votes in swing states yields an important inequality, for citizens in nonswing states do not get such attention, and interest in the campaign lags, especially among the poor. Microtargeting Microtargeting Gathering detailed information on cross sections of the electorate to track potential supporters and tailor political messages for them; also called narrowcasting. Ex) Bill Clinton’s reelection campaign sought to reach socalled soccer moms—“busy suburban women devoted to their jobs and kids, who had real concerns about real presidential politics.” Ex) John Kennedy used an early form of this strategy in the 1960 election when his campaign targeted messages to African American voters. 2016 campaign, Latino voters remain important “targets,” as are single women and Millennials. microtargeting has begun to replace traditional polling techniques and precinctbyprecinct getoutthevote drives Each party builds its own database that it can share with candidates: The Democratic National Committee’s data base is called VoteBuilder, and the Republican National Committee’s is called GOP Data Center. Campaign Issues valence issues Noncontroversial or widely supported campaign issues that are unlikely to differentiate the candidates. a vague claim to a goal, such as “a strong economy,” “improved education,” or “greater national security.” position issues Political issues that offer specific policy choices and often differentiate candidates’ views and plans of action. Barack Obama’s support for increasing taxes on the wealthy and Mitt Romney’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The economy, as a campaign issue, strongly favored Barack Obama over John McCain, since the economic turmoil of 2008 happened on President Bush’s watch. wedge issue Divisive issue focused on a particular group of the electorate that candidates use to gain more support by taking votes away from their opponents Wedges usually involve controversial policy concerns,such as affirmative action, that divide people rather than build consensus. Ex) contraception, equal pay Negativity Negativity Campaign strategy of telling voters why they should not vote for the opponent and of highlighting information that raises doubts about the opponent. Ex) “Daisy spot” by LBJ. The implication was that if Goldwater were elected president, he would start a nuclear war. Ex) In 1948, President Harry S. Truman (1945–53)equated the Republicans with the Nazi leadership in Germany during World War II. EX) In 1800, the Federalist Party claimed that Thomas Jefferson was the Antichrist. Polls and Prediction Model 1. The economy. What is the condition of the economy? A strong economy leads voters to support the incumbent party. A struggling economy gives an edge to the challenger. 2. Presidential popularity. How popular is the sitting president? An unpopular president will hurt the chances for his party’s candidate. 3. The incumbent party’s time in office. How long has the incumbent party controlled the presidency? The American public has shown a consistent preference for change. A party that has been in power for a long time usually has made enough mistakes to lead citizens to vote for the other side. retrospective voting Theory that voting is driven by a citizen’s assessment of an officeholder’s performance since the last election. The Decision to Run and the Primaries People who choose to run for Congress are usually visible residents of their district or state. Often they already hold local or statelevel elected offices. Although candidates do not have to declare their intention to run for Congress until about a year before the election, both incumbents—those already holding the office—and challengers generally begin campaigning nearly two years before election day. For House members, that means the campaign never stops—permanent campaign. midterm elections Congressional elections held between the presidential elections. Party primaries nearly always determine which candidate will gain the party endorsement for a House or Senate seat. A handful of states, such as Colorado, Connecticut, New Mexico, New York, and Utah, hold preprimary conventions to determine who can compete in the primary. The Fall Campaign The two winning candidates often revise their campaign messages to attract more moderate voters. Anthony Downs explained this shift in message with the median voter theorem, which argues that candidates in their quest for votes should adopt moderate positions on issues. House of Representatives elections typically focus more on local issues intrinsic to the district and less on national programs and issues. Senate elections pay more attention to national issues because the Senate is viewed as more nationally focused. Because it is so difficult to establish a personal relationship with constituents in large districts and states, congressional campaigns in these areas are typically less about the personal characteristics of the candidates and more about issues and party policies. Fundraising and Money Every campaign needs an office, staff members, computers, posters and pamphlets, a website, and money for television and radio ads. Senate campaigns generally cost more than House campaigns because they seek to reach voters across an entire state rather than just a district. Federal campaign finance laws are limited that an individual could contribute up to $2,500 to a candidate for the primary election in 2012, and the same amount for the general election for as many campaigns as she or he wishes. PACs are limited to donating $5,000 for a primary election, and $5,000 for a general election, to a single candidate. The Role of Political Parties Parties are forbidden by campaign finance laws from actively coordinating a specific individual’s congressional or senatorial campaign but local parties can engage in general activities, such as voter registration drives, partisan rallies, and getoutthevote efforts on election day that help partyendorsed candidates at every level. Incumbency Advantage Incumbents almost always win, and in the past two decades, more than 70 percent of House incumbents won by 60 percent or more of the vote vanishing marginal Trend marking the decline of competitive congressional elections. safe seat Seat in Congress considered to be reliably held by one party or the other. term limits Rule restricting the number of terms an elected official can serve in a given office. additional media attention these races receive A seat in the Senate is a more coveted position than a seat in the House. It generally attract higherquality challengers. the difference in terms—six years as opposed to two—may indicate that House members stay in closer touch with constituents than do senators, and their constituents reelect them. incumbency advantage appears to be increasing because districts are becoming “deep red” (Republican) and “deep blue” (Democratic) due to people’s decisions about where to live. Relative Lack of Interest voting is driven largely by two major forces: partisanship and incumbency. presidential coattails Effect of a popular president or presidential candidate on congressional elections, boosting votes for members of his party. given the fact that the president’s party has just come off a victory in the previous election, winning seats that might often go to the other party, the normal occurrence is that the president’s party loses seats in the midterm election. The president’s party has gained seats only three times in the past twenty midterm elections (1938–2014). strategic politician hypothesis Effect that the strength of the economy and the popularity of the sitting president have on the decision to run for Congress. Ex) In December 2001, with President George W. Bush’s skyhigh popularity, conditions looked good for Republicans in the 2002 midterm elections, and many highquality Republican candidates decided to run.
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