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AP Gov - Ch. 9 Nominations and Campaigns

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Patrick Keating

on 20 October 2015

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Transcript of AP Gov - Ch. 9 Nominations and Campaigns

Chapter 9
Nominations and Campaigns

Think of a campaign...
Think of a particular candidate and their campaign
What were the different components?
How was this candidate successful?
If they were not elected, how was it a failure?
Lets take a look at Barack Obama (2008)
Election: November 2008
Announced candidacy in June 2007
July 2008: traveled to Middle East for tour and discussions
Followed by tour in Europe
Major positions: out of Iraq, universal health care, increasing energy independence, decreasing influence of lobbyists
An innovative media campaign - use of social media
Use of logo - branding Obama
Email and other advertising
Campaign fundraising - some of the highest numbers in history
The role of youth
David Plouffe
Nomination -- party's endorsement of a candidate for office
Requires -- money, media attention, momentum
The Nomination Game
Goal of the nomination game...
win the majority of delegates' support at the national party convention
Competing for delegates
This is a strenuous process --
Delegate season lasts from January/February to June of election year
The individual state parties choose their delegates to the national convention through caucuses or primaries
Think of what's going on now - constant campaigning and competition
Party Caucuses - "The Caucus Road"
A meeting of state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national convention
Open to all voters registered registered with a party
Organized in pyramid like structure (neighborhood to state caucus)
Earliest caucus/attention getter -- Iowa
Begins in New Hampshire
2012 winner - Mitt Romney
Delegates won, but more about media and momentum
Presidential Primaries
McGovern-Fraser Commission - had a mandate to make Democratic Party conventions more representative
No longer could party leaders handpick the delegates in secret; required to be open
Established affirmative action guidelines
Party leaders had no more clout that college students or anyone else who wanted to participate
Unintended effect -- more primaries; transformed Republican process as well
Presidential Primary Problems
In the past - delegates were experienced politicians
Today, they are individuals who have worked on candidate's campaign and owe their position as a delegate strictly to that candidate's ability to pull in primary votes
Emergence of super-delegates
15% of all delegates
Democrats concerned about lack of party leaders at conventions
National party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the DNC
Why - restore element of "peer review" -- ensured participation of people most familiar with the candidate
The recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calender in order to capitalize on media attention
What does this look like?
New Hampshire
Super Tuesday
71% of delegates chosen within six weeks of NH
Disproportionate attention
Attention all goes to early caucuses
Media dominated campaigns early on determine elections
Criticisms of Primaries
Full Time Job
Hard to balance serving as public official and run for president
Running for president is a lot of work
Think about Obama, Palin, McCain - all elected officials
Too much of it in the process
For the most part, low voter turnout
Not representative of the voting population
20% in primaries
Too much power given to the media
Proponents of Primary System
Brings candidates into contact with their constituents
Campaigning allows candidates to meet the voters
Gives states that never get a lot of attention some time in the spotlight
Defenders of the Current System
Some propose a national primary....
National Primary
Would bring directness and simplicity to the process both for candidates and voters
Length and cost of campaign would be reduced
Concentration of media coverage of this event would increase interest and understanding
Would require a runoff election between two top vote getters
Big money and intense attention would be more crucial than ever
The Convention Send Off
Drama now gone - winners predetermined
Regional Primary
Groups of states would vote one week, then another the following week
Major problem -- advantage by those who vote first
Purpose of conventions today...
Significant rally point for parties
Developing the party's positions
Promoting political representation
II. The Campaign Game
Direct mail --
involves sending information and a request for money to names obtained from lists of people who have supported candidates of similar views in the past
Campaigning and Technology
Three 'ingredients' needed to project the right image to voters:
High tech media campaign
Money ($$$$$$$)
Candidates must succeed in a number of ways...
Get a campaign manager
Get a fund raiser
Get a campaign counsel
Hire media and campaign consultants
Assemble a campaign staff
Plan the logistics
Get a research staff and policy advisers
Hire a pollster
Get a good press secretary
Establish a web site
*** Now - Twitter, Facebook,etc.
Cash Flow and Campaigns
Campaigns are expensive...
Federal Election Campaign Act (1974) goals:
Tightening reporting requirements for contributions
Limiting overall expenditures
Included the following provisions:
Need money to build a campaign organization and get the message out
There is a common perception that money buys votes and influence
Is this true?
FEC created to administer campaign finance laws and enforce compliance with their requirements
provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections by establishing the Presidential Election Campaign Fund -- federal tax returns
Limits were established for presidential campaign spending
Matching funds
Full public financing -- denied by Obama '08 (85 million)
All candidates must file periodic financial disclosure reports with the FEC, listing who contributed funds and how the money was spent
It limited contribution, with individual contributions restricted to $1,000; the McCain-Feingold Act raised this limit to $2,000 as of 2004
Campaign spending reforms have made campaigns more open and honest
Small donors are encouraged, and the rich are restricted in terms of money they can DIRECTLY give to a candidate
All contribution and expenditure records are open, and FEC auditors try to make sure that the regulations are enforced
Impact of the Act
1979 Amendment to FECA made it easier for political parties to raise money and distribute material at grassroots level --- money used for these purposes is called soft money (loophole with few limitations)
Soft money -- political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grassroots level or for generic party advertising
Not subject to contribution limits
Limiting the impact of money is a difficult task -- loopholes are hard to close
527 groups (named after federal tax code section) are now the loophole of choice
Independent groups that seek to influence the political process but are not subject to contribution restrictions; do not endorse a particular candidate
PAC (Political Action Committees)
1974 reforms created a new way for interest groups to contribute
PACs have proliferated in recent years and play a major role in paying for expensive campaigns
Contributed $258 million to congressional candidates for the 2002 campaign
Any interest group can form its own PAC and contribute up to $5,000
A PAC is formed when a business association (or another interest group) decides to contribute to candidates it believes will be favorable towards its goals
PAC Facts
After group registers with FEC, the PAC can collect money from interested parties and contribute money to candidates (all must be accounted for by FEC)
Critics of the PAC system believe:
Leads to PAC control over what winners do once in office
PAC Facts (II)
When the system fails...
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
Constitutionality of McCain-Feingold Act
Are corporations people?
Sometimes misleading
Most PACs give money to candidates who already agree with them
Perception of PAC officeholders
Are campaigns too expensive?
Americans spend >$2 billion every four years on elections
Campaigns are relatively inexpensive when compared with the amount of money Americans spend of items of much less importance (i.e. Twilight)
The more incumbents spend - the more they lose
Does Money Buy Victory?
View of officeholders -- the need for continuous fund-raising distracts them from their jobs as legislators
Although some lawmakers support public financing reform, it is felt that incumbents (current officeholders) will not readily give up the advantage they have in raising money
Money is crucial to electoral victory
Perhaps the most basic complaint about money and politics is that there may be a direct link between dollars spent and votes received
The Impact of Campaigns
Politicians tend to overestimate the impact of campaigns
Rarely convert
Three major effects on voters:
Reinforcement -- reinforce voters' preferences for candidates
Activation -- getting them to contribute money or volunteer
Conversion -- change voters' minds
Campaigns primarily reinforce and activate
Selective perception -- paying most attention to what they already agree with
Party identification also important
Incumbents start with a significant advantage in terms of name recognition and established records
Understanding Nominations and Campaigns
Impact of nominations and campaigns on democracy
Candidate centered stage
Raise funds
Build personal organizations
Make promises of how they would act in office
Democrats -- require proportional allocation of delegates to candidates who receive >15% of the vote
Republicans -- give states discretion on how to conduct primaries
McCain Feingold Act (2002)
Banned soft money
Increased the amount that individuals could give to candidates
Issue ads
American political system -- allows citizens a voice at almost every point of election process
Party outsiders can get elected
Permanent campaign
Campaigns and Scope of Government
States are key battlegrounds -- candidates must tailor their appeals to interests of each state
Candidates support local interests in order to secure votes
Modern campaigns -- expand scope
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