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					Chapter 9: Nominations and Campaigns

AP GOVERNMENT
 With about half a million elected officials in
  this country, there is always someone
  somewhere running for office.
 Campaigns in American politics can be
  divided into two stages: first, nominations,
  and second, campaigns between the two
  nominees.
 The prize for a nomination campaign is
  garnering a party’s nod as its candidate; the
  prize for an election campaign is winning an
  office.
        THE NOMINATION GAME


 A nomination is a party’s official
  endorsement of a candidate for office.
  Anyone can play the nomination game, but
  few have any serious chance of victory.
  Generally, success in the nomination game
  requires money, media attention, and
  momentum.
 Campaign strategy is the way in which
  candidates attempt to manipulate each of
  these elements to achieve the nomination.
         Deciding to Run


 Campaigns have become more physical and
 emotional taxing than ever.
 In most advanced industrialized countries,
  campaigns last no more than two months
  according to custom and/or law.
 In contrast, American campaigns seem
  endless; a presidential candidacy needs to be
  either announced or an open secret for at
  least a year before the election.
   Competing for Delegates


 In some ways, the nomination game is
  tougher than the general election game; it
  whittles a large number of players down to
  two.
 The goal of the nomination game is to win
  the majority of delegates’ support at the
  national party convention-the supreme
  power within each of the parties, which
  functions to select presidential and vice
  presidential candidates and to write a party
  platform.
 There are 50 different roads to the national
  convention, one through each state. From
  February through June of the election year,
  the individual state parties busily choose their
  delegates to the national convention via
  either caucuses or primaries. Candidates try
  to ensure that delegates committed to them
  are chosen.
           The Caucus Road


 Before primaries existed, all state parties
  selected their delegates to the national
  convention in a meeting of state party
  leaders called a caucus.
 State party leaders could control who went to
  the convention and how the state’s delegates
  voted once they got there.
 They were the kingmakers of presidential
  politics who met in smoke-filled rooms at the
  convention to cut deals and form coalitions.
 Today’s caucuses are different from those of
  the past.
 In the dozen states that still have them,
  caucuses are now open to all voters who are
  registered with the party..
 Caucuses are usually organized like a
  pyramid.
 Small, neighborhood, precinct-level caucuses
  are held initially-often meeting at a church,
  an American Legion Hall, or even someone’s
  home.
 At this level, delegates are chosen, on the
  basis of their preference for a certain
  candidate, to attend county caucuses and
  then congressional district caucuses, where
  delegates are again chosen to go to a higher
  level-a state convention.
 At the state convention, which usually occurs
  months after the precinct caucuses,
  delegates are finally chosen to go to the
  national convention.
 Since 1972 the state of Iowa has held the
  nation’s first caucuses. Because the Iowa
  caucuses are the first test of the candidates’
  vote-getting ability, they usually become a
  full-blown media extravaganza.
 Well-known candidates have seen their
  campaign virtually fall apart as a result of
  poor showings in Iowa.
 Most important, candidates who were not
  thought to be contenders have received
  tremendous boosts from unexpected strong
  showings in Iowa.
 Iowa has become so important that citizens
  of the state can expect at least one
  presidential candidate to come through the
  state every week during the year preceding
  the caucus.
          THE PRIMARY ROAD


 Today, most of the delegates to the
  Democratic and Republican national
  conventions are selected in presidential
  primaries, in which voters in a state go to the
  polls and vote for a candidate or delegates
  pledged to that candidate.
 The presidential primary was promoted
  around the turn of the century by reformers
  who wanted to take nominations out of the
  hands of the party bosses.
 The reformers wanted to let the people vote
  for the candidate of their choice and then
  bind the delegates to vote for that candidate
  at the national convention.
 The increase in the number of presidential
  primaries occurred after the Democratic
  Party’s disastrous 1968 national convention
  led many to rethink the delegate selection
  procedures then in place.
 Minorities, women, youth, and other groups
  demanded a more open process of
  convention delegate selection.
 The McGovern-Fraser Commission had a
 mandate to try to make Democratic Party
 conventions more representative.
 As a result of their decisions, no longer could
  party leaders handpick the convention
  delegates virtually in secret.
 All delegate selection procedures were
  required to be open, so that party leaders had
  no more clout than college students or
  anyone else who wanted to participate.
 One of the unforeseen results of these new
  rules was that many states decided that the
  easiest way to comply was simply to hold
  primary elections to select convention
  delegates.
 Because state laws instituting primaries
  typically apply to selection of both parties’
  selection of delegates, the Republican Party’s
  nomination process was similarly
  transformed.
 Few developments have changed American
 politics as much as the proliferation of
 presidential primaries.
 Whereas once many of the delegates were
  experienced politicians who knew the
  candidates, today they are typical people
  who have worked on a candidate’s campaign
  and who owe their position as a delegate
  strictly to that candidate’s ability to pull in
  primary votes.
 The Democratic Party became so concerned
 about the lack of a role for party leaders at
 their convention that starting in 1984 they
 automatically set aside about 15% of their
 delegate slots for public officeholders and
 party officials.
 These politicians who are awarded
  convention seats on the basis of their position
  are known as superdelegates.
 The addition of these delegates to the
  Democratic national convention was
  designed to restore an element of “peer
  review” to the process, ensuring participation
  of the people most familiar with the
  candidates. However, to date the primaries
  have proved to be far more crucial than the
  superdelegates.
 The primary season begins during the winter
  in New Hampshire.
 Like the Iowa caucuses, the importance of
  New Hampshire is not the number of
  delegates or how representative the state is,
  but rather that it is traditionally the first
  primary.
 At this early stage, the campaign is not for
  delegates, but for images-candidates want
  the rest of the country to see them as front-
  runners.
 The frenzy of political activity in this small
  state is given lavish attention in the national
  press.
 In recent years, over a fifth of TV coverage of
  the nomination races has been devoted to
  the New Hampshire primary.
 At one time, it was considered advantageous
  for a state to choose its delegates late in the
  primary season so that it could play a decisive
  role.
 However, in recent years, states that have
  held late primaries have found their primary
  results irrelevant given that one candidate
  had already sown up the nomination by the
  time their primaries were held.
 With so much media attention being paid to
  the early contests, more states have moved
  their primaries up in the calendar to capitalize
  on the media attention.
 This frontloading of the process resulted in
  two-thirds of both Democratic and
  Republican delegates being chosen within six
  weeks of the New Hampshire primary in
  2000.
 State laws determine how the delegates are
  allocated, operating within the general
  guidelines set by the party.
 Some are closed to only people who are
  registered with the party, whereas others are
  open.
 Week after week, the primaries serve as
  elimination contests, as the media
  continually monitor the count of delegates
  won.
 Candidates who fail to score early wins get
  labeled as losers and typically drop out of the
  race.
 Usually they have little choice since losing
  quickly inhibits a candidate’s ability to raise
  the money necessary to win in other states.
 Primaries and caucuses are more than an
  endurance contest, though they are certainly
  that,; they are also proving grounds.
 Week after week, the challenge is to do
  better than expected.
 To get momentum (“mo”) going, candidates
 have to beat people they were not expected
 to beat, collect margins above predictions
 and-above all else-never lose to people they
 were expected to trounce.
 Momentum is good to have, but it is no
  guarantee of victory because candidates with
  a strong base sometimes bounce back.
Evaluating the Primary and Caucus System


 Primaries and caucuses are here to stay. That
  does not mean, however, that political
  scientists or commentators are happy with
  the system.
 Criticisms of this marathon campaign are
  numerous , but here are a few of the most
  important:
   Disproportionate attention goes to the early caucuses
      and primaries.
     Prominent politicians find it difficult to take time out
      from their duties to run.
     Money plays too big a role in the process.
     Participation is low and unrepresentative. Although
      about 50% of the population votes in November, only
      about 20% vote in primaries.
     The system gives too much power to the media.
    The Convention Send-Off

 At one time party conventions provided great
  drama. Great speeches were given,
  darkhorse candidates suddenly appeared,
  and numerous ballots were held as
  candidates jockeyed to win the nomination.
 Multiballot conventions died out in 1952,
  however, with the advent of television.
 Today, the drama has largely been drained
  from the convention because the winner is a
  foregone conclusion.
 No longer can a powerful governor shift a
  whole block of votes at the last minute.
 Delegates selected in the primaries and open
  caucuses have known preferences.
 Without such drama, the networks have
  substantially scaled back the number of hours
  of coverage in recent years.
 Although conventions are no longer very
  interesting, they are a significant rallying
  point for the parties.
 Modern conventions are scripted to present
  the party in its best light.
 Delegates are no longer there to argue for
  their causes but merely support their
  candidate.
 The parties carefully orchestrate a massive
  send-off for the presidential and vice-
  presidential candidates.
 The party’s leaders are there in force, as are
  many of its most important followers-people
  whose input will be critical during the general
  election campaign.
 The conventions are also important in
  developing the party's policy positions and in
  promoting political representation.
 In the past, conventions were essentially an
  assembly of party leaders, gathered together
  to bargain over the selection of the party’s
  ticket. Almost all delegates were White,
  male, and over 40.
 Lately, party reformers, especially the
  Democrats, have worked hard to make the
  conventions far more3 demographically
  representative.
 Meeting in an oversized, over-stuffed
  convention hall in a major city, a national
  convention is a short-lived affair.
 The highlight of the first day is usually the
  keynote speech, in which a dynamic speaker
  recalls party heroes, condemns the
  opposition party, and touts the nominee
  apparent.
 The second day centers on the party
  platform-the party’s statement of its goals
  and policies for the next four years.
 The platform is drafted prior to the
  convention by a committee whose members
  are chosen in rough proportion to each
  candidate’s strength.
 Any time 20% of the delegates to the
  platform committee disagree with the
  majority, they can bring an alternative
  minority plank to the convention floor for
  debate.
 In former times, contests over the platform
  were key tests of candidates’ strength before
  the actual nomination.
 In recent times, contests over the platform
  have served mostly as a way for the minority
  factions in the party to make sure that their
  voices are heard.
 The third day of the convention is devoted to
  formally nominating a candidate for
  president.
 One of each candidate’s eminent supporters
  gives a speech extolling the candidate’s
  virtues; a string of seconding speeches then
  follow.
 Toward the end of the evening, balloting
  begins as states announce their votes.
 After all the votes are counted, the long-
  anticipated nomination becomes official.
 The vice-presidential nominee is chosen by
  roll call vote on the convention’s final day,
  though custom dictates that delegates simply
  vote for whomever the presidential nominee
  recommends.
 The vice-presidential candidate then comes
  to the podium to make a brief acceptance
  speech.
 This speech is followed by the grand finale-
  the presidential candidate’s acceptance
  speech, in which the battle lines for the
  coming campaign are drawn.
 Afterward, all the party leaders come out to
  congratulate the party’s ticket, raise their
  hands and bid the delegates farewell
   National and Regional Presidential
           Primary Proposals

 Some people advocate a national primary. A
  national primary is a proposal by critics of the
  caucuses and presidential primaries and
  replaces them with a nationwide primary held
  early in the election year. Another proposal
  by critics is a regional primary system. In this
  system, primaries would be held in each
  geographic region and replace the
  established primary and caucus system we
  have today
         The Campaign Game

 Once nominated, candidates concentrate on
  campaigning for the general election.
 Campaigns involve more than organization
  and leadership.
 Artistry also enters the picture, for campaigns
  deal in images.
 The campaign is the canvas on which political
  strategists try to paint portraits of leadership,
  competence, caring, and other images
  Americans value in presidents.
 Campaigning today is an art and a science,
  heavily dependent-like much else in American
  politics-on technology.
   The High-Tech Media Campaign

 The new machines of politics have changed
  the ways campaigns are run.
 During the first half of the 20th century,
  candidates and their entourage piled onto a
  campaign train and tried to speak to as many
  people as time, energy, and money would
  allow.
 Voters journeyed from miles around to see a
  presidential whistle-stop tour go by and to
  hear a few words in person from the
  candidate.
 Today, television is the most prevalent means
  used by candidates to reach voters.
 Technology has made it possible for
  candidates to speak directly to the American
  people in the comfort of their living rooms, or
  in front of their computer monitors.
 At the grass-roots level, some candidates
  now distribute 10-minute videotapes of
  themselves rather than the old-fashioned
  political pamphlet.
 Most money spent in political campaigns in
  spent on the media.
 The computer revolution has also now
  overtaken political campaigns.
 Perhaps the most important use of computer
  technology in campaigns thus far has been
  the use of targeted mailings to prospective
  supporters.
 The technique of direct mail involves locating
  potential supporters by sending information
  and a request for money to huge lists of
  people who have supported candidates of
  similar views in the past.
 The accumulation of mailing lists enables
  candidates to pick almost any issue, and write
  to a list of people concerned about that issue.
 Direct mail induces millions of people each
  year to contribute $1 billion to various
  candidates and political causes.
 Candidates must use the media and
  computer technology just to stay
  competitive.
 The most important goal of any media
  campaign is simply to get attention.
 Media coverage is determined by two factors:
  (1) how candidates use their advertising
  budget and (2) the “free” attention they get
  as newsmakers.
 Many observers worry that we have entered a
  new era of politics in which the slick slogan
  and the image salesperson dominates-an era
  when Madison Avenue is more influential
  than Main Street.
 Most political scientists, however, are
  concluding that such fears are overblown.
 Research has shown that campaign
 advertising can be a source of information
 about issues as well as about images.
 Most candidates believe that their policy
  positions are a crucial part of their campaign,
  and they are willing to pay substantial sums
  to communicate them to voters.
 Candidates have much less control over the
  other aspect of the media, news coverage.
 The media largely determine for themselves
  what is happening in a campaign.
 Campaign coverage seems to be a constant
  interplay between hard news about what
  candidates say and do and the human
  interest angle, which most journalists think
  sells newspapers or interests television
  viewers.
 Apparently, news organizations believe that
  policy issues are of less interest to voters than
  the campaign itself.
 The result is that news coverage is
  disproportionately devoted to campaign
  strategies, speculation about what will
  happen next, poll results, and other aspects
  of the campaign game.
 Once a candidate has taken a policy position
  and it has been reported, it becomes old
  news.
 News coverage of presidential campaigns
  tends to emphasize campaign details and poll
  results.
 Most political coverage by the media during a
  presidential campaign deals with the
  campaign game; who’s ahead in the polls,
  what candidate’s X’s new strategy will be and
  speculation.
    Organizing the Campaign

 In every campaign, there is too much to do
  and too little time to do it.
 Every candidate must prepare for nightly
  banquets and endless handshaking.
 More important, to organize their campaigns
  effectively, candidates must:
     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 advisors.
     Hire a pollster
     Get a good press secretary.
     Establish a website.
 Very important are policy advisors-often
  distinguished academics-who feed the
  candidates the information they need to keep
  up with events.
     Money and Campaigning

 There is no doubt that campaigns are
  expensive and in America's high-tech political
  arena, growing more so.
 Candidates need money to build a campaign
  organization and to get their message out.
 Many people and groups who want certain
  things from the government are too willing to
  give it; thus, there is the common perception
  that money buys votes and influence.
    The Maze of Campaign finance
              Reforms
 As the costs of campaigning skyrocketed with
  the growth of television, and as the
  Watergate scandal exposed large, illegal
  campaign contributions, momentum
  developed for campaign finance reform in the
  early 1970s.
 In 1974, Congress passed the Federal Election
  Campaign Act. It had two main goals:
  tightening reporting requirements for
  contributions and limiting overall
  expenditures.
 The 1974 act and its subsequent
  amendments:
   Created the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
      The FEC is a bipartisan body which administers
      campaign finance laws and enforces compliance
      with their requirements.
     Provided public financing for presidential
      primaries and general elections.
     Limited presidential campaign spending.
     Required disclosure.
     Limited contributions.
 Although the campaign reforms were
 generally welcomed by both parties, the
 constitutionality of the act was challenged in
 the 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo.
 In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme court struck
  down, as a violation of free speech, the
  portion of the act that had limited the
  amount individuals could contribute to their
  own campaigns.
 Another loophole was opened in 1979 with an
  amendment to the original act that made it
  easier for political parties to raise money for
  voter registration drives and the distribution
  of campaign material at the grass-roots level
  or for generic advertising.
 Money raised for such purposes is known as
  soft money and is not subject to any
  contribution limits.
 In 2000, an unprecedented amount of money
 flowed into the coffers of the national parties
 through this loophole.
 The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 tried to
  remedy soft money contributions.
 The McCain-Feingold Act: (1) banned soft
  money contributions; (2) increased the
  amount that individuals could give to
  candidates from $1,000 to $2,000 and
  indexed the latter amount to rise in the future
  along with inflation; and (3) barred groups
  from running "issue ads” within 60 days of a
  general election if they refer to a federal
  candidate and are not funded through a PAC.
 Overall, there is little doubt that campaign
  finance legislation since 1974 has made
  campaigns more open and honest.
 Small donors are encouraged, and the rich
  are restricted-at least in terms of the money
  they can give directly to a candidate.
 All contributions and expenditure records are
  now open for all to examine, and FEC
  auditors try to make sure that the regulations
  are enforced.
 Nowhere else do scholars and journalists find
  so much information about the funding of
  campaigns, and the openness of Americans
  about the flow of money stuns many other
  nationals accustomed to silence and secrecy
  about such traditionally private matters.
         The Proliferation of PACS


 The campaign reforms of the 1970s also
  encouraged the spread of political action
  committees, generally known as PACs.
 Before the 1974 reforms, corporations were
  technically forbidden to donate money to
  political campaigns, but many wrote big
  checks anyway.
 Unions could make indirect contributions,
  although limits were set on how they could
  aid candidates and political parties.
 Political Action committees (PACs) are
  funding vehicles created by the 1974
  campaign finance reforms. A corporation,
  union, or some other interest group can
  create a PAC and register it with the Federal
  Election Commission (FEC), which will
  meticulously monitor the PAC’s expenditures.
 Buckley v. Valeo extended the right of free
  speech to PACs.
 PACs can now spend unlimited amounts
 indirectly, that is, if such activities are not
 coordinated with the campaign.
 As of 2003, the FEC reported that there were
  4,027 PACs.
 A PAC is formed when a business association,
  or some other interest group, decides to
  contribute to candidates whom it believes
  will be favorable toward its goals.
 The group registers as a PAC with the FEC
  and then puts money into the PAC coffers.
 The PAC can collect money from
  stockholders, members, and other interested
  parties.
 It then donates the money to candidates,
  often after careful research on their issue
  stands and past voting records.
 One very important ground rule prevails: All
  expenditures must be meticulously reported
  to the FEC.
 If PACs are corrupting democracy, as many
  believe, at least they are doing so openly.
 Candidates need PACs because high-tech
  campaigning is expensive.
 PACs play a major role in paying for expensive
  campaigns.
 Thus there emerges a symbiotic relationship
  between the PACs and the candidates:
  Candidates need money, which they insist
  can be used without compromising their
  integrity; PACs want access to officeholders,
  which they insist can be gained without
  buying votes.
 Most any lobbyist will tell their clients that
  politicians will listen to any important interest
  group but that with a sizable PAC donation
  they’ll listen better.
 There are an abundant of PACs willing to help
  out the candidates.
 Critics of the PAC system worry that all this
  money leads to PAC control over what the
  winners do once in office.
 On some issues, it seems clear that PAC
  money has made a difference.
 Most PACs give money to candidates who
 agree with them in the first place.
 The impact of PAC money on presidents is
  even more doubtful.
 Presidential campaigns, of course, are partly
  subsidized by the public and so are less
  dependent upon PACs.
 Moreover, presidents have well-articulated
  positions on most important issues.
 Money matters in campaigns and sometimes
 also during legislative votes. Although the
 influence of PACs may be exaggerated, the
 high cost of running for office ensures their
 continuing major role in the campaign
 process.
Are Campaigns Too Expensive?

 Every four years, Americans spend over $2
  billion on national, state, and local elections.
 What bothers politicians most about the
  rising costs of high-tech campaigning is that
  fund-raising has come to take up so much of
  their time.
 Many American officeholders feel that the
  need for continuous fund-raising distracts
  them from their jobs as legislators.
 Public financing of congressional campaigns
  would take care of this problem.
 Some lawmakers support some sort of public
  financing reform; however, it will be very
  difficult to get Congress to consent to equal
  financing for the people who will challenge
  the for their seats.
 Incumbents will not readily give up the
  advantage they have in raising money.
 Perhaps the most basic complaint about
  money and politics is that there may be a
  direct link between dollars spent and votes
  received.
 Few have done more to dispel this charge is
  political scientist, Gary Jacobson. His
  research has shown that “the more
  incumbents spend, the worse they do.” This
  fact is not as odd as it sounds. It simply
  means that incumbents that face a tough
  opponent raise more money to meet the
  challenge. When a challenger is not a serious
  threat,, as they all too often are not,
  incumbents can afford to campaign cheaply.
 More important than having “more” money is
  having “enough” money.
    The Impact of Campaigns

 Almost all politicians presume that a good
  campaign is the key to victory.
 Many political scientists, however, question
  the importance of campaigns.
 For years, researchers studying campaigns
  have stressed that campaigns have three
  effects on voters: reinforcement, activation,
  and conversion.
 Campaigns can reinforce voters’ preferences
  for candidates; they can activate voters,
  getting them to contribute money or ring
  doorbells as opposed to merely voting; and
  they can convert, changing voters’ minds.
 Five decades of research on political
  campaigns lead to a single message:
  Campaigns mostly reinforce and activate;
  only rarely do they convert.
 The evidence on the impact of campaigns
  points clearly to the conclusion that the best-
  laid plans of campaign managers change very
  few votes.
 Given the billions of dollars spent on political
  campaigns, it may be surprising to find that
  they do not have a great effect.
 Several factors tend to weaken campaigns’
  impact on voters:
   Most people pay relatively little attention to
    campaigns in the first place. People have a
    remarkable capacity for selective perception-paying
    most attention to things they already agree with and
    interpreting events according to their own
    predispositions.
     Factors such as party identification-though less
      important than they used to be-still influence voting
      behavior regardless of what happens in the campaign
       Incumbents start with a substantial advantage in terms of
        name recognition and an established track record.
 In tight races, a good campaign can make the
  difference between winning and losing.
 Understanding Nominations and Campaigns


 Throughout the history of American politics,
  election campaigns have become longer and
  longer as the system has become increasingly
  open to public participation.
                                           ?
Are Nominations and Campaigns Too Democratic


 If American campaigns are judged solely by
  how open they are, then certainly the
  American system must be viewed favorably.
 America has an entrepreneurial system in
  which the people play a crucial role at every
  stage from nomination to election.
 In this way, party outsiders can get elected in
  a way virtually unknown outside the United
  States.
 Throughout American history, presidential
  campaigns have become more and more
  democratic.
 By appealing directly to the people, a
  candidate can emerge from obscurity to win
  the White House.
 In a sense, the chance to win high office is
  open to almost any highly skilled politician
  with even a small electoral base.
 The process of selecting American leaders is a
  long and convoluted one that has little
  downtime before it revs up all over again.
 Some analysts have even called the American
  electoral process “the permanent campaign.”
 Given so much democratic opportunity, many
  citizens are simply overwhelmed by the
  process and stay on the sidelines.
 Similarly, the burdens of the modern
  campaign can discourage good candidates
  from throwing their hats into the ring.
 The system may be open, but it requires a lot
  of fund-raising to be able to take one’s case
  to the people.
 Today’s campaigns clearly promote
  individualism in American politics.
 The American campaign game is one of
  individual candidates, by individual
  candidates, and for candidates.
Do Big Governments Lead to an Increased
         Scope of Government?

 Today’s big campaigns involve much more
  communication between candidates and
  voters than America’s Founders ever could
  have imagined.
 The Founders would probably be horrified by
  the modern practice in which candidates
  make numerous promises during nomination
  and election campaigns.
 States are the key battlegrounds of
  presidential campaigns, and candidates must
  tailor their appeals to the particular interests
  of each major state.
 Promises mount as the campaign goes on,
  and these promises usually add up to new
  government programs and money.
 The way modern campaigns are conducted is
 thus one of the many reasons why politicians
 usually find it easier to promise, at least, that
 government will do more.
 Furthermore, with their finger constantly to
  the wind assessing all the different political
  crosscurrents, it is hard for politicians to
  promise that the scope of government will be
  limited through specific cuts.

				
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