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We the People 5th edition by Benjamin Ginsberg Theodore J Lowi (PowerPoint)


									We the People 5th edition
by Benjamin Ginsberg, Theodore J. Lowi and Margaret Weir

       Chapter 10. Campaigns and
Elections in America
           Types of Elections

           American politics makes frequent use
           of elections to:

              Select representatives
              Nominate party candidates
              Make policy directly
   Midterm Elections
In the United States, elections coinciding
with Presidential elections are held every
four years.

Midterm elections, for example, are
congressional and gubernatorial elections
held in the even-numbered years that do
not coincide with presidential elections.
      Primary Elections
                          Open primary defined: a primary in
                            which the voter can wait until the
Primary Elections are       day of the primary to choose which
elections used by           party to enroll in to select
political parties to        candidates for the general election.
select their candidates
for general elections;
these can be either
open or closed.           Closed primary defined: a primary
                          in which voters can participate in the
                          selection of candidates for a party to
                          which they belong prior to election
Twenty-four states have
provisions that allow for
citizens to vote directly, by
referendum, on proposed
laws or other government
                                Eighteen states have
                                provisions for recall
                                elections that allow voters
                                to remove governors and
                                other state officials prior to
                                the end of their term.
    The Criteria for Winning
                           In majority systems,
                           candidates must receive a
                           majority (50 percent plus
The means by which         one) of the votes in a district
elections are conducted,   in order to win a seat.
votes are counted, and
winners are determined
play key roles in          In plurality systems, like
elections.                 most elections in the United
                           States, candidates need only
                           receive the most votes in an
                           election, regardless of
                           whether it constitutes a
Proportional Representation

           Some electoral systems are
           proportional representation
           systems in which multiple seats
           are awarded for a particular
           geographic area, and each party
           receives a percentage of those
           seats proportional to the
           percentage of votes it received.
Majority and Plurality
         Majority and plurality electoral
         systems tend to reduce the number of
         political parties in a political system.

         Proportional representation
         electoral systems tend to increase the
         number of competitive political parties.
    Districting and Re-districting
Majority and plurality electoral systems
tend to accentuate the importance of
geographic district boundaries.

Redistricting refers to the process of
drawing election districts.

When redistricting is viewed as an unfair
process designed to give an unfair
advantage to a particular group,
candidate, or party, this is often called
      The Ballot

The very structure of an election ballot can
have profound effects on electoral

First, flawed balloting systems or variations
from one voting district to the next can
advantage some voters over others.
Straight Party Ticket
              Second, in the 19th century,
              many Americans voted by a
              party ballot that meant that
              they had to vote a straight
              party ticket. Ballot reforms
              at the end of the 19th century,
              made it possible for voters to
              split their ticket and vote for
              different party candidates for
              different offices.
        Do you think that the use of referenda
         and recall are good for policy-making and
         the political system or might they make
         the system too democratic?

        Do plurality electoral systems generally
         care too much about “lines on a map”
         and too little about voter sentiment?

        In recent years, critics charge that
         redistricting has become too partisan and
         political. Is there a better way to draw
         election districts?
Election Campaigns
           Election campaigns are efforts by
           political candidates and their staffs
           to win the backing of donors,
           political activists, and voters.

           These elaborate organizations rely
           on a complex of pollsters,
           consultants, political professionals,
           party activists and volunteers to
           achieve the goal of winning political
  Presidential Elections
After the 1830s, parties used
national nominating
conventions to select their
presidential candidates.

These party meetings played
key roles in brokering intra-
party deals and selecting the
candidates themselves.
Party Conventions
              Since the mid-20th century,
              party conventions tend
              more to ratify decisions
              that have already been
              made by party voters in
              caucuses and primaries.

              This has left some to
              question whether party
              conventions are all that
              important in contemporary
     Electoral College
Of course, an important election rule
in American politics is the use of the
electoral college in which
presidents are selected by electors
from each state.

Because, to win, presidents must win
a majority of the electoral college,
presidential candidates often focus
more on key states rather than on
winning majority or plurality popular
How Voters Decide
            In making their decisions, voters
            balance a mix of cues and
            information including:

                partisan loyalty
                issues
                candidate characteristics
      Money and Politics
As contemporary election
campaigns have come to rely
more on media, polls, and other
“capital intensive” means of
reaching voters, candidates and
their campaigns increasingly rely
on donors.
Donors & PACs

Individual donors largely contribute based on
issues and ideology, whereas professional givers like
political action committees often donate money
to campaigns to advance their cause and gain access
to political officeholders.
  Soft Money

In recent years,
campaign finance
reforms have sought to
                          For example, the 2002
reduce the impact of
                          Bipartisan Campaign
money and fundraising
                          Reform Act (BCRA)
on political campaigns.
                          sought to reduce the
                          amount of soft money
                          contributions to political
      527 Committees

Still, critics charge that BCRA led to
an increase in the influence of
independent 527 Committees that
funnel large amounts of money into
elections through issue advocacy
ads but are less accountable than
political parties.
        Do you think it is best to vote for the
         party, based on the issues, or for
         particular candidates? Why?

        Do you think the electoral college should
         be abolished in favor of direct popular
         election of the president? How might
         this affect presidential campaigns?

        Is there too much money in elections? Is
         there a way to reduce the impact of large
         donors without trampling on their free
         speech rights?
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