Updated Revision Pack on Federal Elections. Edexcel A2 course

A pack I put together for my students. It has past questions, newspaper articles and links to videos, allocated to sections tested in the Edexcel Government and Politics USA course.

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  • Created on: 13-06-12 09:48
Preview of Updated Revision Pack on Federal Elections. Edexcel A2 course

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Elections
Why are US Presidential Elections campaigns so long?
Candidates should demonstrate an awareness that the following factors contribute to the length of US presidential elections:
· The invisible primary, lasting at least a year, with preparation for running in elections being made even earlier (the
2012 website for Mike Huckabee has already been set up)
· The primaries which, if front loaded as heavily as in 2008, means that the invisible primary has to start earlier and
with greater intensity
· The national convention that dominates politics in the summer of election year and, if no clear winner emerges from
the primaries, is where a nominee could be chosen
· The general election of the autumn, featuring the head to head debates between the candidates and between their
running mates
· The electoral college which, in extreme cases such as the 2000 election, may lead to the battle continuing beyond
election day
Primaries and Caucuses
What are the types of Primaries?
Closed. Voters may vote in a party's primary only if they are registered members of that party. Independents cannot
participate. Note that due to the use of the word "independent" in the names of some political parties, the term
"non-partisan" is often used to refer to those who are not affiliated with a political party.
Semi-closed. As in closed primaries, registered party members can vote only in their own party's primary. Semi-closed systems,
however, allow unaffiliated voters to participate as well. Depending on the state, independents either make their choice of
party primary privately, inside the voting booth, or publicly, by registering with any party on Election Day.
Open. A registered voter may vote in any party primary regardless of his own party affiliation. When voters do not register with
a party before the primary, it is called a pick-a-party primary because the voter can select which party's primary he or she
wishes to vote in on election day. Because of the open nature of this system, a practice known as "raiding" may occur.
"Raiding" consists of voters of one party crossing over and voting in the primary of another party, effectively allowing a party
to help choose its opposition's candidate. The theory is that opposing party members vote for the weakest candidate of the
opposite party in order to give their own party the advantage in the general election. An example of this can be seen in the
1998 Vermont senatorial primary with the election of Fred Tuttle for the Republican candidate.
Semi-open. Each voter may vote in any single primary, but must publicly declare which primary she will vote in before entering
the voting booth. Typically this declaration is accomplished by requesting a ballot. In many states with semi-open primaries,
election officials record each voter's choice of party and provide the parties access to this information.
Presidential election primaries and caucuses
The first ones are Iowa and New Hampshire.
Q) Why are these so significant but only have a few delegates allocated to them?
Q) What happened in 2008 primaries and why was it significant?
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when
the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's
presidential candidates are officially nominated.
More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and, accordingly,
candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination. In 2008, Super
Tuesday was February 5; 24 states held primaries or caucuses on this date, with 52% of all pledged Democratic Party

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Republican Party delegates at stake. In the 2012 Republican race (Democrats didn't need one
as Obama was running for a second term) 437 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, more than the total awarded so far in
the GOP (Grand Old Party ­ Republicans) presidential race.
Q) Why was the 2008 Super Tuesday so unusual?
2012 Super Tuesday:
Watch the following video:
http://www.washingtonpost.…read more

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U7pv7sO5Gng
Q) According to the band `First Love' what are Rick Santorum's ideas? (There are also many parodies on
youtube against this song to highlight the opposing views.)
Q) What states should Newt Gingrich win? Why?
Results:
The Republican candidates split the Super Tuesday states, with Mitt Romney picking up wins in Virginia, Vermont and
Massachusetts, Rick Santorum winning North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and Newt Gingrich taking his home state of
Georgia. The Ohio primary was down to the wire between Romney and Santorum.…read more

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The arrangement also allows candidates-in-waiting to travel to
meet prospective supporters, develop lists of potential donors, and build goodwill by giving money to fellow Republicans.
By contrast, Obama raised almost $26 million in the first three months of 2007, instantly transforming him into a
front-runner. Obama wound up raising a record $745 million and was the first major party nominee to shun public funds for
the general election.…read more

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Romney will also likely benefit from a socalled "super PAC" organized by some of his former political advisers with the
express intent of winning him the presidency in 2012. The group, Restore Our Future, announced Tuesday that it had
raised $12 million over the first six months of the year.
Romney's total virtually ensures that Obama will lap the entire Republican field easily when he announces his fundraising
total -- likely later this week.…read more

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Some of his competitors are looking at weak cashonhand positions that threaten to end their campaigns if they don't
change things by midAugust," said Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member from Mississippi.
Second, Romney remains very wealthy. In the 2008 campaign, he loaned himself $44.5 million. Romney has talked
very little about how much (or little) he is willing to put into this race, and he has yet to file his personal financial
disclosure forms for the 2012 contest.…read more

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New Hampshire and in violation of DNC rules they eventually backed down. In the end, Iowa and New Hampshire kept
their first positions, although the dates were moved forward in a ripple effect as other states advanced their dates.
Assess the advantages and disadvantages of the "front loading" of presidential primaries.…read more

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IOWA, NEW HAMPSHIRE STILL FIRST
Both the Democratic and the Republican party agreed last year that no state could hold their presidential primaries
before February, and most states must hold them in March or later.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the RNC's priority right now is working to make sure
the joint nomination schedule is followed.
The budget cutting is not expected to affect the earliest contests in 2012.…read more

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Once a candidate locks up a majority of the delegates, he or she can receive the party nomination.
The Platform
The national platform is an official statement of the Party's position on a wide variety of issues. Each issue category
included in the platform is a "plank."
A new platform is adopted every four years.
The Committee is responsible for drafting and recommending a proposed National Platform for approval at the
National Convention.…read more

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American elections, especially at the federal level, are extremely expensive which leads many voters to believe
that the eventual victor will be more concerned with meeting the needs of their financial backers than the needs
of voters, thereby making voting pointless.
Politicians have proved unable to effectively address many of the issues which are of greatest concern to the
poor and vulnerable in American society, such as racial tension and spiralling healthcare costs. The least
wealthy Americans are least likely to vote.…read more

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