US Politics Elections with Examples

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Presidential Elections
Election every 4 years
Elected by Electors (no. of Senators + no. of Representatives of each State)
If no candidate gets 270 votes, it goes to the House to decide. (1824 election)
President must be an American Citizen & been a resident within the United States for 14 years &
over 35 years old
With the removal/death of the President, the Vice President takes over, no special election.
Happens on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November
The president can only serve two terms (22nd Amendment)
Presidential Characteristics:
Political Background
o Dwight Eisenhower, 1952 last President without being a Senator, VP or State Governor.
Until 2008, all Presidents were white males.
Married (James Buchanan only Bachelor 1857)
Scandals of infidelity would take out a candidate until 1992. (Clinton & Jennifer Flowers)
Need to be able to raise large amounts of money
o Hilary Clinton raised $90million for the 2007 Primaries/Caucuses
Need an effective organisation
o Obama had a superior organisation, which was effective in raising money and awareness.
Giving it to Hilary for 2016 Campaign.
Oratorical Skills & being Telegenic
o Reagan was a Hollywood actor Clinton & Obama both displayed these traits.
Sound and Relevant Policies
o Clinton (1992) `The Economy, Stupid'
Stage Functions Occurs
Primaries and Show popularity of candidate January June
Caucuses Choose delegates to attend National Party
National Party Choose presidential candidate July ­ August/Early September (Each lasts 4
Conventions (NPC) Choose vicepresidential candidate days)
Decide on party platform
General Election The campaign between candidates of various September ­ first week of November
Campaign parties
Election Day and Election of the president and vicepresident Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Electoral College through the Electoral College Electoral College Votes: Monday after the
second Wednesday in December
Invisible Primaries
Period between candidates declaring their run for presidency
Media Focus & Speculation
o Wants to be mentioned as a serious candidate in papers like the Washington Post & New York
o Want to have interviews on serious political TV programmes such as News Hour
o Polls carried out.
o Dec 2012, Hilary Clinton as a 2016 Candidate.
o July 2013, Rubio losing Republican support.
The Declaration
o Up to 2 years before a candidate will declare their intention to run
o Fundraising becomes serious.
o By July 2011, 11 declared Republican candidates for the 2012 election
Debates and Formal Events
o Begin debating between other State candidates.
not overly watched but try to gain public support
o Iowa Straw Poll for Republicans & Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner for Democrats

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These events help in the primaries
Clinton spoke before Obama attacking Republicans, Obama just laid out his plan.
o Normally the frontrunner in the invisible primaries becomes the nominee.…read more

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Increase in public participation (1968 11% 2008 30%)
More choice of candidates (1968 5 candidates ­ 2008 15 candidates)
Opened up to `outsiders' i.e.…read more

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o The elections are not just for one legislative chamber.
o The general election campaign lasts 9 weeks & they have the primaries.
o No free TV time.
Until 1970's campaign finance was largely unregulated.
o Personal wealth was important (JFK 1960)
o `Fat Cats' gave huge sums of money to candidates.…read more

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o 9 elections between 19802012 African Americans gave at least 83% to Democrats
2008 95% African American voters voted Obama
o Bush spoke Spanish which raised Hispanic support from 20% 1996 to 43% in 2004
2012 Obama held 44% advantage with Hispanic voters
o Protestants give majority vote to GOP from 19802012
o Catholics tend to vote Democrat however prochoice causes problems.
2004 Bush won 52% Catholic vote against a Catholic candidate.…read more

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Proportional System ­ allocate EC votes proportional to the popular vote (unlikely to gain an absolute
majority, more 3rd parties)
Direct Election (Small states would be needed for constitutional amendment)
Congressional Elections
House chosen every two years by the people, Senate 1/3 chosen every two years
Must be 25, an inhabitant of the state and a citizen of US for 7 years to be a House member
Must be 30, an inhabitant of the state and a citizen of US for 9 years…read more

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Local issues ­ farm subsidies decide votes in Iowa but not New York
Record of incumbent, attendance, how they vote ­ Maryland House members (R ­ Gilchrest &D
Wynn) lost their seats in 2008 because they voted for troops to go to Iraq
Mid Term Congressional Elections
President's party lose seats in both houses ­ no president to coattail & voter disappointment
o 2002 only time in 50 years gained seats in both houses
o 2010 Democrats lost 63 House seats & 6 Senate…read more


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