Presidential Elections - revision questions

Revision questions on the Presidential Elections in the USA


Constitutional requirements to be president of the

  • Natural born American citizen
  • At least 35 years old
  • A residency qualification - 14 years - must of lived in the US for at least 14 years
  • Not to have already served two terms as president
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Other requirements would be helpful for a presiden

Political experience:

  • 6 of the 10 candidates for the presidential nomination of the Democratic party in 2004 was state governor or Senator

Major party endorsement:

  • Vital to be chosen as the candidate for one of the two major parties.

Ability to raise large sums of money:

  • To raise money is cruical
  • Very few candidates can afford to finance their own campaigns.
  • Ross Perot (1992) and Steve Forbes (1996 and 2000) able to finance their campaigns from their own pockets
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Explain what is meant by the 'invisible primary' a

  • Takes place before the official first stage - the primaries
  • Played out mainly but the media.
  • Support for a candidate at this stage is demonstrated principally by opinion polls. Regional or Nationwide.
  • Some relatively formal events do occur. Opportunity for would-be candidates to address the party faithful.
  • Visits to certain key states, especially Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • Some candidates publish a book - autobiographies.
  • Others write on a policy about which they feel strongly.
  • Money raising.
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What are primaries and caucuses, and what function

Primary - A state-based election to choose a party's candidate for the presidency. A presidential primary shows support for a candidate among ordinary voters and chooses delegates committed to vote for that candidate at the National Party Convention.

 Caucuses - A state-based series of meeting for the slection of a party's candidate for the presidency. Held in a few geographically large states but thinly populated states, caucuses attract unrepresentative and very low turnout. They unfulfil the same functions as presidential primaries.

Functions of Primaries and Caucuses -

  • To show the popularity of presidental candidates
  • Choose delegates to go to the National Party Conventions
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Super Tuesday, front loading and McGovern-Fraser C

Super Tuesday - A Tuesday in early March when a number of states concide their presidential primaries in order to gain influence for their region in the selection of major party presidential candidates.

Front loading - The phenomenon by which an increasing number of states schedule their presidential primaries or caucuses earlier in the cycle, in an attempt to increase the importance of their state in choosing major party presidential candidates.

McGovern-Fraser Commission -

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Oratorical skills and being telegenic:

  • Ability to speak well and look good on television are crucial.
  • Republican Senator Phil Gramm went even futher in 1996, declaring: "I'm too ugly to be president".
  • Bill Clinton's oratorical skills and his telegenic looks were advantages that contributed significantly to his victories in 1992 and 1996.
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