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Flashcards in Elections Deck (168):

What are the implications of the staggered character of us elections? i.e. elections every two years

Frequent nature of house elections leads to:
-'permanent campaigning'
-pork barrel politics
-weak party discipline
(this is why the tax bill passed, Billionaires are happy)

Longer terms of senators leads to :
-more deliberative character
-greater continuity of membership

-as president cannot decide elections (unlike UK, fixed parliament act kind of overturned by May) this may deny the president an electoral advantage


Explain caucuses

method of selection a presidential candidate, was very prominent before 1968 (this gave the party a lot of power as caucuses are easily controlled)

party supporters are allowed to vote


What was the turnout in Kansas in 200 for their caucus, why does this show they are not significant?

why else are caucuses not significant?

turnout was less than 1000
this shows they are not very significant

they are also only worth very few delegates compared to primary states, you can't win the nomination of caucuses alone

also caucuses being small states have unrepresentative populations so they aren't as significant (Iowa, Kansas, Alaska) , and only highly aligned and ideologically extreme voters turn out


What is the difference between the Democrat way of doing caucuses and the Republican way?

Dems discuss and then count
(Dems in Iowa, 15% to qualify for delegates to the NNC)

Rs debate and then vote


Why are caucuses significant?
Why is the Iowa caucus particularly significant?

Caucuses pick ideologically extreme candidates which gives them a shot at running

Iowa is the first caucus

In Iowa in 2016 Ted Cruz won for the Rs
In Iowa in 2012 Rick Santorum won for the Rs
In Iowa in 2008 Obama won for the Ds


What strategy are the democrats going for in 2018?

running in or contesting all 435 seats


Why are Joe Lieberman, Dick Lugar and Lisa Murkowski all significant?

incumbents who lost their primaries (a rare thing indeed)

However, Lieberman won as an independent and Murkowski won as a write-in candidate

Lugar lost his Indiana senate seat in 2012


What is the coat tails effect?

Give an example

When a popular candidate at the top of the ticket (president or gubernatorial) lifts the popularity of the other candidates for their party. This can be useful for a President as if members of Congress believe they were elected with help from the President they are more likely to support him

e.g. Reagan, the Republicans gained 33 seats in the House and 12 in the Senate in 1980


What is the reverse coat tails effect?

Give an example

When a candidate at the top of the ballot causes dislike and loss of seats for other candidates of their party in that election

e.g. Trump, The Democrats gained 2 Senate seats and 6 House seats.

Bill Clinton, lost 9 house seats 1992

GWB lost 4 Senate seats in 2000


Why is the coat tails effect so important?

If there are no coat tails to hang on to there may be little incentive to turn out to vote


What is split ticket voting? when has this been encouraged ?

When a voter votes for two parties, for different offices, at the same election

in 1996 Republican candidate Bob Dole looked set to lose so the Rs encouraged voters to vote for republican senators


What were levels of STV like in 2012?

6 states were split ticket president and senate
notably West Virginia but this was due to moderate Manchin. Although only 35% voted Obama, 65% voted to relect Joe Manchin (D)


What is incumbency liken the USA?

very high rates of incumbency due to gerrymandering, pork, ect. Gerrymandering can't be done in the Senate


What do Americans think of high incumbency and what do they think of their own candidates?

don't like high incumbency

do like their own representatives


Why are so few seats competitive? what effect does this have on congress and partisanship

discouraged bipartisanship and you have to be extreme to win in gerrymandered seats. Intra-party threat is the risk. No reason to be bi-partisan


Give two examples of local issues in congressional elections?

border and immigration- important to Florida, New Mexico

farm subsidies- important to Iowa and Kansas


How is the record of incumbent members measured?
Who got outed due to never turning up?

How often they vote and what they vote on

Senator Huddleston (advert with a bloodhound looking for him in DC but he was nowhere to be found) Mitch McConnell took his seat

Huddleston had missed a quarter of all role call votes that year in the Senate


Why did Senator Elizabeth Dole lose her seat?

An advert came out painting her as old, ineffective and voted with Bush (he is very unpopular)

clever ad, obliquely bought up issue of her age (72)


Why is John Barrow significant?

A southern democrat who kept his seat due to advertising in 2012 (Tv ad 'Nobody'), but lost 2014.

Barrow re-elected on 54% of the vote and 7 percentage points

Showed his with a handgun his grandfather used to prevent a lynching (pro African American) and also his NRA endorsement (appealed to southern white people)


What are the two theories as to why the President's party tend to lose midterms?

reverse coat tails effect, less people turnout
-Obama lost the House in 2010, people weren't bothered to turn up, failed to deliver on promises to turn around the American economy and many were opposed to his healthcare reforms

-GWB was v popular after 9/11, in 2002 the Republicans increased their majorities in both Houses.


How did the Tea Party affect the 2010 midterms?

They helped dems win seats as if the GOP candidate was Tea Party, often weak democrat candidates could win against them.


Which groups did Democrats lose voters in in 2010?

white (-6%), men(-7%), woman(-8%), 18-29 year olds(-9%), catholics(-10%), independents(-14%)

shows that arguably independents make the difference


When are elections held?

the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in years divisible by 4


What are mid term elections?

elections for the House and 1/3 of the Senate midway between the President's four years


What are congressional elections?

Elections held every two years


What is the locality rule?

a state rule that requires a representatives not only to live in the state but in the congressional district they represent


What is the average number of election defeats for house candidates per election cycle?

5 or 6, this is not very high at all, around 400 defend seat every two years


In 2012 what happened to the 13 house candidate incumbents who lost primaries?

8 lost to other incumbents after redistricting

of the 5 who lost to challengers, one had been in controversy for a while and two were in newly gerrymandered districts


What happened to Split Ticket voting in 2016?

No State voted differently for President and Senate

Split Ticket voting in decline, it was popular in the 80's


What were re-election rates like in the four elections 1998-2004?

re-election rates in the house over 95%


What were re-election rates like 2006-2012?


145 defeats in those 4 elections as opposed to 41 in the previous 4


How was the re-election rate in the Senate 2008-2012?

10 incumbents defeated in those three cycles

high incumbency rates


How do you define a competitive seat generally?

one that was won by and incumbent by less than 10 percentage point

however, Dems winning Pennsylvania 18th (Connor Lamb) and Alabama Senate Seat shows more and more seats competitive in 2018, Dems are running a 435 seat strategy


What stats shows the reduction in competitive seats?

1992 111 close races
2004 only 31 close races


How many competitive house elections in 2012?

only 65


How did the Republicans attempt to 'nationalise the 1994 midterms?'

a ten-point policy document, the 'Contract with America'


What was special about the 2002 midterms?

It was the only midterm election in 50 years where the President's party gained seats in both houses


How did the Democrats do in 2010?

lost 63 House seats, lose 6 Senate seats


What is an invisible primary?

The 3-4 years preceding an election year, Candidates test the water and seek to establish themselves in public opinion polls and state 'straw polls', winning name recognition as well as visiting key primary states (such as New Hampshire and Iowa), making an unofficial campaign website and appearing coverage on TV talk shows. Candidates must shows they have popularity and the ability to show sufficient financial resources to wage an effective, long-term campaign.


Who is the invisible primary for 2020?

Corey Booker
Kamala Harris
Elizabeth Warren
Seth Moulton
Jason Kander
Kanye West


Do the party hold a primary if there is an incumbent President?

No they don't tend to
if they do the President tends to lose as the party has no faith if they stand another candidate

GHWB was challenged by Pat Buchanan
Carter was challenged by Ted Kennedy
Ford was challenged by Reagan


Is the invisible primary important?

It is important to establish a leading position in the election campaign at the end of the invisible primary (candidates usually declare 18 months ahead of the election). Those who end the invisible primary on top often secure the nomination, those who do badly may drop out and not declare.

However, invisible primaries may also mean nothing. It is all about building the biggest financial resources (War Chests), not because it is important to have this money but to intimidate other candidates, however, this doesn't always lead on to success in elections. Also the people predicted don't always win (Trump defied all thought and belief, in the invisible primary he was a no-hoper for President)


what happened to Rick Perry due to his invisible primary?

lost his primary due to a blunder in the invisible primary in 2011


What is a primary? how did they improve the democratic process? Why else are primaries good?

an election generally open to members of the public who have registered as supporters of that party, to select that party's candidate. Caucuses are held for the same purpose but are meetings allowing discussion and debate not just a simple election. Primaries were introduced as democratic reform as they weakened the power of the 'machine politicians' who had previously controlled the nominating process.

primaries also pick more electable candidates.


What do the results of primaries and caucuses determine?

the delegates who attend their national conventions. These are held during the summer months and make the final formal decision on the nominee. Although this is always a foregone conclusion.


What do candidates that are defeated in the primaries usually do?

put their weight behind the victorious nominee

Bernie Sanders backed Hillary after he was defeated


Which state has the first caucus and which has the first primary?

New Hampshire- primary
Iowa- caucus


How did the 1968 election make primaries the more common system?

in 1968 LBJ was not popular does not seek re-election

RFK is the front runner for candidacy but gets shot!

former VP Hubert Humphrey stands- he doesn't win a single primary- imposed by party leaders

3rd party candidate and racist George Wallace stands and gets 13 million southern votes

Nixon wins

primaries were recommended as a result of this failure and 35 states had primaries from 1972


How much money did Hillary Clinton and Obama spend on their primaries in 2008?

£250 million each


What happened to Rick Santorum in the primaries in 2012?

nearly became republican candidate
has a 'google problem'
wins Iowa but Iowa unrepresentative


How do primaries and caucuses increase political participation?

broaden the franchise
test the qualities of rival candidates
subject candidates to sustained scrutiny
build interest for the coming contest between the parties


What criticisms are there of primaries?

- first and significant caucus and primary is Iowa and New Hampshire, these states play a pivotal role. they are both rural and white so therefore the process may be unrepresentative.

-some states have open primaries where everyone is allowed to vote, whether you are registered to the party or not. This may encourage 'wrecking tactics' where supporters of another party vote in the primary and deliberately back a weak candidate.

-turnout levels are low, only strong party identifiers vote

-candidates with extensive financial resources are at an advantage, primaries happen in a quick space of time (although parties are getting better at controlling and stopping this), this gives advantage to candidates who can campaigning many states at a time.

-lack of peer review. In primaries candidates are judged by the electorate rather than those such as Governors, members of Congress and party officials who would be best qualified to assess candidates. This has arguably lowered the calibre of US presidents.


Give an example of wrecking tactics in open primaries?

In the Wisconsin open primaries in 2012 Democrats voted Rick Santorum as a wrecking tactic.


How has lack of peer review in the primary process been demonstrated in an election?

1976 Carter successful in Democrat primaries
Carter White House 1977-81 had many failings.


Why is the New Hampshire primary so important?

first primary- gives an indication of public opinion

If you do badly in New Hampshire, your financial status could be badly affected. Backers may pull out as they do not want to be seen to back a non-starter.

Doing badly in New Hampshire can label you a failure from the beginning, this is v bad in a campaign.

New Hampshire has in it's constitution that its primary must be one week before any other. In 2008 the primary was held on the 8th of January when the election takes place in November. (however this was pushed back in 2016)

Jeb Bush dropped out of running after New Hampshire in 2016


Why is 'super Tuesday' important?

21 states declare their nomination on the second tuesday in March

most these 21 states are southern so traditionally this is a good time for southern candidates, in 1992 Bill Clinton won basically every nomination available on this day.


Why do states try to 'front load' the primaries? What do the National Committees of the party do about this?

Super Tuesday has encouraged other states to put their primaries earlier so they still figure in the contest. Candidates tend to stop campaigning when they reach the required amount of delegates and the press stop paying attention, explaining why front loading happens.

In 2008 the Democrats banned the delegates from Michigan and Florida attending the National Convention as the states had moved their primaries too early in the process.


Why is winning California important?

The state sends 20% of all delegates to both parties national conventions.

in 2008 'Super Tuesday' became 'Super Duper Tuesday' as California joined and the primaries and caucuses were held on the 5th Feb. This was not seen as a success and in 2012 and 2016, Super Tuesday only included 10 primaries and caucuses accounting for 18% of Republican delegates.


How was the parties work to stop front loading shown in 2016?

Super Tuesday was held on the 1st March

2nd Super Tuesday on 15th March where 5 states had primaries

California's primary was not until 5th June (5 other states had primaries and caucuses on this day too) This is when Clinton won the nomination


How does the fact that from January to April there is no fundraising time and fundraising has to be done before the primaries affect the primary process?

Poorer candidates (e.g. Rick Santorum 2012) spend a lot of time in Iowa prior to the caucus to hopefully build momentum for their campaign. Santorum won Iowa and arguably got some momentum as he went on to win another 10 states (although could be accounted for by wrecking tactics) before suspending his campaign.

Better known candidates have more leeway as they will be better financed.

However, Rudy Giuliani in 2008 was so well known he did not even bother campaigning in Iowa or New Hampshire as they account for very few delegates. This however led to him having little momentum and was forced to withdraw.


How did Super PACs dominate the 2012 election?

although candidates have to adhere to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, PACs are not financially regulated and can easily run negative ads.

In 2012 the 'Winning Our Future' Super PAC adverts that attacked Mitt Romney contributed to Newt Gingrich winning early primaries. This meant it took Romney a long time to win the needed number of delegates.


How did Mitt Romney undermine the 'style over substance' argument for primaries?

Wooden Romney had little style and his opponents lacked substance.

Rick Perry dropped out after forgetting the three federal departments he would abolish

Rick Santorum had a google problem


How did Donald Trump get a step ahead of his opposition in the primaries? Who had more money than him?

He used his personal wealth and unorthodox campaigning to get more media coverage than all other candidates combined.

Jeb Bush had 100 million dollars in his Right to Rise Super PAC and a further 30 million in direct fundraising (more than any other candidate. However, he failed to win a single primary and had to drop out.


Why do President who look for re-election but are challenged in the primaries usually lose the election itself`? give examples of when this happened

They look rubbish
Ford (1976) Carter (1980) Bush (1992)


How did Obama not being challenged in the 2012 primaries advantage him in the real election?

Other Republican candidates (particularly Newt Gingrich) had run negative campaigns against Romney so he was stained.

Romney had been forced to spend huge sums and dedicate the first five months of 2012 fending off attacks from other Republicans. Obama didn't have this problem.


Explain how the Democrat contest in 2016 was a 'clean race'?

Sanders attacked Clinton on policy instead of personal attacks such as those Trump made.

Sander's left wing campaign forced Clinton to adopt left wing policies such as raising the minim wage to 12 dollars an hour.

Clinton won 4 million more votes than Sanders and significant support from minorities.


Which state has a single legislature and no parties?



Why are National Party Conventions declining in importance? Give examples

NNCs used to be where the candidate was selected, big wigs in the party chose the candidate. However the last brokered convention happened in 1976, they don't happen anymore due to primaries and the use of 'committed delegates'. The NNC decision is a foregone conclusion and this means its importance has declined

The running mate used to be chosen at the NNC, 1998 was the last time it was announced at the convention. Biden was announced by text 3 days before the convention and in 2016 the running mates were announced on twitter a week before the convention.

The NNC used to be where the platform was decided, there would be debates, in 1968 this debating led to riots, the media used stuff like this as evidence of a divided party. Now the debates are done by 'listening events' where individual policy planks are created. The party platform is created by the platform committee before the convention. The platforms now are essentially meaningless, they only really have the parties stances on abortion both all about the American dream.

The NNC has no formal functions anymore.


How could you argue National Party Conventions are still important? Give examples

1.the party convention promotes PARTY UNITY as other primary candidates tend to endorse the national candidate and its the only time the national parties meet together. e.g. the Clintons endorsed Obama 2008, Sanders endorsed Hillary 2016

however, Pat Buchanan remained at loggerheads with GHWB in 1992 (GHWB later lost, maybe because of how divided his party looked) and in 2008 Ron Paul held a rival event to John McCain. In 2016 there was little unity for Trump as Ted Cruz said 'vote with your conscience'

it keeps the base happy and makes them campaign. Speeches are made by famous people or new or old politicians. e.g. Michelle Obama spoke at the Democrat convention 2016, Bill Clinton 2012, nobody apart from Ted Cruz wanted to speak at Trumps but this played to his base as he appeared 'anti-establishment'

3. the convention ENTHUSES ORDINARY VOTERS, it gives them a first proper look at the candidates and is exciting, e.g. so many balloons at 2016 Dems


Is there a link between post convention 'bounce' and candidates performance in elections?

Bill Clinton had a 16 point bounce after his convention
Mitt Romney had a negative bounce (first time every)

Sabato argues that it doesn't matter about bounce because its very short term

in modern times the clear majority of voters have polarised views and a candidates speech or convention is unlikely to change their voting intentions.

post convention polls signal the elections outcome half the time, flipping a coin is just as predictive

Trumps convention was rubbish and he still won


Do voters consider conventions important?

Its the first time many tune in so may be interested, first impressions count especially if an unknown candidate (e.g. GWB) and running mates are also usually new introductions

useful for spotting rising stars, Barak Obama spoke at the 2004 convention

millions of Americans watch the main speeches


What is the difference in news coverage of the NPCs 1968-2012?

there has been a decline in coverage

old days 46 hours of coverage by the main networks
only 9 hours coverage on terrestrial tv in 2012

However, more people watched the Obama Palin and Romney acceptance speeches than the Olympics Opening ceremony, American idol or the Academy Awards

NPCs are less newsworthy but still important


How long were the conventions in 2012, what does this show?

3 instead of 4 days, declining importance


Why are NPC's held in swing states?

to build support

this worked in 2016 for the GOP, the Republicans won Ohio


Why is a balanced ticket important?
What things can a ticket be balanced on?

a ticket with a Presidential and Vice Presidential nominee that are different will appeal to more bases. Especially if there is an ideological balance

Religion- Romney Ryan
Ideology- Trump Pence
Region - Clinton Kaine
Ethnicity- Obama Biden
Insider Outsider- McCain Palin, Obama Biden, Trump Pence


How was the balanced ticket modified in the 90's?

Became a reinforced ticket

Clinton/Gore 1992

both white male Southern centrists

together they highlighted flaws in the Republican ticket and highlighted their own positive attributes

Gore being a family man with no personal scandal corrected the flaws of Clinton


Give some examples of balanced tickets?


JFK was from Massachussets, a Roman Catholic, centrist and relatively young.
LBJ was Texan, Protestant, conservative and older

2) Obama Biden

Obama - black, seems professional
Biden- white, foreign policy experience, approachable

3) Trump Pence

Pence is experienced in Washington and v religious, corrects Trumps faults

4) Romney/ Ryan

Romney = Morman
Ryan= Catholic, from Wisconsin but didn't win it

5) H Clinton/ Kaine
he was spanish and from Virginia (a swing state), they won Virginia

6) GHWB and Dan Quayle
Quayle was young and a committed conservative

7) GWB and Dick Cheney
GWB seen as politically inexperienced, Cheney was v experienced


How can it be argued that US presidential elections are too long? 6 reasons

The USA takes 2 years to elect a President, Canada does it in 6 weeks

Elections should energise and motivate citizens to vote, they do not , mostly because they are so long. Ted Cruz announced his stand 500 days before the election and in 2011 it took Mitt Romney a whole year just to secure the nomination- this is surely overkill. It is a fractured and dysfunctional process

Long Campaigns bore voters
-according to the Pew research centre only 36% of respondents felt the 2012 election was interesting

Long campaigns mean its not about politics but posturing
-all about polling and so candidates have to adopt populist views and extreme stances to keep attention on them, this drowns out voices of moderation

Long Campaigns mean governance is compromised
-in 2012 Obama's attention was drawn away from being President and into being re-elected, this is not great for the country

Long Campaigns need money
- takes a lot of money to run for office partly because of long campaigns, this may put off well qualified candidates and mean those with the most Super PAC backing always win

Long Campaigns promote trivialisation
-The media focuses more on the character of the individual than his or her policies. Style over substance

Long Campaigns promote tribalism
-lengthy campaigns heighten divisions and disunite the USA. Unhealthy partisan divisiveness in the USA


How could presidential campaigns be shortened?

Reduce the number of unpledged delegates, this will mean there will be less fringe candidates

Have regional primaries at fixed times, group states together better

Move the Electoral College vote to an earlier date to shorten the lame duck period, let the winner just get on with it.


How can it be argued that presidential campaigns are not too long?

1) In a country as diverse and large as the USA long campaigns are necessary and desirable

2) long campaigns allow public recognition and participation

- candidates become familiar to voters throughout the USA, This is especially important for challengers to incumbent Presidents who, after 4 years in office have a natural advantage in term of public recognition.

-the primaries system allows voters to have a say, this may take longer but is fundamentally more democratic than an election that is only a few weeks long like in the UK.

3) long campaigns allow effective SCRUTINY

-if the candidate has the stamina to last the election, they may be an effective President

-if a campaign was shorter scrutiny would be a lot less and crucial weaknesses may only be found out when a candidate gets into the White House
e.g. Rick Perry was leading the race for the GOP nomination in 2011, 12 points ahead of Mitt Romney, however he forgot the third federal agency he would abolish in a televised debate and said 'oops' he couldn't come back from that

4) a long campaign is good for the political education of the electorate

5) This system allows a level playing field, no chance of a snap election in US politics.

length of elections may be a virtue


What is the issue with some states being primaries and other Caucuses?

the lack of a single process can be seen as undemocratic


How could you argue primaries are not democratic?

Turnout is very low, rarely above 20%, 30% was the record in 2008 but that is hardly outstanding

Democrats use superdelegates, but they have always gone the same way as the public vote


How can you argue that primaries give a greater choice of candidates? give examples

There were 6 candidates in 1968 and 20 in 2016, many candidates are considered 'outsiders' like Clinton, Reagan and Carter as well as Obama and GWB to an extent

In 2008 neither of the eventual winners of the primaries had been front runners or the preferred party choice - the selection of Obama and McCain reflects democratic process.


How could you argue that Primaries provide a good test of a candidate and their fundraising? give examples

1) drop outs
2) finance
3) winning over those you were against

Many weaker candidates drop out after a few primaries (Guiliani 2008, Rick Perry 2012, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina 2016)

However, Carter's residency shows that primaries do not always pick the best qualified candidates, primary process lacks peer review and the media focus means they are 'beauty contests'.

Many candidates drop out due to fundraising difficulties- Elizabeth Dole 2000 dropped out 'money became the message' Tom Vilsack 2007 said 'money and only money' was the reason for his withdrawal. It could be argued its undemocratic that fundraising is important in primaries.

In 2016 the NNCs were held in July to allow the candidates more time to fundraise for the election

However, in 2016 four other leading Republican candidates had raised more money that Trump by the time they dropped out (Bush, Carter, Rubio and Cruz)

The primaries can challenge the candidates in terms of winning over other candidates supporters. The 2012 attacks on Romney in the primary campaign weakened his presidential run, even though his opponents eventually endorsed him. Clinton failed to win over Sanders supporters in the 2016 campaign.

However, the bitterly personal 2016 Republican race appeared not to damage the GOP, they won the Presidency and Congress.


How could you argue that the system of primaries is too lengthy and expensive? Give examples

Drawn out battles weaken parties and candidates campaigns, e.g. GHWB 1992, the media focus means telegenic candidates tend to do better.

JFK declared his intention to run 66 days before the first primary, Obama declared 332 days before the first primary. Ted Cruz announced on the 23rd March 2015 for the election in November 2016

Trump has already started fundraising for 2020

However, in 2016 the parties were able to control the primary calendar to privet front-loading- the California primary was not held until June 5th and this was when Clinton won the nomination.


Why did a buzz build around the 2008 GOP NNC?

Palin was announced 3 days before and this built a buzz. McCain saw a 6 point bounce after the convention

NNCs can prove important in closely fought elections like 2008


Where were the 2016 NNCs?

Dems- Philadelphia Pennsylvania
GOP- Cleveland Ohio


Where were the 2012 NNCs?

DNC North Carolina
RNC Florida

neither of the parties won the state they held their NNC in that year.


What happened that was weird at the RNC in 2012?

Clint Eastwood ad libbed at a chair.


What was FECA (1974) designed to do?

stop quid pro quo corruption (giving money directly to politicians), fat cat donors would not be able to be relied upon in elections any longer. It also aimed to equalise the money spent by both parties. Hard money was limited to $1000 per candidate from an individual and $5000 from a PAC per candidate per year

This meant All Pressure Groups, Unions ext set up PACs


What did Buckley v Valeo (1976) rule?

That it is unconstitutional for the spending of PACS (political action committees) or individuals to be restricted as it violates first amendment rights as money was linked to speech. Although this ruling limited hard money spending it meant personal spending could not be limited

This meant Pressure Group spent the majority of their funds as soft money and ran issue ads as independent expenditures to oppose or support candidates


What is soft money?

Congress weakens the FECA and allows parties to raise money for things such as voter registration, get out and vote drives and 'party building activities' FECA did not limit soft money or independent expenditures.


What happened with Willie Horton?

It was an independent expenditure aiming to undermine Michael DuKakis, however, it backfired and made the GOP look racist.


Give four restrictions introduced by the Bipartisan campaign reform act (McCain-Feingold Act) (2002)

1. National parties are no longer allowed to raise 'soft money'

2. 'stand by your ad' provision, this is why they say 'I'm... and I approve this message'

3. Banned contributions from foreign nationals

4. can't show independent expenditures during an election campaign

BCRA therefore stopped independent issue ads, but ads paid for by 'hard money' were still allowed


How has the BCRA been circumvented (2 ways)?

527's circumvent the BCRA as they can run issue pacts
for example, Swift boat veterans for truth against Kerry in 2004

Obama did not take federal money and was therefore not subject to limits on spending, now nobody takes money fem the federal government.


What were the two significant developments in Obama's fundraising?

1) raised big money through small internet donors

2) was the first ever candidate to not take the federal matching fund which meant his spending wasn't limited. Now nobody takes the matching fund. He forewent the $84 million dollars but raised $150 million in September 2008 alone


What did citizens united v FEC (2010) rule?

That corporations have political free speech- the same rights of unlimited public expenditure, after this political advertising exploded

The court overturned the BCRA ruling that issue ads couldn't be shown within 60 days of an election


What can super PACs do?

What can't super PACs do?

get unlimited donations to spend on eliminating or promoting a candidate, as they have freedom of speech they can spend as much as they like.

cannot make direct contributions to a candidate or party or coordinate with candidates


What three things does Super PAC spending in 2012 show?

a) 78% of money was spent on negative campaigning

b) In equality of resources, the 3 biggest PACs spent 48% of all PAC money

c) Super PACs can dominate elections. However, they may not matter, in 2016 Clinton had all the Super PAC backing


What was the cost of the 2008 election compared to the 2012 election?

$1 billion 2008
$6 billion 2012


What is an unconnected PAC? give an example of one

a PAC that is not linked to a pressure group

e.g. EMILYs list (Early Money Is Like Yeast)
support pro-choice female Democrat candidates


Most pressure groups have PACs, what do the Pepsi PAC do?

donate 50/50 to Democrats and Republicans, but donate to those they think will win so they exert a lot of control in congress


What did the Koch brothers do to Trump in 2016?

They have a big right-wing super PAC
They are ideological and in 2016 refused to back Trump
They have pledged $600 million against Trump for 2018


What was the limit for individual donations under FECA, what is it now?

$1000 originally
BCRA $2000
now $2700

this is because it is index linked


How many PACs are there in the USA, why will they never be properly regulated?


it is not in politicians interest to properly regulate them


How have donations changed?

Before 1971
PGs, TUs, Business donate directly to the politicians, quid pro quo corruption

Watergate, government is Corrupt

TUs, PGs, Business donate to PACs which give money to politicians, you could give 5k per campaign and 25k per politician

Now Super PACs, unlimited contributions unlimited spending


How much super PAC spending did Clinton and Trump get in 2016?

Clinton $200 million
Trump $75 million


What effective TV ad did President Johnson use against opponent Barry Goldwater?

Daisy Girl


What is a 501(c)(4)?

an organisation may directly or indirectly support or oppose a candidate as long as such activities are not a substantial amount of its activities. There are no spending limits and they do not have to disclose their donors (they can take money from foreign nationals).

ACLU and the NRA are both 501(c)(4)s


What did McCutcheon v FES (2014) rule?

The supreme court upheld the limit on the amount an individual can donate ($2600 per candidate per campaign) but struck down the limit on the total amount that could be donated

This means very wealthy individuals can now donate to as many candidates as they choose


What was the Democrats strategy under Dean in 2006?

Dean's 50 state strategy, campaigned in all 50 states


How much did the 2008 election cost, how much of this was advertising money?

$800m on advertising


What is a 'war chest'?

the financial backing a candidate has


How much was Kellanne Conway's polling firm paid in 2016?

$2 million
pollsters are very important

changes in elections mean higher costs

campaigns must now use campaign consultants, media and image advisors and pollsters


Name a battleground state in 2016?



Where did Bill Clinton base his campaign instead of DC?



What happened with Meg Whitman?

She tried to become governor of California and spent $130 million of her own money (she founded ebay) but she lost to Jerry Brown who only spent 25m.

money doesn't always lead to success


How much did Clinton raise compared to Trump?

$498m Clinton, $245m Trump
yet Clinton lost


Were McCain and Dole well funded?

no and they lost


How could you argue that fundraising only reflects a candidates popularity but does not drive it?

Obama was able to outspend McCain simply because voters were willing to donate to his campaign


How much of his own money did Ross Perot spend?

$65 million


Why does the electoral college exist?

If offered a institutionalised role for the individual states in sleeking a president

It allowed states to determine for themselves who could or could not vote

It represented a check on the electorate, the USA had a large electorate for the time


What are the criticisms of the electoral college?

1. faithless electors

2.The winner of the popular vote can lose the election due to the 'winner takes all' system

3. minor parties can get a big proportion of the popular vote but no ECVs

4. If no candidate has won half the ECVs, the choice between the three leading candidates is made by the House of Representatives and the VP is decided by the Senate. This could create a situation where the President and Vice President are from different parties


How many more votes did Clinton win than Trump?

Clinton 48.2% of the vote
Trump 46.1%

Clinton won 2.9 million more votes


What are the obstacles to reform of the electoral college?

1) GWB and Trump owe their victories to the electoral college. If the GOP support reform they deny the legitimacy of these administrations

2) Changes requires a constitutional amendment, not all states are going to want reform as it may not give them as much power

3) There is little agreement about an alternative style of election


Theoretically how many states could you win the Presidency on?



When citizens vote they do not elect the president directly. They are really voting for an elector. How many electors are there?


Each state has one per representative and one per senator as well as three for Washington DC


Which two states do not have a 'winner takes all' system for the electoral college?

Maine and Nebraska
In these states, the electoral votes are divided among the candidates


What did disgruntled democrats try in terms of the electoral college in 2017?

Tried to stop Trump being elected, he is the sort of demagogue that the framers created the electoral college to stop. Dems saw result as unfair


What was the electoral college vote difference in 2016?



How many voters in how many states lost Hillary the election?

100,000 in three battleground states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania)

She spent no money in Wisconsin and Michigan


In 2012 what percentage of all election spending happened in just 10 states?



How many faithless electors were there in 2016 and hence what was the actual result?

one voted for Bernie Sanders
304-227 as opposed to 301-232


What would the Automatic plan do the electoral college? What are the problems with this?

Eliminate faithless electors, electors would have to automatically vote for the person who won the state. 26 states already have laws to make electors do this

It's unconstitutional, The founding fathers created the electoral college because they wanted electors to be free agents and have debate and discussion. The Supreme Court would strike this plan down.

Faithless electors are not really a problem as they have never changed the result, although they could have in 2000.


What would the Main system do to change the electoral college? Why will this not be adopted?

It eliminates the winner takes all system issues. In Maine and Nebraska the elector is awarded to the candidate who wins each congressional district and the extra two are given to the winner of the popular vote in the state. The system is not winner takes all but is split and arguably fairer.

Would have to get 48 states to change laws or have a constitutional amendment - either of these things are difficult.

Big states are unlikely to want it as having big blocks of electoral college votes gives them power, e.g. California has 55 ECVs

This system helps third party candidates, this is bad for a presidential election

This system is not desirable for the main parties as it makes winning elections harder, Romney would have won in 2012 under this system and GWB still would have won in 2000, so it doesn't really eliminate the electoral college problems


How many ECVs does California have?



How would the Direct Election system change the electoral college?

Gets rid of the electoral college
Person who wins the popular vote wins the Presidency, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore would have been Presidents

It would definitely require a constitutional amendment. Parties wouldn't like it as it would allow third parties to be a threat.

States wouldn't like it as it would get rid of state borders in elections. This would discriminate against small states as despite population they are guaranteed 3 electors. Small states would lose power so they wouldn't back a constitutional amendment. Presidents wouldn't visit small states, it may also favour the democrats who do better in big cities and places with large populations. Recounting would also be very tricky.


What would the proportional system do to the electoral college?

It is like the Maine system but done proportionally


Why will the electoral college not be reformed?

People in power benefit from the Electoral College


How many votes were in it for the 2000 election?

537 votes in Florida decided this election


What Winston Churchill quote about the electoral college is there?

The electoral college is the worst was of electing a President, except for all the others


How many times has the winner of the popular vote not been president?



What was Bush called when he began his Presidency because of his electoral college win?

'commander in thief', lacked legitimacy


What faithless elector example is there from 2000?

One DC elector abstained as opposed to giving her vote to Gore as she should have done


Why is a winner takes all system good?

Gives a President a good mandate


Is it bad that the system is unfair to third parties?

Not really, you can't have a proportion of a Presidency


Why is Iowa's ethanol production subsidised?

First caucus


When was the Iowa Caucus in 2008?

3rd January


How did Obama's role in Iowa and New Hampshire help him?

Obama won Iowa and reduced Clinton's lead in NH to 3%

This gave him the momentum to go from being an outsider candidate to a frontrunner, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine after this and received 1million dollars in donations per day


What happened in the New Hampshire primary in 2016?

Sanders got 60% of the vote
Trump won with 35% of the vote


Is the New Hampshire primary open or closed?

this adds the test of which candidates appeal to unaligned voters


Name two states that have only 3 ECVs?

Wyoming, Alaska


What is the difference between California and Wyomings number of ECVs compared to people

Cali, -55 ECVs -34 million people
Wyoming -3ECVs -500,000 people

California has one ECV for every 617,000 people
Wyoming has one ECV for every 165,000 people

If California received ECVs at the same rate as Wyoming it would have 205 ECVs not 55 ECVS

A persons vote in Wyoming is worth 5 times a persons vote in California


How did Clinton distort the vote in 1996?

49% of the vote but over 70% of ECVs, won by small margins in some states


In how many elections 1960-2000 were faithless electors involved?



How much did Super PACs spend in 2016?

1.1 billion


How did super PACs come about?

BCRA outlawed issue ads within 30-60 days of an election

Overturned by citizens united v FEC 2010

Super PACs can find issue ads as long as they don't coordinate with a candidates campaign


What is bundling?

Common cause oh claims this is how the majority of election finance is raised

Bundle donations together

George Tsunis, Obama tried to get him to be ambassador to Norway


What was the biggest spending Super PAC in 2012, 2016?

2012 Restore our future $142 million for Romney

2016 Priorities Action USA $133 million for Clinton


How much money did Meg Whitman spend on her bid to be Governor of California?

144 million

Lost to Jerry Brown who only spent $25 million


What percentage of money went to incumbents?



How much money did Jen Bush have in donations and Super PAC money compared to trump in the primaries

Jeb $150 million

Trump $51 million


Who won more states but not ecvs?

FORD 1976


How many more votes did Clinton win than Sanders?

4 million


What percentage of the finance Obama and Romney had was spent in just 10 states?



Turnout at 2008 Primaries?

30% record high


What bounce did Gore get in 2000 after his NNC?

17 points


How do common cause PG suggest the vast majority of campaign finance comes from?