April 13, 2010
It was expected that there would just be a “bunch of different candidates” and that none would
get majority. Idea was, top 5 would go to House of Representatives and they would decide.
In 1800s, there were nominating conventions where party leaders would choose that party’s
candidate and the people in the party would vote for him if they were okay with him.
Now, primaries exist. Parties don’t choose candidates on their own, but instead voters choose.
This way members of a party have a voice.
Up until mid-1900s, some states had primaries, and some had political leaders still choosing
Caucus vs. Primary, in primary you just go in and vote, caucus everyone discusses (more like a
meeting) and then you vote.
In 1968, there was a very controversial race for the democratic candidate. Anti-war candidates
won all the primaries. Party leaders didn’t want an anti-war candidate, so they picked Humphrey.
This basically led to the opening up to ordinary members, and an sharp increase in Presidential
primaries. Then, regular members were being chosen for delegates for Democratic National
Convention, and less political leaders. But political leaders wanted to be represented as
delegates. Super delegates – the decent amount chosen by the political leaders. However, in
2008, between Obama and Clinton, super delegates had hard time choosing for a while because it
was a very close race. Even if Obama could have won the race, the super delegates could have
chosen Hilary Clinton. But party leaders didn’t want it to look bad by Hilary Clinton winning
even if she didn’t win popular primaries.
Limit for public financing - $2000, inflation applied. Federal finance system- candidates get
‘matched’, the government matches all donations given to a candidate as long as they follow
certain rules. If candidates don’t accept federal funds, they don’t have to follow spending limits.
Nowadays, most candidates decline federal fund spending limits because they can raise more
than the spending limits (of usually ~$40 million).
Voter turnout has increased quite a bit. More and more people are participating in the nomination
process. Are all people treated equally in the nominating process? One big worry is the
sequential nature of primaries. Some states like Iowa have caucuses/primaries, and everyone else
watches to see who won. A lot of focus on candidates getting momentum. If candidates win at