Chapter08-ElectionsAndCampaigns - A.P Civics Notes Chapter...

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A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 8 “Elections and Campaigns” I. Presidential versus Congressional Campaigns 1. Elections have two critical phases—getting nominated and getting elected—and to win an election, one must develop a unique plan that would probably only work in the U.S. 2. In getting nominated in America, individual effort is greatly needed, whereas in Europe, it’s a party try. 3. Parties used to play a much bigger role in U.S. politics than they do now, where voters usually vote for a name, not a party (the opposite is true in most other Democratic nations). i. It used to be that party machines and/or caucuses could heavily influence or even select who their candidates would be, but with the decentralization of gov’t and the campaign reforms, campaigns have fallen more and more onto the candidates themselves, NOT the parties. 4. Presidential and Congressional races are different in important ways: i. Presidential elections are bigger and more competitive than Congressional races, but in Congress, incumbents (people already holding office) have huge advantages over newcomers. ii. During off years (no presidential election), much fewer people actually go out and vote. iii. Members of Congress can take credit for successes (even if they don’t deserve it) and communicate with their constituents much more directly than the president can. iv. Congressmen can deny responsibility for any messes or wrongdoings in Congress, since they tend to run as individuals, not as members of a party. 5. At one time, riding the coattails of a popular president could get politicians into office; these people would try to attach their name to the popular president somehow and hope that the people, seeing such names together, would vote for that politician as well (that’s not the case today). i. As a result, Congressional elections have become independent of presidential ones, and Congressmen can be elected even though other, more influential members of their party have drastically lost popularity. 6. In running for a presidency, one must “get mentioned,” or somehow have his/her name heard by the public, whether it is through the media, by making lots of speeches, by being associated with a
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famous piece of legislation, by being governor of a major state (New York, etc…) or by already being famous! i. It’s usually wise to set aside a lot of time to run for presidency, but some people have managed their campaigns while still holding office! ii. It takes a lot of money to run a campaign (the wealthier candidate usually wins). iii. A single individual can only give $1000 to a candidate, while a political action committee (PAC)—a committee set up by and representing a corporation, labor union, or other special interest group, can give up to $5000; to be able to get federal matching grants, one must raise at least $5000 from individual contributions of $250 or less in each of at least 20 states. iv.
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course USHIST 102 taught by Professor Smythe during the Spring '08 term at TCU.

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Chapter08-ElectionsAndCampaigns - A.P Civics Notes Chapter...

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