US Gov 2 - The U.S. Congress Part 1: Running for Office I....

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The U.S. Congress Part 1: Running for Office What is an electoral system? -a voting system, the procedures that determine how people are elected to office, these rules can be how the ballot is structured and how the winners are chosen II. The U.S. Lesislature in Comparative Perspective A. Some international examples Parliamentary System- Proportional Represenation-tends to represent a majority of the citizens (Open List-get to vote for either party or a person, Closed List-even smaller parties get representation, vote for parties, Choice Voting-rank your candidates in order of preference) Multi-member Districts- Cumulative Vote- based on points, choose to distribute votes evenly or unevenly Single-Member Districts “First-Past-the-Post”-idea that there is a certain district, and you get one vote, the candidate who wins only needs 50% +1 of the vote, many countries like USA, UK, and Canda use this system, shared view of former British colonies B. The US Congress Bicameralism- number of representatives for House of Representatives based on population, counted every 10 years, winner take all system creates feuds on how big states are drawn, creates members that are less diverse and less influenec in politics Singele-Member Districts-tend to favor two competing representatives for 50% +1 of the vote, results in disputes over the drawing of district lines III. Running for Congress: What matters? A. Incumbency-when you are already holding for office, in many cases incumbents win 80-90% of the time. Incumbency matters because of pork-barrel politics, there are many committees for senators to add certain benefits or opportunities, that bring benefits for certain districts Party discipline is weak, it is hard to enforce that members will vote a certain way Franking priveliges-ability of incumbents to send mail to potential voters, allowed to show your district government-funded mail about happenings in Congress Incumbents have better access to the media and people know their name Better ability to raise money, studies show more money = more votes Incumbents have the ability to draw districts, so they benefit from that B. Safe Seat vs. Open Seat Safe seats are when a seat has no incumbent, so the race gets heated C. Money Matters It takes millions of dollars to run for Senate or the House, a certain man spent $62 million to run for a seat in New Jersey D. Candidate Quality-we give the benefit to experienced candidates, we like people who have records in office
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IV. Implications for the US Congress What are the implications of incumbency? It favors the powerful elite with loads of money and ideas and opinions are slow to change due to the process Representation I. Introduction Ask questions of how do we assess our representation and what we expect of them II. Types of Representation: Descriptive Representation Texas- most people are in the 40-70 year old range, so the views don’t favor younger people, additionally it is predominantly white, only 20% women
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US Gov 2 - The U.S. Congress Part 1: Running for Office I....

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