Dynamics of the Contest
Candidates who begin the election year as leaders in the public opinion polls frequently
go on to win nomination.
o This pattern prevailed from 1936 through 1968, was interrupted in four Democratic
contests between 1972 and 1992,
Comparative Political Parties
Number of Parties
1. Two Party vs. Multiparty systems
a. 2 party- 3rd parties relatively unsuccessful
i. Most English speaking countries
1. US, UK, Australia, Canada, Austria
ii. Only 6/21 democracies
b. Multiparty- rare for
1. Party identification
a. More widespread than ideology
b. Often begins at early age, often stable
2. The party identification concept
a. Psychological attachment only
b. V.O. Key standing decision
a. Michigan measurem
1. Parties are linkage institutions
b. Link individuals to policy makers, allow citizens to influence government
c. Interest groups are also linkage institutions (also media?)
2. What are political parties?
a. Classic 3-part defini
1. Group Support for Parties and Presidential Candidates
a. Social Class
i. Lower SES (socio economic status) more Democrat, upper status more
i. Lower third more Democrat, upper third slight Republican advantage
ii. Democrat advantag
a. About performance of incumbent administration
b. Concern with past as predictor of future
c. Focus on outcomes or ends
i. Key economic question is how prosperous is the economy?
e. Unlike prospective voting
1. Discouragements for Third Parties
b. Party loyalty
c. Rewards with major parties
i. Bernie running with democrats
d. Other election laws
e. Primary elections
i. Usually cannot get through
f. Public finance presidential elections
i. In order to get
History of US Parties
1. Factions late 1700s
a. Federalist/Anti-Federalist, 1788.
i. Feds wanted to adopt new constitution, wanted strong government
ii. Anti-Federalists liked the status quo, did not want a strong central government
or new constitution
State and Local Party Organization
1. Political Machines
i. A political machine is an organization (political party) that operated outside of
government but often controlled it
b. First Urban Machine
i. Tammany Hall, New York City, late 1700
1. What motivates (mostly unpaid) party activists?
a. Material incentives
i. Tangible rewards, usually monetary. Historically the prime inducement.
2. Stepping stone to elected office
a. Learn the ropes, get to know people
The Nomination Campaign
The nomination campaign is a winnowing process in which each of the two major
parties eliminates from the pool of potential candidates
As political scientist Austin Ranney pointed out more than thirty years ago, the
The National Convention and Nominating Ticket
The National Convention
No part of the selection process has undergone more dramatic change than the nominating conventions.
Long the province of party leaders, todays conventions are largely media extravaga
bears little resemblance to what the Founders outlined in the Constitution.
Most of the changes have been extraconstitutional
o evolution of political parties, media practices, and citizen expectations rather than
Financing Nomination Campaigns
It is essential that candidates for the nomination raise funds early.
They can qualify to receive federal funds
o match individual contributions of $250 or less if they can raise $100,000 in individual
Media Influence and Campaign Consultants
For most of us, the combination of media coverage and media advertising is the
campaign; few voters see the candidates in person or involve themselves directly in
campaign events, wrote Marjorie Randon Hershey.
National Parties and Selection Process
National Party Conventions
What developed was the party nominating convention, an assembly made truly
national by including delegates from all the states.
Influence over selection of the party nominee therefore shi
Personal Characteristics of Candidates
Although millions meet the formal requirements for president, far fewer meet the
criteria that have guided past choices.
Most constraining have been the limits imposed by social conventions on gender and
Presidents Formal and Informal Powers with Congress
Messages to Congress and Agenda Setting
State of the Union
Sets the national agenda
Outlines the presidents priorities for Congress
About of the significant bills that are passed by Congress are
Reasons for Conflict in the Presidential Congressional Relationship
The Separation of Powers
Essentially, the President lacks complete control of his own branch.
Congress has control of most of the Executive Branchs departments
Rules and Requirements of Running for Election
The formal rules of qualifications
are minimal and have been remarkably stable over time.
three requirements set forth in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.
1) One must be a natural-born citizen,
1. What is a Strong Party?
a. Measured via organizational features
i. Stronger parties have larger budgets and more full time paid staffers
1. Party organizational strength
2. Work to register voters, educate about party candidates, and get them