Review the two types of campaigns in American politics—nomination campaigns and election campaigns.
1. Nomination Campaigns = intra-party elections to win the party's nomination.
2. Election Campaigns = general election to win public office.
Describe the role of campaign strategy in winning a nomination to elective office.
Success in the nomination game generally requires money, media attention, and momentum. Candidates attempt to manipulate each of these elements through campaign strategy.
Identify the general characteristics of presidential candidates.
Presidential candidates need to be risk-takers; they need enough self confidence
to put everything on the line in pursuit of the presidency.
Describe and evaluate the caucus and primary methods of delegate selection.
1. Party caucuses:
At one time, all states selected their delegates to the national convention in a meeting of state party leaders. Today, caucuses are open to all voters who are registered with the party.
2. Presidential primaries:
Today, most of the delegates to the national conventions are selected in presidential primaries, in which voters in a state go to the polls and vote for a candidate or for delegates pledged to a candidate.
Contrast the American primary system of nomination with those of other nations such as Great Britain.
Unlike Britain—where campaigns are limited by law to five weeks—a presidential candidacy in the United States needs to be either announced or an "open secret" for at least a year before the election.
Trace the historical evolution of national party conventions as nominating vehicles for presidential candidates.
The goal of the nomination game is to win the majority of delegates' support at the national party convention.
Consider the ways that high-tech campaigning has changed the nature of American politics.
1. Television is the most prevalent means used by candidates to reach voters.
2. As one of its most important uses, computer technology targets mailings to prospective supporters.
3. The internet and use of social media is used to target supporters for campaign donations.
Identify the key actions that candidates must accomplish in order to effectively organize their campaigns.
1. Line up a campaign manager.
2. Get a fund-raiser.
3. Get a campaign counsel.
4. Hire media and campaign consultants.
5. Assemble a campaign staff.
6. Plan the logistics.
7. Get a research staff and policy advisors.
8. Hire a pollster.
9. Get a good press secretary.
Examine the growth of PACs and their impact on modern campaigning.
1. PACs have proliferated in recent years and play a major role in paying for expensive campaigns. PACs contributed $178 million to
congressional candidates for the 1992 campaign.
2.. Critics of the PAC system believe that this has led to a system of open graft. They fear that the large amount of money controlled by
PACs leads to PAC control over what the winners do once they are in office.
Assess the crucial role of money and technology in American campaign organizations.
Does money buy victory?
1. Money is crucial to electoral victory. In this era of high-tech politics, pollsters, public relations people, direct-mail consultants, and manyother specialists are crucial to a campaign.
2. Perhaps the most basic complaint about money and politics is that there may be a direct link between dollars spent and votes received.
3. Herbert Alexander refers to "the doctrine of sufficiency" to describe the idea that it is more important to have "enough" money than to have "more" money—enough to compete effectively but not necessarily more money than the opponent.
Analyze the role the media play in influencing the style and substance of
The media turns the presidential campaign into a horserace by focusing too much on poll predictions rather than reporting on the candidates' positions on the issues.
Discuss the three effects that campaigns have on voters: reinforcement, activation, and conversion.
1. Campaigns can reinforce voters' preferences for candidates.
2. They can activate voters, getting them
to contribute money or become active in campaigns.
3. They can convert by changing voters' minds.
Evaluate whether the "openness" of the American style of campaigning leads to a more democratic system or a less democratic system of government.
The process has also led to what some call "the permanent campaign." Some analysts believe the process of openness placesnumerous demands on citizens; many are overwhelmed by the process and do not participate.
Assess whether or not American presidential elections lead to an increased scope of government.
1. Because states are the key battlegrounds of presidential campaigns, candidates must tailor their appeals to the particular interests of each major state.
2. Candidates end up supporting a variety of local interests in order to secure votes from each region of the country.
3. The way modern campaigns are conducted is thus one of the many reasons why politicians always find it easier to expand the scope of American government than to limit it.