AP Gov: Unit 2: Linkage Institutions: Elections & Voting, Parties, Campaigns, Interest Groups, Media

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Linkage Institutions

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Linkage Institutions

  • Connect people and government

  • News, elections, parties, media, interest groups

  • Impact what people know

  • People can use to influence politics

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Political Engagement

  • Anytime a person tries to influence political action

  • Indirectly shapes policy (design of politics

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  • Most common form of participation

  • Conventional + Direct

  • Difficult to determine turnout

  • VAP (percent who can vote that did vote)

    • Useful, but ineligible voters not included

  • Voter eligibility

    • Solved issues with VAP by adding all eligible voters

    • Difficult to calculate

  • Registered population

    • Counted all that were registered

    • Registered voters are more likely to vote, which skews the data

  • Those who vote are focused on by polling companies

  • Likely voters

    • Educated, more income, registered, older, black, female, married, urban

    • Concerns of non-voters usually not adressed

  • Most choose based on party ID

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Conventional Participation

  • Ordinary, easy, legal political participation

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Direct Participation

  • Political participation with a specific impact

  • Will or will not succeed

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Money + Time (participation)

  • Conventional + Direct

  • Money goes to political candidates

  • Not as common

  • Many people contact officials directly

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Civil Input (participation)

  • Conventional + Direct

  • Letters, town meetings, lobbying

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  • Unconventional + indirect

  • Not always illegal

  • Applies pressure to political actors through media pressure and salience

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Direct Action

  • Unconventional + indirect

  • Also known as civil disobedience

  • Illegal, but peaceful

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  • Unconventional + indirect

  • Direct action but harmful

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Informal political participation

  • Talking with friends about politics, political conversations, etc.

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  • Run by states/localities

  • The right to vote is not guaranteed by Constitution

  • The government does not have the power to regulate voting

  • Congress can control how states run elections

    • 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments (race, gender, income, age respectively)

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Voting Rights Act

  • Comes from Congress’s powers (can prevent discrimination by 15th amendment, can stop states from denying rights like the right to vote, can regulate elections)

  • Prevents vote dilution

  • Enforcement

    • Person being discriminated against can bring civil action lawsuit

    • Government can sue states

    • Pre-clearance

      • List of troublesome states

      • Must get approval from senate before changing voting procedures

  • Section 2 and 5 prohibit race-based gerrymandering

    • These sections have an implied requirement that minorities at a certain percent of the popualtion must get one majority district

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Vote dilution

  • Attempt to make someone’s vote not count

  • Ex. Putting more voting places in non-black neighborhoods

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Other achievements of voting legislation

  • Mail-in voting, disability access, overseas voting, early access voting

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NVRA 1992 (National Voting Registration Act)

  • People have frequent interactions with the government

  • This act required the government to let people register to vote whenever they interacted with the government (driver’s license, medicare, etc.)

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HAVA 2002 (Help America Vote Act)

  • Bad voting machines were used in 2001, made the election uncountable

  • This act forced states to update their mechanisms

  • It was very expensive

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  • Drawing voting districts to manipulate voting

  • Can occur as packing or cracking

  • It happens in all democracies

  • Recent changes in computing and data collection have made voters behavior more trackable and this more accurate

  • New districting policies are used by states to do this

    • Bipartisan committee, state courts, interest groups

  • Incumbent is generally favored using this

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  • Occurs when one district is drawn for one demographic majority, and multiple are drawn for another

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  • Occurs when a demographic or party is split among many districts, getting no majorities

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Baker v. Carr

  • Congressional seats are not always proportional to the amount of seats in Congress

  • States are not required to use an equal population

  • Some voters disadvantaged (urban populations higher with less representation)

  • Tennessee residents sued in the south on violations of the 14th amendment and Article 3 Section 2 of the Constitution

  • Supreme Court agreed with Tennesseeans

  • Forced states to redistrict

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Shaw v. Reno

  • Gerrymandering lawsuits were common by this time

  • North Carolina drew its 12th district along a highway that snaked through the state that had numerous black voters on it

  • Black voters sued, thought they were being disadvantaged, sued for packing

  • Supreme Court sided with black voters, said districts couldn’t be drawn solely on the basis of race

  • 14th, 15th amendments used, as well as VRA

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Rucho v. Common Cause

  • Math modeling used with new technology

  • Shows the evolution of gerrymandering

  • Difficult to measure extent of gerrymandering

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Negative incentives against voting

  • Opportunity Cost

  • Information Cost

  • Political efficacy

  • Voters overcome these barriers

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Civic Duty

  • Moral/individual duty to vote

  • Used to surpass negative incentives

  • Belief that you should vote in order to uphold democracy

  • Incentivizes most, even low efficacy voters

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Types of elections

  • Presidential has most turnout

  • Midterms are lower that presidential (higher information cost)

  • State level typically lower

  • Initiatives/referenda depend on situation

  • Primaries very low

  • Turnout in general is very low

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Retrospective Voting

  • Voting based on how the previous administration handled their job

  • Pocketbook voting most common

  • Sometimes based around foreign policy

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Policy Voting

  • Those who vote based on a candidate’s policy preferences

  • Single issue voters

  • Not as significant today

  • Voters must have clear sense of policy positions

  • Voters must know where candidates stand on issues

  • Voters must see where candidates differ on issues

  • Voters must cast a vote for candidate they favor

  • Most know candidates but fail to vote

  • Sometimes complicated (multiple policies)

  • Candidates often make policy positions clear (more straightforward and clear)

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Aspirational Voting

  • Those who vote for people that inspire them

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Oppositional Voting

  • Those who vote against people they dislike

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Thermostatic Voting

  • Those who vote to get the current party out of power

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Candidate Evaluation Voting

  • Those who vote based on the character qualities of candidates

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  • Non party-ID voters can determine the outcome of an election

  • This occurs to these voters by both parties

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Median Voter Theory

  • A spectrum of candidates and voters exists

  • Voters vote for the candidate closest to them on the spectrum

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Valence Issue

  • Political issue on which everyone agrees

  • No unique positions can be taken on these issues by politicians

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Non-salient issues

  • Political issues that are only important to a select few

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Position Issue

  • Issue that politicians use to differentiate themselves from other candidates

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  • Nominates people for office

  • Tries to control policymaking

  • Defined by policy goals, not ideology

  • Only goal is to get candidate to win

  • Inevitable in democracy

  • They are used by political actors to push policy goals

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Party in the electorate

  • Party uses “heurisitc cues” (voters know which policies candidates support based on the party they identify with, makes voting simpler, less information cost)

  • Party image (values/symbols)

  • Party platform (what the party wants to do)

  • Party coalition (groups/organizations similar to the party)

  • Try to get public support for the party

  • Spectrum of supporters (low/high intensity identifiers, party officials, elected officials)

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Party as organization

  • Local organization raise money for the party

  • State organization organize state elections

  • The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are held to organize party

  • Recruit/nominate candidates (go out and find those who are interested)

  • Raise money and fund campaigns

  • Catalog information about voters

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Party in government

  • Coordinates policymakers

  • Committees are manipulated by party officials in government

  • People are nominated to higher office

  • Strong members of the party coalition are empowered

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Control of the party system

  • No formal requirements for parties

  • Senate and HOR determine how committees work, rest left to parties

  • Electoral college reinforces dominance of two party system

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Responsible Party Model

  • Clear, unified agenda for each party

  • Differentiate themselves from other party

  • Must follow through on policy goals

  • Not always accurate (people don't always vote based on policy)

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Duverger’s Law

  • In a winner takes all, 3rd parties detract from the side they are closest to by taking votes

  • 3rd parties can expose divisions and catalyze realignment

  • They are not long-lasting

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Changes in parties

  • Party and leadership changed to facilitate party goals

  • Change positions after major events

  • Realigning moments change parties

  • Campaign/media technology has improved and changed parties

  • Changes in nomination/voting law can change

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Party system

  • Stable demographic set who votes for one of two dominant parties

  • Consistent policy/ideological stances are used to appeal to people

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First Party System

  • Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans

  • Cleavages in region

  • State powers, France + England, NA relations, slavery, expansion controversial

  • Newspapers used

  • Candidates didn’t do much

  • Caucus system

  • Electorate limited to white voters

  • Fractured by Jackson

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Second Party System

  • Democrats vs. Whigs

  • Western farmers, immigrants, urban workers, enslavers are all new groups

  • Slavery, westward expansion, banking, and tarriffs were controversial

  • Electorate was expanded to all white men

  • Fractured by the Civil War

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Third Party System

  • Democrats v. Republicans (from now on)

  • Industrial working class, free black men in the electorate (black men limited after reconstruction)

  • Social/technological change, organized labor, immigration, monopolizaiton, imperialism controversial

  • Telegraph, trains for campaigning

  • Fractures because of economic problems of farmers

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Fourth Party System

  • Progressive and non-progressive wings in each party

  • Inconsistent ideoloically (tried to appeal to as many people as possible)

  • Low polarization

  • Economic intervention/immigration controversial

  • Women added to electorate

  • Yellow press, new tools for campaigning

  • Fractures because of Great Depression

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Fifth Party System

  • White voter cleavages

  • WWII, CW, Red Scare

  • TV, Radio

  • Primaries cemented

  • Fractures because of Vietnam War

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Sixth Party System

  • Urbanacity cleavages

  • Evangelism grows

  • Immigration, LGBT rights, welfare reform controversial

  • Conservative domination

  • Cable TV, parties more complicated

  • Campaigns more effective and expensive

  • Fractured by Social Media and Trump

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Seventh Party System

  • Trump/Obama

  • LGBT issues very important

  • Swing states and polarization

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Party Network

  • Funding groups, interest groups, community leaders

  • Empowers and enhances the party

  • Connects people to parties indirectly

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Party Money

  • Campaign funding from party very important

  • Donations are recieved and funneled towards worthy candidates

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Nomination/Selection process

  • Nearly impossible to seek office without assistance from party

  • Primaries mobilize voters early

  • Databases are used to help campaigns

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Party in the legislative branch

  • Congress leadership is distributed by party leaders

  • Party leaders give out positions, pass bills, etc.

  • Party priorities control legislators

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Parties at the state/local level

  • Very important to candidates at local level

  • Expand party network, create organizations

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  • Right to vote

  • Almost everyone over 18 has it

  • Exceptions: non-citizens (banned at state level) and convicted criminals (differs based on state)

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Political Efficacy

  • Belief that ordinary people can influence government

  • Convinces people to go to polls

  • Those with a low amount of this are less likely to vote

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Voter Registration Laws

  • Laws that require individuals to place their name on an electoral roll before voting

  • Harder to vote more than once, but has discouraged many from voting

  • Different laws in different states

  • Used to be strict in the South (court ceremony during business hours)

  • Polemical Issue

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Motor Voter Act

  • 1993 act

  • Made voter registration a lot easier (states had to include registration on driver’s license application)

  • Not very successful at increasing voter turnout

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Rational-Choice Theory

  • Explains political processes and outcomes

  • Political actors have goals and pursue them sensibly and efficiently

  • Voters want to maximize odds that policies they want get passed

  • Parties want to win office

  • Party must select policies that are widely favored, and if they do they should be more successful

  • Must stick to moderate policy in order to gain appeal

  • Parties must develop individual identities to appeal to adherents

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Party Identification

  • Preference for one party or another

  • Has decreased recently (more independents)

  • Younger people more likely to be independent

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Ticket Splitting

  • Voting with one party for one office and the other for another office

  • Voting for some Republicans and some Democrats

  • Leads to more uncertainty for how a region will vote

  • Even if a party has a big edge in a state, it may lose some seats because of this

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National Convention

  • Meeting of party every 4 years

  • Writes party platform, nominates candidates for president and vice president

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National Committee

  • Leaders of the parties that come from states

  • Lead the party between conventions

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National Chairperson

  • Director of each party

  • Organize party

  • Spend lots of money

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New Deal Coalition

  • Group of voters strongly in favor of Democratic ideals and New Deal policies

  • Mostly urban dwellers, labor unions, catholics, Jews, the poor, and African Americans

  • Mostly make up Democratic coalition today

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Party Dealignment

  • Recent trend

  • Disengagement from politics (less party identification)

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Third Party

  • Linkage institutions that fall outside of the normal parties

  • Rarely win elections, but can set foundations for future parties (ex. free-soilers)

  • Some promote certain causes or extreme ideologies

  • Some are offshoots of the major parties

  • Some are extensions of a popular individual

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Blue Dog Democrats

  • Democrats that voted against Obama’s economically liberal plans

  • Fiscally conservative, socially liberal

  • Demonstrates how people in power use their own discretion

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  • Organized attempt at winning an election

  • Some ground rules

  • All offices have different rules and strategies

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Campaign Technology

  • Campaigns driven by technology

  • Social media, online fundraising, direct mail, polling

  • Need money and experts (candidates too busy)

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Direct Mail

  • Mail sent to voters

  • Technology gives campaigns voter information

  • Mail can targeted at certain groups

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Campaign Cycle

  • Idea that campaigning never ends

  • When one race ends, the next starts

  • Invisible primary (always trying to ensure renomination)

  • Must constantly outperform others

  • Officials must split time between their duties and campaigning

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Nationalization of politics

  • Officials must appeal to national issues, even at the local level

  • National issues more polaized

  • Congressional races affected especially

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Campaign Staff

  • All campaigns need a professional staff

  • Campaign managers, finance managers, organizers

  • Used for digital marketing, direct mail, polling, and policy research

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Media Battle

  • Fight for positive media attention

  • Free Media: Attention, not paid

  • Paid Media: Payments for ads, AKA air war, very important to win elections

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Field Battle

  • Fight for recognition

  • Canvassing, rallies, speeches

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Digital Battle

  • Must deliver a message

  • Make sure candidates and the policies they support are known

  • Strike down negatives

  • Strike down opponents

  • Incentivize your voters, decentivize other voters

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Campaign War

  • Four pronged battle for media, field, finance, and digital recognition

  • Strength in all battles is needed for success

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  • Extremely important, finance fuels campaigns

  • Small donors: small periodic donations, contacted through email

  • Large donors: lump sums

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Call Time

  • Calling voters directly

  • Very important for getting small donors

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Congressional Campaigning

  • Most Congressional seats are safe (seats reps/dems will always win)

  • Incumbents have a huge advantage (known, have fundraising, have party connections, have lines gerrymandered)

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Wave year

  • Years where one party wins a bunch of seats in Congress

  • Lowers incumbent advantages

  • Usually midterms (people have an idea of how successful current party is)

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Congressional Midterms

  • Mostly thermostatic voting

  • Lower turnout

  • High political efficacy are overrepresented

  • Ballot shared with local elections

  • Party may intervene for close races

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Campaign Finance

  • Individuals can donate directly

  • Donations can come from parties/PACs, which come from individual donations

  • Modern campaigns extremely expensive

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Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)

  • Defined political entities (PACs, campaigns, parties)

  • Placed limits on individual contributions

  • Campaigns can accept a limit on donations

    • If they do, they get a federal bonus

  • Expenditure limits on campaigns

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Federal Election Commission (FEC)

  • Established by FECA

  • Committee of 6 (3 reps, 3 dems)

  • Monitor donations/expenditures by campaigners

  • Mandates campaign reports

  • Investigates infractions of finance law

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Buckley v. Valeo

  • Challenge of FECA

  • Argues that spending money is an act of free speech

  • FECA is unconstitutional

  • Split decision

    • Big donations might be seen as corruption and can be limited

    • Limits on self-donations removed (impossible for there to be corruption)

    • Expenditure limits struck down

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Post-FECA changes

  • Theory arises that money always finds its way into campaigns

  • Hard money: money people can spend directly on campaigns

  • Soft money: money given to parties/PACs that is then passed on to campaigns

  • People turn to soft money after FECA

  • Independent supporters can accept unlimited contributions

  • Party committees can bring in money

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  • Passed in retaliation to soft money rise

  • Modernized FECA

  • Regulated individuals, PACs, parties, and campaign expenditures

  • Ads had to claim ownership (powerful regulations)

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Citizen’s United v. FEC

  • Citizen’s United created documentary defaming Clinton family leading up to 2008 primary

  • Stopped and sued by FEC (corporations regulated by FECA/BCRA

  • Ruled that spending from corporations is also free speech and can’t be limited

  • Uncapped donations are only corrupt if money goes directly to the campaign

  • Led to development of SuperPACs

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  • PACs not legally allowed to affiliate with campaigns

  • Can accept unlimited contributions

  • End up interacting with campaigns anyway (rules are vague)

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Importance of donations

  • Biggest spender doesn’t always win, but usually does

  • Large donors give huge advantage

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527 Groups

  • Can take unlimited donations

  • Must be about a specific issue

  • Can coordinate with candidates, but can’t make supportive ads

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Presidential Campaigns

  • Permanent campaign (invisible primary)

  • Incumbent not usually challenged for renomination

  • Fundraising must be built early

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Presidential Nomination

  • Official endorsement of a candidate for office by a party

  • Requires money, media, and momentum

  • Each state sends delegates to national convention

  • Delegates vote for nominee

  • Whoever wins gets nomination

  • Primaries are main way delegates are chosen (popular vote)

  • Caucuses: mini-debates, informal voting

  • Candidates must win support of delegates in each state (delegate chase)

  • Early states are very important

  • Super Tuesday (lots of states hold primaries at same time)

  • Delegates typically bound to vote how they say they will

  • Republicans have fewer delegates

  • Republicans choose delegates based on winner-take-all system, Democrats choose based on proportianate voting

  • Delegates typically vote how they say they will

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Frontloading Problem

  • States start primaries really early for media attention

  • Candidates who win early get attention

  • States get fundraising

  • Some worry it rushes voters and campaigners

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