GOV 1359 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Sleep Deprivation, Great Transition, Indiscipline

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26 Jun 2018
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Road to the White House Lecture Notes
Lecture 1: 8/31/16: Introduction and Overview: Understanding Presidential Campaigns and
Elections in the US
Polls and such play a big role in elections
oMedia and the public use polls differently and show them differently
oMany problems with polls
Expert opinions and non-expert opinions play a big role
Econometric models can theoretically pick the winner
oNot necessarily accurate every time
Lecture 2: 9/12/16: The Origins and Evolution of the American Presidential Selection Process
Trends since we last met: Trump is gaining on Clinton but still losing
This is not a history class, but a studying the science of presidential elections and the art
of it
The Founding Fathers and Presidential Selection:
oIndividuals who met in 1787 to tweak the government that they had known
oFormed a government under the Articles of Confederation
It was not working
Government lacked authority and power
oRealized they needed to start from scratch
oThese were individuals who had practical and theoretical experience who lived
under the monarchy but also understood what a government who was too weak
was like
oExperiences shaped their view of government in general, and the Presidency in
particular
oVery well read men
Knew about the Roman Empire and other powerful governments
oIssues were over the selection of the president
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Proposed new plans
oSelection by legislature
This is a process of selection by experts
oSelection by the public
oThe Electoral College: a mixture of both
The Electoral College
oIt is truly a political compromise between a legislative vote and a popular vote
oIn a nutshell:
There are as many electors as there are members in the US Congress (535)
Recently the 23rd amendment added 3 for Washington DC (538 total)
Need half plus 1
Who are these people?
Cannot be electors
Typically are people chosen by the party in each state
Every party puts names of their electors and the winning party is
allowed those votes
Certificate of Ascertainment
The Electoral College: The Impact on Campaigning and Governing
oSwing states have shown trends to be the same states over the years
oPopular vote would change the way people campaign
Candidates would only go to big cities
oElectoral college usually exaggerates the margin of victory
oEnhances a mandate
Swing states are definitely sizable this year
Core Principles
oExecutive independence
oMinimize opportunities for corruption
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oBalance between small and big states
oRespect for and Fear of Popular Participation
Qualities needed to win the presidency?
oMany things, among requirements by the Constitution
What qualities does one need to govern effectively?
Does the current system help voters make an informed decision?
oOne person is always better than the other, does this system facilitate that?
Lecture 3: Seeking the Nomination: The Primaries and Caucuses: 9/19/16
1796 we began to see the rise of the two party system
“King Caucus”
oRoughly 1800-1828
oTwo factions that put forward nominees
oMembers of congress select their party’s nominees
Election of 1800
oSitting president running against sitting vice president
oThere was a tie
House then selects the president and the senate selects the vice president
Tie after tie after tie…
Election of 1824
The National Conventions (1832)
oFirst convention was of the democratic party
The Mixed System
o1912-1968
oCandidates enter primaries
oReal decision about nominations is still made at the National Nominating
Conventions
The Election of 1968
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