AP Government sample essay

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527 Organizations- organizations that raise and spend money to advance political causes Blanket Primary- a primary election in which each voter may vote for candidates from both parties Caucus (electoral)-

Closed Primary- an election in which voting is limited to already registered party members Coattails- The alleged tendency for candidates to get more votes in the election because their at the top of the ticket. general election- held to choose which candidate will hold office gerrymandering- drawing the boundaries of legislative districts in bizarre or unusual shapes to favor one party incumbent- The person already holding an elective office independent expenditures- spending by political action committees, corporations, or labor unions that is done to help a party or candidate but is done independently of them malapportionment- drawing the boundaries of legislative districts so that they are unequal in population open primary- a primary election in which voters may choose in which party to vote as they enter the polling place political action committee- set up by a corporation, labor union, or interest group that raises and spends campaign money from voluntary donations reapportionment-

position issue- an issue about which the public is divided and rival candidates or political parties adopt different policy positions primary election- held to choose candidates for office prospective voting- voting for a candidate because you favor his or her ideas for handling issues retrospective voting- voting for a candidate because you like his or her past actions in office runoff primary- A second primary election held when no candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first primary soft money- funds obtained by political parties are spent on party activities, but not on a specific candidate sophomore surge- an increase in the votes congressional candidates usually get when they first run for reelection valence issue- An issue about which the public is united and rival candidates or political parties adopt similar positions in hopes that each will be thought to best represent those widely shared beliefs

Five differences between congressional and Presidential campaigns are Presidential races are much more competitive
A smaller portion of people vote in congressional races during off years than vote for the president. Members of congress can do things for their constituents that a president cannot A candidate for congress can avoid being held accountable for the “mess in Washington” More voters participate in congressional elections

The five tasks that one must complete in order to run for the presidency is Get mentioned as someone who is of presidential caliber
-travel around the world making speeches like Ronald Reagan which will put you on the radar. Shoot for over 12 in a day Devote lots of time!
-Many candidates devote countless amounts of time, in terms of years. It is especially important to start sooner if you are not already known. However, you must be smart about your spending because you don’t want to go broke before the general elections begin! Try devoting a good four- six year of campaigning like Ronald Reagan.

Get Money

-You need a certain amount of money in order to get your name on the radar. To be eligible for federal matching grants to pay for primary campaign , you must first raise at least $5,000 in individual contributions of $250 or less in twenty states.

Get Organized

-You will need to raise a ton of money in order to campaign efficiently, but in order to do that, you will need a support system. Getting organized by hiring lawyers, accountants, a press secretary, travel scheduler, advertising specialist, direct mail company, pollster, volunteers and fundraisers will help the candidate stay on top of their game plan.

Pick Strategy and themes

-Choose your game plan wisely. Whether or not you are an incumbent should also determine what strategy a candidate chooses to take. You must also consider such factors as what type of tone your campaign will have, whether or not it will have a theme, timing, and what audience you would like to target. Incumbents are reelected to Congress over 90 percent of the time Seats are apportioned in each House of Congress according to Article 1 section 2 in the Constitution District boundaries can profoundly affect the outcome of the election due to problems of malapportionment, which is when one district is significantly bigger than than the other, requiring more votes in order to elect a representative. Gerrymandering was also an issue for it draws boundaries in odd shapes which in turn favors one party over another. The four problems to solve in deciding who gets represented in the

House is Establishing the total size of the House

Allocating seats in the House among the states
Determining the size of congressional districts within states

Determining the shape of those districts

A candidate wins a party’s nomination by gathering enough voter signatures to get on the ballot in a primary election. They win their party’s nomination by getting more primary votes than the next candidate. Seats are reapportioned every ten years.

In 1964, the Court ruled that the constitution requires that districts be drawn so that as nearly as possible, one person’s vote would be worth as much as another. Incumbents have the advantage of reelection in Congressional elections Due to the sophomore surge, members of Congress get 8 to 10 percent more votes than when they were first reelected. Two consequences of how congressmen/women are elected are that it produces legislators who are closely tied to local concerns and second, it ensures that party leaders will have relatively weak influence over them. Local orientation of members of congress has important affects on policy making for example, if you have a representative in a certain committee of Congress, your state has a higher chance of directly benefiting from whatever it is the committee can provide. Delegates tend to value reelection over anything else and seek out committee assignments and projects that will produce benefits for their districts.

On the other hand, trustees will seek out committee assignments that give them a chance to address large questions that may not even affect their districts. What works in a primary election may not work in a general election, and vice versa, in part because different elections or caucuses attracts a different mix of voters. The Iowa caucus is the first real test for candidates, so any slip at this caucus is a major disadvantage to the candidate due to the media attention and contributor interest. Primary voters tend to be more ideologically polarized than the average voter. Position issues are issues that are addressed during a candidates running for office in which he or she must make a stand on. These issues tend to share opposing views for the rival candidates and may also split the voters opinion. For example, in the recent election of Obama and Romney, tax cuts and the Obama medicare plan proved to be position issues. Valence issues do not require one to take a side, rather it involves an issue in which everyone agrees, regardless of party identification. For example, in the Romney and Obama election, stronger education and school systems proved to be a valence issue. Television, Debates, and direct mail may influence campaigns in a variety of ways.

Depending on the type of person who is absorbing the spots, visuals, and debates. For example, visuals and television newscasts may give the viewer less information than commercial spots. Visuals in some cases on the other hand, can be a vital part in a campaign because they cost very little and as news they may have greater credibility with the viewer. There are two different kinds of elections: general and primary. Primary elections are held to see who shall be nominated to run in the general election as a candidate, and the general election chooses who will take office. Some are closed while others are open,so one may have to declare in advance that they are registered to vote or you can go to an open primary where you decide which party’s primary you would like to participate right there and then.

A presidential primary is used to pick delegates to the nominating conventions of the major parties. Candidates can get around “slips of the tongue” by relying on stock speeches. Since the 1960’s, television was used as a form of contesting campaigns and used largely to conduct campaigns. The internet made possible sophisticated direct-mail campaigning which in turn makes it possible for a candidate to address specific appeals to particular voters easily and rapidly solicit campaign contributions Sources of campaign money for members of Congress come from their own pockets, private sources, or is raised from individuals, interest groups, or the political parties. For presidential candidates, money sources comes from private donors and the federal government, whereas Congress candidates rely on themselves or private sources to donate.

Major Federal Campaign Finance Rules

-contributions and expenditures reported to FEC
-Anything over $100 must be disclosed with name, address, and occupation of contributor
-Nothing over $100
-no ceiling on how much candidates may spend out of their own money
Individual contributions
-can’t give more than $2,000
-no gifts exceeding $95,000 every two years. $37,500 goes to candidates
Political Action Committees
-each corporation, union, etc may establish one
-Must register 6 months in advance, have at least 50 contributors, and give at least 5 candidates
Ban on Soft Money
-no union or corporation can give away own money from treasury to any national party
Independent Expenditures
-corps, unions, associations, can’t use own money to fund electioneering communications referring to candidates sixty days before gen.
Election and 30 days before primary -PACs can fund electioneering up to their limits

Presidential Primaries
-Federal matching funds can be given to match individual contributions up to $250 or less -candidate must raise $5,000 in 20 states, with contributions of $250 or less
Presidential Election
-gov will pay all campaign costs up to legal limits of major party candidates and part of the cost of minor party candidates. The 2004 presidential election was unique because of the following factors: the war in Iraq, Bush running for second term which gave him an up in the electoral votes, Bush and Kerry won the same states that Bush and Gore won in 2000, and also because of the high voter turnout. Minor-party candidates can get federal campaign money if they have won at least 5 percent of the vote in the last election. This has only happened once in 2000 The 1973 Campaign Finance Law created the problems of independent expenditures and soft money.

The three changes to the Campaign Finance reform act was the banishment of soft money, raising the limits of independent contributions from $1,000 to $2,000, and it sharply restricted independent expenditures made by corporations, labor unions, and trade associations by restricting these organizations from using their own money to mention a clearly identified federal candidate in advertisement 60 days prior to the general election and thirty days prior to the primary election A suit formed against this law and stated that restricting an organization from mentioning a candidate prior to general and primary elections was a violation of freedom of speech. The Supreme Court upheld almost all of the law and stated it was not a violation.

The NORC analysis states that if the recount of votes in Florida had not been halted by the U.S Supreme Court, Bush still would have won, also if hand counts in only four heavily democratic Florida counties had been was granted, Bush still would have won. However, if the same “equal protection” standard the U.S Supreme Court wanted to use but said there was not enough time, Al Gore would have won 527 Organizations are allowed to spend their money on politics as long as they don’t coordinate with a candidate or lobby directly with that person During peacetime, the state of the economy, the political party affiliation, and the character of the candidates generally decides who becomes presidential

The pocketbook vote is the idea that the party holding the White House during good economic times will do well, however if the economy is not doing so well, neither will the party. It is hard to determine who’s pocketbook the voting does because how a person is doing financially will sway their vote on how they believe the good or bad economy will affect them. Besides money, religion, abortion, political reporting, and the vice-presidential nominee does not make much difference in the outcome of the election It is easier for incumbents to raise money because they are already well known to begin with, they can provide services to their districts, send free mail to their constituents, and can get free publicity by sponsoring legislation or conducting an investigation

The Republicans won nine presidential elections between 1968 and 2000 because democrats are not as committed to their parties as republicans are, Republicans have a higher percentage of independent voters, and there is a higher percentage of Republicans voting in the elections. A citizen does not need to be well informed politically to play an important in elections because despite the lack of knowledge in a certain field of politics, citizens ten to know more about the things that interest them. If it was a requirement for every citizen to be so well informed, citizenship in itself would be an occupation, taking up more time in people’s lives than they would want. A prospective voter is forward thinking. They consider both sides of views, including the opponent, and cast their votes for the person they feel will handle the matters more effectively. Perspective voters might focus on big issues such as abortion, nuclear energy, or school busing.

A retrospective voter thinks backwardly, meaning they look to the recent past to determine whether or not the economy is doing well. If the economy is doing well, retrospective voters tend to vote for the party that currently occupies the White House, however if the economy was sour, these voters vote against the party in the White House. A prospective voter would focus greatly on economic issues, such as inflation.

Campaigns make a difference in elections by reawakening partisan loyalties of voters, giving voters the chance to see how candidates handles pressure and how they apply it, and campaigns also allows voters to judge the character and values of a candidate. Thematic campaigning, negative ads, and the demands of single issue groups have impacted elections in the decision making process of the “right” candidate during the primary. A loyal coalition of democrats would be African Americans. In almost every election, two-thirds or more vote democratic A loyal coalition of Republicans would be

The most loyal members of political parties does not have the most influence because they typically make up a small portion of the electorate. It is very hard to determine how a policies will be affected by elections is because there are so many offices to be filled and the ability it unite political parties under one policy is weak.