8 Steps to Electing a President

Step One: Organize and Planning
Constitutional Requirements
Three requirements
Age: 35
Citizenship: Natural born citizen
Residency: Resident of US for last 14 years
STEP 2: State Caucuses and
• Caucuses
– Purpose: Small meetings, where people come together to select delegates
– First state: Iowa
– Importance: as we have seen, Iowa can give a huge boost to a candidate
(Obama) or force people out of the race early (Biden and Dodd))
• Primaries
– State elections with in a party to get delegates support at the
national convention
• 3 kinds: open, closed and binding
– First state: New Hampshire
– Importance: weeds out candidates, proves who can win and where
Win Nomination at Convention
Purpose of convention: Choose party’s candidate
Where do we hold the convention: Big electoral state
Why: Get media exposure for party and candidate
What is the Platform Committee: Writes rules for convention and writes
the party’s stance on current issues (that is voted on by delegates)
Significance of the Keynote address: kicks off convention, sets tone and
exposes an “up and coming star” of the party
Selection of the Nominee: as many ballots as it takes to get the majority
support of delegates
Acceptance speeches: Accepts Picks the VP running mate
• Call for unity: get the party faithful fired up for the Fall election
Campaign against other Parties
• Formal start of the campaign : Kick off is the Labor
Day weekend: the beginning of September; 8 weeks to package the
• Time constraints: Campaign needs to decide its strategy for
winning the elections; where to campaign, how to spend resources;
swing states are states that can “swing” the election because they
have more electoral votes or independent voters that can be swayed
to vote for either party
• Use of Media: Decide how and where to spend money; ads,
radio, talk shows, TV
• Debates: A candidate has to decide if (s )he will participate; if so
when, where, the format.
General Election
• Day America votes: Presidential elections are
always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November;
every four years; always in even number years
• Voting: goes on all day and polls close at 8:00pm
• Exit Polls: gets info about how people voted as they exit
the polling place
• Media Coverage: As the east coast polls close,
broadcasting the outcome can affect the west where the polls
are still opened
Electoral College
• Electoral System: the people who really elect the president
• Number of electoral votes needed to win: 270
• Electoral votes by state: number of representatives and+ 2 senators
= electors
Each states sends electors from the winning party to the capitol to
vote for president on the first Monday after the 2nd Wed. in December
• Plurality vs. majority: Most popular vote vs 50% +1
• Problems with the system: Popular vote doesn’t win; electors
aren’t obligated to vote any one way; messy system if no one gets 270
electoral votes
Transition Period
• Lameduck President: Outgoing president
• President elect: Briefed by appropriate government
• Secret service protection: Full time police
protection for president and family
• Transition: Cabinet selected, inaugural address written;
starts putting the staff in place. An office and staff is provided
by the government
STEP 8: Inauguration
• When: January 20th
• Oath of office: Sworn in by Supreme Court Justice; gives the
inaugural speech to inspire the country, Parade, if weather permits, the
president and family walks down Pennsylvania Ave., assumes the job
• Inaugural Ball:
There are many parties that take place that
night; corporate sponsors; the president and VP and spouses go and
make an appearance at all of them.
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