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Elections and Campaigns

Elections and Campaigns

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Elections and Campaigns

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  1. Elections and Campaigns Money in Electoral Campaigns

  2. Money in Campaigns • Political campaigns cost a lot • Particularly true in recent years • Political machines don’t supply workers & expensive media

  3. Can Money Buy Elections? • In 29 presidential elections between 1860 & 1972, the winner outspent the loser • Doesn’t necessarily mean money=votes (popular candidates who look like winners can raise more money than others)

  4. Money in Campaigns • Nixon outspent George McGovern in ’72 but almost certainly would have won even if spent less • Most studies on the effect of money on elections has been done on congressional races

  5. Money in Campaigns • How much an incumbent spends is of little importance • However . . . higher spending by the challenger produces more votes • Spending can overcome the natural advantages enjoyed by incumbents

  6. Sources of Campaign Money • Candidate themselves • Other well-to-do people • Organizations & interest groups • Small individual donors • Federal government

  7. Candidates • The Supreme Ct. has held that spending one’s own money in campaign activity is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment • However—this spending can be regulated if the candidate receives public funds

  8. Other Well-to-Do People • Give for ideological reasons, ambition, prestige or power • Traditionally, some high federalappointments, especially ambassadorships, went to campaign contributions

  9. Other-Well-to-Do-People • 1974 campaign finance reform law limited to $1,000 the amount any individual could contribute to any single candidate in any one federal election

  10. Organizations & Interest Groups • Motivated by material interest in a policy area, such as milk producers, doctors, etc.) or by a liberal or conservativeideology • Political action committees (PACs) can be set up to solicit contributions from donors & contribute sums of $5,000 per candidate per election

  11. Organizations & Interest Groups • PACs have produced a great increase in the total amount of business & labor spending on elections • Business spends more than labor • This doesn’t necessarily give Republicans an advantage

  12. Federal Government • In presidential primaries, federal government will match the money a candidate raises (in amounts of $250 or less, up to a limit of $5 million) • In the presidential general election, candidates of “major parties” get full federal support

  13. Federal Government • A candidate who accepts federal funding cannot accept private donations • Minor parties, if they obtain at least 5% of the vote, also get federal funding

  14. Effects of Campaign-Finance Laws • (1) Candidates who are personally wealthy have an advantage, as do candidates who can appeal to many small donors • (2) Candidates have to spend more time on fund raising to appeal to a large group of small donors

  15. Effects of Campaign-Finance Laws • (3) Incumbents will continue to enjoy a substantial advantage in fundraising • (4) Late starters will be at a disadvantage • (5) Political parties are weakened because funding goes to the presidential candidate & not to the party

  16. Effects of Campaign Finance Laws • (6) Role of celebrities in politics will increase because they can stage benefit concerts to raise money for the candidates