The Election Process
I. Entering the Race
a. The American political system depends on people voluntarily running for office.
b. This requires huge amounts of money, time, and effort.
c. Campaigns may begin as many as two years in advance.
d. Candidates need many sources of campaign donations.
II. The Early Party Caucuses
a. State parties have caucuses or primaries. Caucuses are meetings of interested party members. In primaries, people vote their preference of nominee in an election.
b. The two major party primaries and caucuses determine the party nominees for president. State party organizations choose delegates to attend the national party conventions.
c. Traditionally, the first tests of candidate appeal have been in Iowa and New Hampshire. Good results in these states can give a candidate momentum.
III. The Primaries
a. Most states have primary elections.
b. Primaries can be either open or closed.
c. Tradition: state primaries follow the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses.
d. However, many states have tried to move up their state primaries to earlier dates.
IV. The National Conventions
a. Major party national conventions are largely “party pep rallies”. There is little suspense about the nominations.
b. At the conventions, nominees make an acceptance speech, and name their vice-presidential running mates.
c. The conventions also determine the final party platforms.