Political Science 1100, Introduction to American Politics, March 3, 2014


Current Events 


Presidential Elections


    You have to win two games: the nomination, and the general election

    These games have two different sets of rules

A. To Win The Nomination,
    You Have To Win A Majority of The Delegates
    To The Party's Nomination Convention
    in the Summer before the general election


To Win delegates, you have to do very well in the
  Primaries and Caucuses


Turnout In the Primaries Is Low

    - about 20% of voters

 Turnout In Caucuses (like Iowa) is even lower.



Consequence: In Order To Win The Nomination, You Have To Win The Support Of Those Who Show Up in primaries and caucuses

These people tend To Be More Active In Their Party &
These tend to be people with very strong views - these tend to be "wingers" - that is, the more conservative Republicans, and the more liberal Democrats


Keys To Winning The Nomination:

- Organization,


            and "Momentum"

- Win Early And Often To Drive Out The Opposition


Key contests: Iowa, the first caucus

                        New Hampshire, the first primary



The 2012 Nomination


B. To win the General Election, you have to win 270 electoral votes


    What are electoral votes?


    How are a state's electoral votes determined?


    How do you win a state's electoral votes?


    Can you win a majority of the popular vote and lose the election?


    Who are the electors?



The 2012 General Election




Interest Groups

1. How Groups Influence Politics

a. Inside Lobbying: Providing Information for Making Policy


b. To Provide Information, Groups Must Have Access To Policy Makers


c. Outside Lobbying: Grassroots Advocacy


d. Litigation: Going to Court


e. Electoral Support


PACs (Political Action Committees)


Super PACS



2.  Political Consequences Of Interest Groups 


a. There Is A Temptation For Political Leaders
    To Trade Policy  for Interest Group Support



b. Private Benefits Tend To Crowd Out The Public Interest


The Media 

1. "Megamedia:" The Media Business


2. Media Biases


A.   Hype: Grabbing your attention



B.   Brief Stories



C.    Political Bias? Just Cynicism


The Media Campaign


Governing through Media