Newest Assignments and Dates (If assignment is online it shall be stated below)

  • 03-17-2008 - 03-21-2008 -Spring Break (FREEDOM)
  • 03-21-2008 -Art History Outline and images
  • Still during spring break: Read Lord of the Flies for techniques/devices, 3 allusions due.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Government -Chap 5-Module 3

The Electoral College
-Deciding how the president would be elected caused a lot of debate:
-Information was too hard to disseminate to the entire country
-Did not want congress to directly elect the president
-Believedelections held in each state assembly would just result in nominating a "favorite son"
-All led to electoral college
-Constitution says that a group of representatives, electors, from each sates and the District of Columbie shall assemble every fours years for presidential election
-Number of electors is electors is equal to the number of congressman for each state
-Supposed to vote according to the will of their constituents
-Constitution originally required each electors to vote for two separate candidates
-The highest one would be president the second place winner would be VP
-12th ammendment in 1804 changed this
-All but two states have a winner-take-all system
-Main and Nebraska split their votes based on the candidates statewide performance
-Electors meet six weeks after the popular vote to vote
-There are a total of 538 votes
-If no candidate gets 270, the House determines the winner
-Has happened only two: 1800 and 1824
2000 Election:
-Al Gore won popular vote, but Bush got the electoral vote
-Criticism of Electoral College:
-Large states have more influence
-Small states feel ignored
-States that have a dominent political party have greater power
-Easy to find a winner
-Recounts are rare
-Maintains a two-party system
-Popular Vote:
-Many candidates
-The winner would be unlikely to receive more than half all votes
-The president would hardly be one that could clam his election was a "mandate" from the people


Primaries, Caucuses, an the Conventions

    • Process is done through primary election:
      • Most common:
      • Three types:
        • Open: Voters can cast ballots for a candidate from any political party
        • Closed: Voters may only vote for candidates representing the political party with which the voter is registered
        • Blanket: Candidates from both parties are listed on the same ballot
    • Caucuses:
      • Selected members of a political party represent the voters will
        • Only 12 states use
        • Corrupt wrought by political machines stopped
  • Primaries and Caucuses:
    • Iowa Caucus/New Hampshire Primary:
      • Held in late January or early Feb.
      • Those who do well will gain momentum and get a boost in support
      • Critics believe that the two states hold too much power the elections
      • Elections suffer because many candidates withdrawn after doing poorly at these elections
    • Super Tuesday:
      • Second Tuesday in March
      • Clear favorite in front
      • Trailing candidates will usually withdraw
      • Critics:
        • Early timing: Extends the length of the campaign forcing candidates to need more money
        • Voters lose interest with the extended election time
        • Voters will their vote is worthless because those voting at the end will already have a single candidate singled out
  • National conventions:
    • Held for two reasons:
      • Party platform: Set of directions, values, and tenets the party believes in, and intends to promote during the remainder of th campaign
        • Create unity
        • Establish agenda
      • Candidate selection:
        • Official nomination of party's presidential and vice presidential candidates:
          • Vote taken among delegates, which cast a vote for the candidate selected in the states primary of caucus
          • If the vote does not get a winner a second vote is taken in which the delegates can vote for who ever they want
          • A mere formality


General Elections:
  • After convention the candidates are ready to go
  • Tuesday after the first Monday in November
  • Debates, maneuvering, posturing, and posing takes place
  • Most elections feature an incumbent against the challenger
  • Incumbents Presidents:
    • Advantages:
      • Free press coverage
      • Acting presidential at national and international conferences and meeting to present themselves as confident and capable
      • The can improve image through crisis management
      • Credit claiming, when they get credit for positive events they may or may not have influenced
    • Disadvantage:
      • Blame for economy
      • Endure policy criticism
      • Approval rating decreases over term of office
  • Challengers:
    • Advantage:
      • Able to attack the presidents policy record
      • Promote their own political record
      • Momentum from primaries and caucuses hat can fuel a challenger's surge in polls
      • Extensive media exposure in the true primary
      • Claim of being Washington outsider to get the trust of those who don't trust the government
        • Carter and Clinton
    • Disadvantage:
      • Difficult to raise money for campaign because people are less willing to sponsor an uncertain campaign
      • Have not been able to prove they can succeed at a national and international level
      • Regionalism: Identified with where they come from
      • Third party candidates


Horserace reporting: Practice that occurs in the media where candidates must finish in the top three of the primary to continue to receive media attention

Government -Chap 5-Module 2

-Congressmen not considered a career early on
-Now highly sought after
-80-90% of house elections are won by incumbents -usually succeed
-Sophmore Surge: Candidates with modereate success during first term can win 8-10% more votes
-More prevelant in house than senate
-Senates: More obstacles
-Less individual time with voters
-Instituants spread thourgh whole state rather than just a district
-Better chance:
-Voters think they will be reelected and vote for them anyways
-97-98: PAC: Donated 158.3 million donations to incumbants and 21.4 new runners
-Free publicity:
-Press conferences
-Congressional speeches
-Introduction of bills
-Junkets intheir home districts
-Free postage:
-Point acheivements
-Stress policy making records
-Highlight any porj-barrel legislation brought into district
-Pace work: directly helping people
-All candidates must focus their energy on motivated voters: Only 37% of people vote during non-predential yeat elections


House and Senate Elections:
-535 people in house and senates
-435 people are in the house
-1929: number reached 435 and it was decided to keep that number
-The number of electors per states is determined by the population porpotions
-it is determined every 4 years
-Must live in distrcit they will represent:
-Must meet constituants: Gender, ethnicity, party identification, policatl experience qualifications
-How they meet these states determines how well they match representing the district
-Marginal districs:
-Winner typically wins less than 55% of the vote
-Safe distrcits:
-Winner gains more than 55% of the vote
-Number of reps. not regulated by the constitution, the senate is:
-Every 2 years 1/3 of the seat go up for election
-Campaigns cost 5-7milion dollars
-Everytime a seat opens there is crazy compitition for the seat
-Which every party has the most reps. in the congress controls it

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Cost of Elections:

  • Rare for an individual to run successfully by merely collecting signatures and placing his or her name on ballot
  • Must be able to spend money to really run
  • Election costs continually increase due to the amount of time and effort needed for a successful campaign
    • Result in a need for greater fund raising
    • Need ample funding because candidates must build a campaign organization as ell as create campaign exposure
    • Other costs include legal and accounting fees and interest on loans taken out
    • Create Exposure:
      • Travel to meet with voters and interest groups and create materials such as signs, fliers, letters, and media advertisements
        • Little evidence that tv ads actually work
        • Increasing exposure allows name familiarity, which translates to a better chance of being elected
        • Work to receive publicity by making newsworthy appearances in their community
      • No apparent correlation between the amount of money spent and election
        • In presidential the big spender does not always win
        • Congressional elections: amount of money spent can increase chances of election
      • Employ a variety of fund raising tactics to finance their campaigns
        • Direct mail: Works if targeted at people with views similar to the candidates
        • Hold dinners, speeches, or rallies
        • Seek financial aid from interest groups and Political Action Committees
          • Interest group: organization of individuals with similar policy goals who enter the political process to influence legislation that affects the organization's interest
            • Two types:
              • Institutional Interest Groups: Organization represented in Washington by another individual or organization
              • Membership interest group: Organization that represents a specific group of people
            • Fund campaigns, provide testimony for campaigns, and recruit members to volunteer for candidates (electioneering)
              • Have become Political Action Committees
                • Purpose is to raise and distribute funds to advocate the political goals of its members
                • Public has a negative view of PACs and interest groups
                • Many feel that they are buying votes
                  • PACs say that they are gaining access to the system to achieve a voice in public policy
Campaign Finance Reform:
  • Enacted campaign finance reform due to criticism directed toward interest groups
    • Passed in 1971, 1974, and 1976
    • Limited PACs to only donating $5,000 to candidates
    • Soft money: Given to parties for general use (McCain-Feingold Act)
    • Buckley v. Valeo: Set precedent regarding PACs
      • According the the first amendment PACs have the right to spend money indirectly to support a candidate
    • Federal Election Commission: Independant agency of the executive branch.
      • Made of 6 members
      • requires time disclosure of campaign finance date, paces limits on campaign contributions and campaign expenditures, and provides public funding
      • Mandates that contribution f more than $5,000 must be reported within 48 hours of its receipt
      • gives public funds to presidential campaigns
        • Candidate may not spend more than the subsidy and may not accept campaign funds from any other source
        • A minor party candidate: To be eligible the party must be listed on the ballot and poll at least 5% on the voes on the last election

Campaign Finance Reform: The political effort to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns.
Direct interest group involvement in the electoral process. Political Action Committees (PACs) participate in electioneering by helping to fund campaigns, providing testimony, and recruiting members to volunteer for candidates.
Federal Election Commission:
A six-member bipartisan agency created by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974. The FEC administers campaign finance laws, enforces compliance with their requirements, and provides public funding for several parts of the presidential election process.
Fund raising Tactics:
Strategies that political contenders use to raise money for their campaigns. Direct mail, rallies, and seeking financial aid from interst groups are examples of fundraising tactics
Institutional Interest Group:
An organization represented in Washington by another individual or organization. For example, the Ford Motor Company, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have representation in Washington lobbying for benefit of their organizations.
Interest Group:
An organization of individuals with similar policy goals who enter the political process to influence legislation that affects the organization’s interests.
Membership Interest Group:
An organization that represents a specific group of people. For example, the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) lobbies for individuals over age 65.
Political Action Committees:
When a corporation, union, or some other interest group becomes directly involved in the electoral process by funding campaigns, providing testimony for campaigns, and recruiting members to volunteer for particular candidates, called electioneering, they become a Political Action Committee (PAC). The main purpose of a PAC is to raise and distribute funds to advocate the political goals of its members.
Publicity: Free news coverage that political candidates try to gain by making newsworthy appearances in their community in order to create exposure for their campaigns.
Soft Money:
Political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grass-roots level (buttons, pamphlets, yard signs, etc.). Soft money is sometimes used to advance a particular political campaign in such a manner as to skirt the legal limits on how much money individuals or organizations are allowed to contribute to political campaigns. Unlike money that goes to the campaign of a particular candidate, such party donations are not subject to contribution limits.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

AP Government-Chap. 5-Key Terms

The key terms on the quiz for Chap. 5:

Chap. 5 Key Terms

Keeping a list of key historical terms for each chapter will provide you
with a good review tool for exams. A few key terms from this chapter have
been provided for you here, and you should identify other key terms from
the chapter that are important. For each term, note the definition as well
as the term's historical significance.

* Olson's law of large groups
* Public interest
* Collective good
* Right-to-work law
* Retrospective voting
* Civic duty
* Mandate theory of elections
* Subgovernments
* Initiative
* Class action lawsuits

AP Government-Chap. 4-Writing Assignment

Here's the prompt for the Chap. 4 FRQ:

Answer the following question in a short essay. You should take approximately 25 minutes to write this essay
and it should be approximately 1-2 pages in length. Be sure to be specific
using terms and vocabulary from the Chapter. Also be sure to use specific
examples that are relevant to the question. Click on the View/Complete link
below to submit this assignment.


As more Americans identify themselves as Independents and a dealignment
is taking place away from the major parties, the 3rd parties take on new

a) List and describe two advantages that 3rd parties offer to voters in
the United States.

b) List and describe two disadvantages that 3rd parties create for the
political system.

Good luck as always!