Elections

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Elections and voting – presidential

|Stage |Functions |Occurs | |Primaries and caucuses |Show popular support for candidates |January – early June | | |Choose delegates to attend National Party | | | |Conventions | | |National Party Conventions |Choose presidential candidate |August/September (each last about 4 days) | | |Choose vice presidential candidate | | | |Decide on party platform | | |General election campaign |Campaign between the candidates of various parties |September, October and first week of November | |Election Day and Electoral College |Elect the president and the vice president |Federal law states the election shall be held on the| | | |Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every | | | |4th year |

Requirements for presidential candidate

Constitutional requirements:
• Natural born American citizen
• At least 35 years old
• Residency qualification of 14 years
• 1951 – limited president to 2 terms

Extra qualifications
• Political experience – presidents come from the pools of recruitment (vice presidents, senators, house representatives). This however is not always the case as Obama hadn’t even served a full term in the Senate, his ticket balanced him out because Biden had served almost over 36 years. For example Newt Gingrich who is a current Republican candidate was the former speaker of the House and a member of the House of Representatives. However political experience is not only factor as shown by how Hilary Clinton with her 7 years as first lady and 8 years in the Senate was beaten by Obama who only had 3 years in the Senate • Major party endorsement – no candidate from a third party has ever gained any substantial votes • Personal characteristics – good if you’re married. The only president who was a president that was not married was James Buchanan • Ability to raise large sums of money – Obama used the internet to raise donations. In 2007 Clinton raised $90 million, Obama raised over $70 million and McCain raised $28 million. However by 2008 Obama had raised a further $63.3 million. Only a few very wealthy independents can fund their own money – Ross Perot and Steve Forbes • Effective organisation – Bob Dole lost the election because of his poor organisation and Obama won his candidacy due to his strong organisation • Oratorical skills and telegenic

• Sound and relevant policies – candidate must have policies that are both practical and relevant

Primaries and caucuses

• Invisible primary – the period between candidates declaring an intention to run fort eh presidency and the first contests of the primary season. The invisible primary is said to be critically important for a candidate to gain recognition and money, and to put together the necessary organisation. There is often a high correlation between who wins the invisible...
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