67: Dennis Johnson, "No Place for Amateurs"
68: William Eggers, "Government 2.0"
69: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, from Dirty Politics.
70: Ansolabehere & Iyengar, Going Negative.
71: Ceaser & Busch, "Red Over Blue" (Swift boats) [+]
72: Piven & Cloward, "Why Amer's Still Don't Vote"
Wash. Post, "Deadlock"  [Discontinued]
Sullivan & Cressman, "Const'n & Campaign Reform" [Discontinued]
Lani Guinier “The Tyranny of the Majority”. [Discontinued]
Frank Sorauf, "Inside Campaign Finance" [Discontinued]
Sabato & Simpson, “Dirty Little Secrets”. [Discontinued]
67: Johnson, "No Place for Amateurs"
By Maegan McCollum, Fall 2006 (another below)
Dennis Johnson talks about the numerous tasks that consultants perform for a campaign.
- By the 1990’s, political consultants were being used by not only presidential and state wide candidates, but also by candidates below the state-wide level.
What do political consultants do?
- They make the key decisions, determine strategy, develop campaign communications, and carry out campaign tactics for their clients.
- However, their influence goes well beyond getting candidates elected. They also play an increased role in ballot measures by helping clients determine ballot strategy, framing issues, and even providing the man-power needed to gather signatures for ballot petitions.
- Consultants bring direction and discipline to campaigns. They also take campaign burdens off the candidate.
- But that’s not all they do—consultants are responsible for the television and radio commercials that promote their candidate.
- Also, consultants bring experience from other campaigns.
For years, Americans without their knowledge had been exposed to the manipulating engineered by political consultants.
- Consultants who, in certain instances, reached fame at the expense of their clients.
- For example, when political consultant, Dick Morris, hired to help with Clinton’s 1996 campaign, was caught with his long-time prostitute girlfriend by the tabloid Star magazine, Clinton immediately cut all ties.
- At the same time, Morris received $2.5 million dollars to write a book about the campaign, and became a nefarious celebrity.
It was in the 1990’s that Americans began to wonder about consultants, and suddenly they became the main characters—with their world as the plot—in movies, documentaries, and books.
- Some examples are: the movie – Wag the Dog, documentary – The War Room, book – Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms.
However, despite the fact that some consultants became famous, most work behind the scenes.
Consultants both controversial and anonymous have become essential players in the fast paced world of modern elections—changing the face of the modern American politics.
67. Dennis Johnson, No Place for Amateurs
By-Aarendy Gomez, Fall 2008
*Dennis Johnson reveals the behind-the-scenes look on political consultants.
- In every political campaign, whether it is local, state, or national level; there is a professional consultant.
-During the election of Bill Clinton, Dick Morris, Clinton’s political consultant, became well-known for his scandal with a prostitute.* Dick Morris was known for his unseen political mastermind and his strategy.-Political consultants have manipulated many of the American people with their campaigns.
* Known as “the most influential private citizen in America.”
*Clinton accused Morris for getting rich and famous at his expense.
- Movies, books, and documentaries give you an understanding of how consultants work in the political world.*The War Room, Primary Color, The Perfect Candidate, Wag the Dog… are a few that gives you a glimpse of what professional consultants do.- When it comes to technology in the American politics, the consultants have been increasing knowledgeable on using technology for the betterment of their campaign.
-How the profession of political consultants rose over the years.* Earlier decades, campaigns were run by local or states political parties.- Political consultants play a role in determining how the ballot would end up.
*During the 1960’s, candidates go and seek the media in order to get their message across.
*After the 1960’s, profession in political management became a new industry.
*In the 1980’s, it was of the upmost important that candidates use the services of the political consultants.
*In the 1990’s local level candidates began to seek advice from professional consultants.
-They also find a way to have their message heard internationally.
-Having a consulting firm, would consider them as small business.*They have their ups and downs when it comes to finances.- Consultants are becoming more involved in referenda, initiatives, and issue management.
-The spreading of this industry, companies are able to be competitive with one another.
- Consultants have shifted their work to more of legislative and issues work.
-They tend to bring their direction and discipline to the campaign of their clients.
-What makes a political consultant the best, is how he/she determines how the race would end on their own terms.
-Consultants are experts when it comes to televising or playing the radio to get their campaign ahead.
- The dependence on a consultant can be expensive.
-Negativity upon the opposing candidate is not frowned upon if it results in a win.
-They also use “weapons” on a campaign such as communication through the television, radio commercials, direct mail pieces, and websites.
- The services of political consultants are greatly appreciated by Candidates who need their assistance.
- Political consultants have become the most important need for modern campaigns.
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68: William Eggers, "Government 2.0"
By Maegan McCollum, Fall 2006
William Eggers is the global director at Deloitte Research. He is also a nationally recognized expert on government reform. Dealt with: How has the internet changed political campaigning? In 1998, (former pro-wrestler) Jesse Ventura, an independent, won the Minnesota governors race. He began his campaign with no major party, no endorsements, and no public recognition of his ideals. In 2000, Senator John McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination. He pulled off a major upset victory in the New Hampshire primary. In the 2004 presidential election, Howard Dean went from long shot candidate with no money in his campaign to the Democrat with the most money, the most supporters, and the best polling numbers. Their success can be attributed to…the internet. Jesse Ventura pioneered the idea when he hired a webmaster and turned jesseventure.org into a virtual campaign headquarters. He used the site to gather contributions, over a third of which were collected online. The site also showed his policy positions, which caused everyone to take him more seriously. Ventura used the campaign to recruit, coordinate, and motivate volunteers, as well. Sen. McCain used the internet for a massive fund-raising push during the primary. His webmaster placed McCain banner ads on popular sites and about three percent of viewers who saw the ads visited McCain’s site—a much higher percentage than is obtained by most direct-mail in campaigns. He raised nearly ? of all his campaign funds online. Howard Dean issued a challenge to his supporters giving them four days to help him raise more money than Vice President Cheney (who was slated to raise $300, 000 at a dinner event in South Carolina). He raised $508,640?almost seventy percent more than Cheney raised. In the fourth quarter of 2003, Dean broke the record for campaign fundraising in a single quarter, bringing in $15.9 million. By the time he withdrew from the race, 670, 000 donors had given Dean’s campaign more than $45 million. What’s so great about using the internet in campaigns? Email is free and it’s a fact that the most expensive part of running for office is postage. Organizing and gaining volunteers is significantly easier because supporters can converse easily with one another over the internet. Internet contributions are seen as "clean" because they aren’t attached to high-class dinners thrown to please the elite into giving. Not only that, but people spend money more impulsively on the internet rather than mailing it in. All in all, we’ve only seen the beginning of e-campaigning.
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69: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, from Dirty Politics.
by Meghan Thomas, 2001
presently the professor of Communication and Dean of the Annenberg School
for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania
authored or co-authored 10 books, two for which she has received awards
served as commentator on CBS News and NPR
uses the anti-Dukakis, Willie Horton ads of the election of 1988 as an
illustration of the impact certain advertisements, and in turn, the impact of the
media as a whole, can have on the American public
looks closely at where people get their information and what makes them come
to their ultimate decision at voting time.
examines, using the Horton ads as an example, how humans' psychological
quirks are easily exploited. These quirks include:
finding dramatic data more influential than statistical information
remembering facts, but not where they came from, therefore not being
capable of separating them and, in turn, interrelating those facts from
"letting fears shape perception of what constitutes 'fact'"
we encourage the media to deliver messages that are dramatic, personal,
concise, visual, and take the form of narrative. The Horton ad fit all these
descriptions and the deliverence, together with the psychological manner of the
public helped to create a fear that resounded in everyone's mind and kept the
concentration of the election off other matters.
messages have the ability to interact powerfully and to evoke different
responses among individuals through the combination of advertisments, news
stories, and audience psychology.
Ads can possibly help the public make false inferrences--for example, mixing
words and images that don't necessarily relate.
By using statistics, which are easily manipulated, ads can give the public false
There are many ways of bringing a more personal and dramatic feeling to a
message--through showing a close-up shot of the subject, for instance. These
images created fear in a majority of Americans during the election time of
1988, and they are believed to be correlated to implied race referrences.
People are more likely to show up to vote if they are dissatisfied than if that are
In general, the public is more likely to be aware and act on fear rather than
approval, and when fear is present, we generally lose our ability to think
The repetition and story-telling ability of a message makes the material more
There are several advantages to using negative information, rather than
positive information, to influence an audience. Negative information is:
recalled more easily
able to alter existing impressions
carries more weight
"...In politics, as in life, what is known is not necessarily what is believed, what
is shown is not necessarily what is seen, and what is said is not necessarily
what is heard."
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70: Stephen Ansolabehere & Shanto Iyengar, From Going Negative
Jarred Hutto, Fall 2005
In the past, this country was divided along party lines, and it was not entirely worrisome to most voters. Most people voted many of those that did not were poorer, less educated people, but they were still party-loyal. Television has changed that all, now the country is split between loyalists and apathetics. Media propaganda can ensure loyalists votes, but then again that same propaganda is losing many votes to voters turning independent and not voting at all. This is known as going negative, or using negative advertising in politics. Politicians and consultants use negative advertising to keep many people from voting. These negative politics generate distrust among many voters, and can mean the loss of large majorities of votes. The media attacks are only helping to show that the government can fail and that many politicians are corrupt and out of touch, and that voting is a meaningless action. This results in lower voter turn-out and no trust in the government. These attack ads often do not help in persuading independents to vote, if anything, they hurt participation by non-partisan. The recent media attacks only strengthens the independents choice to remain so, and weakens their use of an electoral voice. This results in electoral politics becoming less representative, because politicians only respond to only those who vote, which is steadily becoming a partisan crowd.
Stephen Ansolabehere is a Political Science Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studies elections, democracy, and the mass media. Shanto Iyengar is the professor of Political Science and Communication Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. He has also taught at Kansas State University, Yale University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Iyengar teaches courses in political communication and political campaigns. Ansolabehere and Iyengar have written two books together, The Media Game (1993), and Going Negative: How Political Advertising Alienates and Polarizes the American Electorate (1996).
70: Stephen Ansolabehere & Shanto Iyengar, From Going Negative
(by Lon Hurst, 2000)
They have found that politicians and their consultants resort to negative advertising to keep people from voting. Once upon a time, this country divided itself neatly along party lines, and most people voted. Television has changed this all because now we are split by a new division: between loyalists and apathetics. Pollsters and political scientists first noticed this new fault line in 1964, and it has been getting further apart with every election.
Negative advertising has made for a larger number of Independents that tend not to vote, and regardless of which party is in the majority, they do not feel that the government represents their ideas and interests. Whatever its causes, negative politics generates disillusionment and distrust among the public. Attack advertisements resonate with the popular beliefs that government fails, that elected officials are out of touch and quite corrupt, and that voting is a hollow act. The end result: lower turnout and lower trust in government, regardless of which party rules.
Independents feel the pinch of negative advertisements most sharply. Attack ads produce the highest drop in political virtue and in intentions to participate among nonpartisans. The current climate of attack politics strengthens their resolve to remain Independents, but weakens their electoral voice. As a consequence, electoral politics is becoming less representative, because elected officials mainly respond to the opinions of those who vote, which is increasingly a partisan and ideologically extreme crowd.
[Note from Dr. Lewis: a study reported October 2000 shows that this year, negative advertising seems to stimulate higher voter interest where it is shown, increasing the intent to vote. Other studies have also shown that negative TV spots have at least as much issue content as the local TV newscasts. So, political scientists are divided on whether they actually undermine democracy in practice.]
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Ceaser and Busch, From Red over Blue
By John Rice, Fall 2008
Kerry’s advisers said the race was looking like Carter v. Reagan in 1980 where it seemed as if Reagan had to do nothing but present himself; where Kerry is Reagan. Kerry based most of his convention speech on his service in Vietnam and not so much on the issues. Goal was to convince voters of his “fitness to become Commander in Chief Kerry.” All of Kerry’s primetime speakers expressed Kerry’s service in Vietnam. He mainly presented a biography which may have hurt his chance with select voters. Kerry gained little ground in most polls after the convention but lost ground in the Gallup; he was expected to gain ground; many wonder if this was due to neglecting the issues. Bush pushed Kerry’s admittance of his authorization of the Iraq war. This hurt as voters turned on him. He then took a clear anti-war stance. This point prompted the Swift Boat veterans for Truth, a 527 organization, to release an ad questioning Kerry’s heroism, his deserving of medals, and his fitness to serve as Commander in Chief. This ad was very affective and harmful to Kerry’s campaign 71 Ceaser & Busch, "Red Over Blue" (Swift boats) [+]
notes by Jeremy Lewis, Fall 2007
Sen. Kerry's convention speech accepting the Dem. nomination 2004 was focussed not on issues but on his service in Vietnam and preparation for being commander in chief. This may have been unwise, for democrats' stands on policies might have been more attractive to voters. A prospective rather than retrospective view might have appealed to voters. Swift boat veterans, funded by Republican sources close to the Bush administration, undercut Kerry's stance in August 2004 by aggressively questioning his service record in Vietnam. Instead of a post-convention bounce in public opinion, Kerry found his approval ratings losing ground to Bush. Section 527 organizations are legally independent of campaigns, but their work can serve campaigns powerfully.
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72: Piven & Cloward, "Why Amer's Still Don't Vote"
By Steven Witt, 2004
Piven and Cloward believe many potential voters, especially people with low incomes and minority groups, do not participate because they are alienated from the entire political process. Piven and Cloward place the blame on politicians who have failed to capture the attention and allegiance of America’s unrepresented millions.
Piven and Cloward noticed in 1980 that a Republican/Business/Christian Right coalition was coming to power and that the New Deal and Great Society programs were seriously threatened. To make matters worse, registration and voting levels were extremely low.
The National Voter Registration Act(NVRA) of 1993 was proposed to strengthen resistance to the attacks on entitlements. The Act required that, beginning in 1995, voter registration be made available in AFDC, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and WIC agencies and in agencies serving disabled Americans. Also it required that people be allowed to register when they get or renew their driver’s license. This last provision gave this Act its tag name “motor voter”. The Act also required states to permit people to register by mail. With this reform, historic barriers to voter registration that had kept voting down among blacks and many poor whites were largely abolished.
Many times our leaders proclaim the United States is the world’s leading democracy and assert that other nations should measure their progress to ours. At the core of this self congratulation is the belief that the right to vote is firmly established here. But in fact the US is the only major democratic nation in which the less-well-off, as well as the young and minorities, are substantially underrepresented in the electorate. As a result, the US ranks at the bottom in turnout compared with other major democracies.
There are three conditions that made the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 possible. One was the growth of an influential national voting rights coalition committed to making government agency registration the law of the land. Second, was the rapid spread of motor voter programs in the states. The third condition explaining why reform succeed is ironic. It was not self-evident that the Democrats would benefit more; greater voting for the Democrats by the poor and minorities could potentially be offset by higher voting for the Republicans by young people.
The NVRA reforms produced an unprecedented increase in voter registration. Turnout, however did not rise. To sum it up, more accessible registration procedures did not increase voting rates. Americans are less satisfied with the electoral choices offered to them and, indeed, had less good to say even about the parties and candidates in which they favored. If turnout is falling because of declining party loyalties or lowered feelings of political efficacy, something is probably going on in the larger environment of American politics.
Party competition is more likely to take the form of strategies to demobilize sectors of the electorate, than of strategies to expand it. To sum it up, the NVRA and the pool of potential voters it is creating might yet matter in American Politics. If it does, it not likely to be because the dynamic of electoral competition itself . It is more likely to be because a new surge of protest, perhaps accompanied by the rise of minor parties and the electoral cleavages that both movements and minor parties threaten. When this happens it will force political leaders to make the programmatic and cultural appeals and undertake the voter recruitment, that will reach out to tens of millions of Americans.
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Larry Sabato & Glenn Simpson-Dirty Little Secrets [Discontinued]
Tiffany Holley, 2002
-Focus on the technique of push-polling.
-Device to communicate innuendos that smear the opponent.
-Sophisticated telephone technology make this technique possible.
-During every campaign season, a great deal of attention is properly devoted to condemning misleading television advertisements and nasty direct-mail letters.
-Push-polling has largely been ignored.
-Unless aggressive action is taken, this difficult-to-catch form of political sleaze
threatens to drag our already debased electioneering even lower.
-Push-poll operates under the guise of legitimate survey research to spread lies, rumors, and innuendo about candidates.
-Push-poll- a survey instrument containing questions which attempt to change the opinion of contacted voters.
-Designed to push the voter away from the opponent and pull the voter toward the
candidate paying for the polling.
-Most common and defensible type of push-poll is an adjunct to "opposition research".
-A campaigner's effort to learn about the opponent's record and discover what
might reduce public support for them.
-Candidate wants to know what will work or whether his ammunition is mostly
-The information contained in research-oriented push-polls is fact based and essentially true.
-Primary goal is to obtain the unbiased views of voters.
-Trouble is that even balanced surveys yielding unbiased responses will
disseminate negative information.
-Deliberative polling- pollster is still conducting a random-sample telephone survey with a representative group of voters, but the agenda is to produce a favorable horse race result for the client-candidate, so that potential contributors and the press can be apprised of the candidate's "impending victory".
-"Negative persuasive" or "advocacy phoning"- a form of targeted voter contact and canvassing.
-The emphasis is on volume: as many voters in a target population as possible are
contacted with a highly negative message that is short and asks no demographical
background information on the respondents.
-"Positive persuasive phoning"- opposite of negative persuasive.
-Delivers favorable information about the candidate-client to any respondent who
-Over a hundred political consulting firms specializing in persuasive phoning have sprung up over the past two decades.
-The new technology of computer-aided telephoning and target selection has made the process of political and commercial marketing by phone vastly easier and more efficient.
-Negative phoning is most likely to occur in a close campaign, where a desperate candidate is hard-pressed and increasingly willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Sabato & Simpson, “Dirty Little Secrets”
by Ginni Stanton, 2001
- Believe that most politicians will do anything to secure election, as far as swaying votes goes.
- Says that “attention is properly devoted to condemning misleading T.V. advertisements and nasty direct mail letters.
- They are completely Anti- Push polls– (push poll – survey instrument containing questions which attempt to change the opinion of contacted voters by divulging negative information about the opponent.)- Agenda Driven – Gives a derogatory background of the opponent.o Gives Biased background sketches of the opponent.- Negative persuasive, positive persuasiveo Pollers don’t get the information from those polled, yet go directly into trying to mobolize voters against or for a particular candidate.- Target audiences are normaly “swing districts” or those voters in certain area’s that can make a difference.
- Persuasive polling companies have sprung up in the past years.
- Notable “supposed” attack calls were made by Nixon’s Campaign in 1946.
- Negitave campaigning usually occurs near the end of any given election.
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- Guinier’s nomination for the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights was withdrawn early in the Clinton administration due to the controversy surrounding her minority politics. She was labeled the “Quota Queen”.
78: Lani Guinier “The Tyranny of the Majority” -- discontinued
By Ginni Stanton, 2001 (another is below)
- In actuality, she did not support quotas, but was an avid cumulative voting supporter.
- Slightly bitter and angry about the fact that she was labeled for something that she isn’t. Bitter also that she lost the nomination for just suggesting that a problem existed.
What the Tyranny is:
- Believes in fair play – that rules should benefit the winners as well as the losers. (Winners being the majority, and losers being the minority group.)
- Wants to get away from the absolute idea that “I win – you lose”
- Zero – sum outcomes are not acceptable. (In other wise compromise is the best thing for minority groups.)
- Big advocate of the rights of the minority.
- Uses Madison as a reference.
- States that a self-interested majority can govern fairly if it cooperates with the minority.
- Madisonian Majority – a majority that rules but does not dominate.
- “The principle of taking turns” (idea she first got while talking with her four year old son) accommodates fairness, compromise and consensus with minorities.
- Advocates a cumulative voting system to ensure that if a minority votes in a certain way then it will be sure to include their voice in the outcome of that particular election. (In other words minority vote comes together to actually make a difference. Not divided.) Eliminating gerrymandering.
- Believes that the Golden Rule principle should be used between minority and majority rules.
- Her vision of Fairness
Lani Guinier-The Tyranny of the Majority
Tiffany Holley, 2002
-Lani Gunier was withdrawn from consideration for the position of assistant attorney general
for civil rights in the Justice Department, early in the Clinton administration, because of the
storm of controversy over her views on representation in American elections.
-She was resisting "the tyranny of the majority."
-She believes winner-take -all elections shut the minority out from having any input at all.
-Cumulative voting- minorities could elect representatives without damaging the majority's
-Fair play means that the rules encourage everyone to play.
-Should reward those who win, but they must be acceptable to those who lose.
-Sometimes, even when rules are perfectly fair in form, they serve in practice to exclude
particular groups from meaningful participation.
-We also sometimes make rules that force us to be divided into winners and losers when we
might have otherwise joined together.
-Positive-sum solution- The winner may get to play first or more often, but even the "loser"
-Zero-sum solution- Relies on winner-take-all majority rule.
- The majority that rules gains all the power and the minority that loses get none.
-In a racially divided society, majority rule may be perceived as majority tyranny.
-Madison, "If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be
- The tyranny of the minority requires safeguards to protect "one part of the society
against the injustice of the other part."
-For Madison, majority tyranny represented the great danger to our early constitutional
-Majority may not represent the whole.
-In a homogeneous society, the interest of the majority would likely by that of the minority
-In a heterogeneous community, the majority may not represent all competing interests.
-A self-interested majority can govern fairly if it cooperates with the minority.
- Values the principle of reciprocity
-Worries that the minority may attract defectors from the majority and become the next
-Madison Majority- majority that rules but does not dominate.
-A majority that does not worry about defectors is a majority with total power.
-"Principle of taking turns" - in a racially divided society, this principle does better than
simple majority rule if it accommodates the values of self-government, fairness, deliberation, compromise, and consensus that lie at the heart of the democratic ideal.
-Giving the minority a turn does not mean the minority gets to rule; what it does mean is that
the minority gets to influence decision making and the majority rules more legitimately.
-"It is no fair" - if a fixed, tyrannical majority excludes or alienates the minority, or if it
monopolizes all the power all the time.
-Where we have tyranny by The Majority, we do not have a genuine democracy.
-Procedural rules - govern the process by which outcomes are decided.
-Cumulative voting - voters get the same number of votes as there are seats or options to
vote for, and they can then distribute their votes in any combination to reflect their preference.
-Each voter gets the same total number votes.
-Everyone's preferences are counted equally.
-Three positive lessons from Guiner's experience
-Those who stand for principles may lose in the short run, but they cannot be suppressed
in the long run.
-Public dialogue is critical to represent all perspectives; no one viewpoint should be
permitted to monopolize, distort, caricature, or shape public debate
-We need consensus and positive-sum solutions.
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73: Sullivan & Cressman, "Const'n & Campaign Reform" -- discontinued
Kevin Akins, 2003
Sullivan: Dean of Stanford Law School, feels its impossible to close loopholes to allow money into politics & political speech should not be limited before an election.
Cressman: Campaign finance analyst for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, wants lower contribution limits to allow average Americans more influence over candidates for office.
Buckley v. Valeo, 1978: A candidate may spend as much of his own money on himself as he wishes, via Freedom of Speech. Limiting other donors is fine, though. This case also upheld the $1,000 minimum for individual contributions.
American Government: clean & uncorrupt. Sullivan says the demand to contribute has increased, because the media is privately owned. She says candidates need a lot of money to run for office b/c of the private-owned media and weak parties.
Says when money contributions are limited, the demand is still there, so the money works its way into the hands of others (interest groups, etc.) She also feels it impossible to regulate the interest group, whereas one could easier with a given candidate. She fully believes in political speech and the chance to show your support for a candidate by monetary gifts. Says limits are antidemocratic and pose constitutional problems.
She supports the disclosure of funds and sees this as an easy opportunity, given technological possibilities. Notes that people have a fear of “I give you money on your campaign, then you do me a favor in legislation.” She says that giving to a party does not do this, only when giving to one specific person is it a danger. She wants the limit of campaign contribution raised from the1978 standard of $1,000, since the number is not proportionate to current average income in America.
He feels the contribution limits are too high. He says that approximately 95% of Congressional seats are won by people with the most money. This is a problem because money is not coming from a cross-section of America, only the upper-class he says. Statistics are shown that most large donors are older white men with annual incomes of over $100,000. Says citizens as a whole also want lower campaign contribution limits, due to a 1994 poll and states passing laws nationwide.
Says this is unfair because richer people have more of an influence on politics and the election process. Candidates would get the same amount of money by impacting fewer voters. In a 1999 poll, statistics show that 29 % thought Government served the public interest, while 63% thought the Government served interest groups!
Says both Republican and Democratic parties can mold to fit the new laws of campaign reform, even though it might tend to favor one side initially. He warns that if this continues, it could hurt the institution of Congress itself.
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The topic of this writing is the 2000 presidential election. It is a short version of the 36 days that followed the election night on Nov 7, 2000.
72: Wash. Post, "Deadlock"  [+]
72. POLITICAL STAFF OF THE WASHINGTON POST, From Deadlock
Jeremy Mitchell, 2003
In the year 2000, George W. Bush and Albert Gore Jr. fought the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in our country’s history. Over the years the democrats and republicans have both shared the majority of the House and the Senate. The 2000 campaign offered the possibility of an election that finally would resolve the stalemate, an election that might clearly signal which party the voters trusted more and why. It didn’t turn out that way. What happened in Florida was the focus of this book.
The election dispute in Florida went on 36 days – a whirlwind of more than 50 lawsuits. It was an all out war involving America’s canniest political soldiers and some of its best legal minds. On election night, after the networks declared Bush the winner, Gore cemented that impression by congratulating his opponent, however Gore had no idea the race was to close to call. The Florida republican secretary of state had staled the counting in Florida which was so critical to Gore’s hopes.
The VNS is an organization that sends out thousands of employees into precincts across the country. They try to get an idea from voters as they leave the booths who they voted for. They then put all of this data into the VNS computers and Edelman predicts a winner of the election. The basic models and computers for this organization have not changed in 10 years or so. The first report that came out had Bush with 49 percent and Gore with 48 percent. Early on Election Day, after glancing at the first exit polls, the networks polished off about 2/3 of the races, the easy calls. By 7 pm on the East Coast when polls began closing it seemed pretty obvious that the winner was going to be Al Gore. The model at the top of the screen showed 51.4 percent for Gore and 46.2 percent for Bush. NBC, CBS, and CNN had all given Florida to Gore. Jon Ellis at Fox wanted to wait for a few more precincts, but the pressure was piling up furiously. Ellis went ahead and declared Gore the winner also. Comparing the real results to their model, the Bush team quickly concluded that the state was too close to call.
An internal investigation eventually determined that the VNS significantly miscalculated the absentee turnout. The chances were 1 in 200. So Florida had to do a recount on their votes. The deadline was approaching to get the votes in and Palm Beach didn’t get the votes in on time, and theirs were not counted. They had to have them in by 5 pm and didn’t finish until 7pm. With scarcely a murmur 8 judges and their assistants hunkered down to tally the roughly 9,000 under votes left unstudied when the Miami-Dade canvassing board halted the its recount on Thanksgiving eve. At 2: 40 the following day the U.S. Supreme court ordered an immediate halt to the effort. The simmering divisions in the U.S. Supreme Court had boiled over. The stay order – and the related decision to hear oral arguments on Bush’s appeal on Monday, December 11- was issued by a 5 to 4 majority and Bush won the election.
There have been many organizations launched to examine many of the ballots in Florida. These investigations will eventually provide more information about what these ballots showed.
Every day the participants were forced to make potentially huge decisions, with little time to think. Gore had to decide in the first days the counties in which to ask for a recount. Bush had to decide at the same time whether to go into the federal court, a step that would make him the first candidate in the courts despite public warnings from his lawyers about the dangers of spiraling legal battles.
Politicians in both major parties believe there is now a clear need to address the problems Florida exposed: what to do about faulty voting machines, how to improve voter education, and whether oversight of elections should be lodged in the hands of partisan Republicans and partisan Democrats.
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Frank Sorauf, "Inside Campaign Finance." [discontinued]Americans both nuture and distrust a system of campaign finance due to our collective
Rob Flynt , 2001
inability to agree on the reality of American campaign finance and its consequences.
The only constant in campaign finance is the repeated attempts to reform it, which have a
long history of not working.
Campaign money comes from many sources, but the majority is contributed by individuals.
There are two methods of campaign contribution: direct dollar contributions to candidates
or spending "on behalf of" candidates.
Individual contributing is limited to $25,000 per year, whereas Political Action Committee
(PAC) contributing is unlimited.
PACs dominate the new sytem of campaign finance reformed in 1974.
Congress empowere PACs by attempting to regulate the individual big spender.
Due to this, campaign finance has entered an age of concerted action.
PACs are regulated by the FEC.
However, they raise massive amounts of soft money, which is money raised outside of the
restrictions of federal law.
It is hard to defined, but it does have an effect in almost every election.
Something is wrong with today's campaign finance system and it is time for yeat another
attempt at reform.
Frank Sorauf, Inside Campaign Finance
Tiffany Holley, 2002
-The 1974 changes gave the FEC the responsibility to monitor how much money donors give
-The impression persists that campaign money can buy elections and that it can similarly
buy public officials.
-Millions of Americans contribute willingly the cash that makes the funding of American
campaigns so feared and despised.
-Americans both nurture and distrust a system of campaign finance.
-Money from individuals feeds the expenditure totals of the campaign in two additional ways.
-Either an individual or a group may make expenditures in a campaign to urge the election
or defeat of a candidate
-Party committees may spend "on behalf of" candidates
-As for PACs, there is no limit on aggregate contributions in a year or a cycle.
-PACs dominate the media-born images of campaign funding and embody most of the public
fears about a campaign finance that relies on voluntary private largesse.
-For some political activists they represent both the opportunities and the fruits of
collective action under the new regime.
-Organized, aggregated activity achieves more political goals more effectively.
-In organization there is both strength and weakness.
-Organization leads to a flourishing, if somewhat disorderly, representation of interests,
but in the strivings of the organizations to
affect the making of policy, they check, oppose, and offset, however fortuitously, the
aims and influence of each other.
-Epic impression- refers to money raised outside of the restrictions of federal law with the
intention, nonetheless, of influencing the outcome of a federal election, directly or indirectly.
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