Elections give governments legitimacy. IF we feel elections aren’t free/fair, we question the legitimacy. If enough citizens question it, democracy is weakened. We must know how the system works & identify weaknesses to improve/strengthen our democracy.


A role of elections is to give governments legitimacy.  IF we feel that our elections are NOT free/fair, we begin to question that legitimacy. If enough citizens question the legitimacy, democracy becomes weakened. We must first know how the system works to identify any possible weaknesses so that we can improve/strengthen rather than weaken our democracy.  In American presidential elections, explain fully the following in essay format (do NOT simply answer a list!): 1. Invisible/pre-primary “Season” * When is this? * Why does it occur? * What background qualifications normally make a candidate most successful? * Name 3 specific things candidates or potential candidates hope to gain during this “season” 2. Primary and Caucus “Season” * Specifically, when during a presidential election cycle do these occur? * How do they differ from each other? * WHAT are the candidates competing for? * What role does money and media play in determining which candidates are more successful? Explain fully. * What did Dr. Patterson’s article show us about motivation of media to cover any certain candidate AND what that media coverage does? 3. Party Conventions * What time frame in the election year do these occur? * Talk about at least 3 specific things that each political party will accomplish at its convention * What is the role of the media during the conventions? How does that affect the success of the party nominee?  Use “priming” and “framing” terminology to explain this. 4. General Election “Season” * When is this “season” of the election year? * Describe how it is different from the Primary and Caucus Season * What are the candidates (now called nominees – why?) trying to gain? * Why is more media attention on the battleground states during this time? 5. Election Day * Specifically, how do we know when this day is every 4 years? * What is the role of the popular vote? * What motivates people to go vote? * What are the implications for the system when large percentages of the voting age public (VAP) do not go vote for whatever reason? * What is the role of electors? 1. How do we know how many electors each state gets? 2. When do the electors cast their votes? 3. How many total electors are there in the Electoral College and how many must a nominee get to win the presidency? 6. When is the Inauguration of the President? What are the weaknesses of the system? What are the strengths? Chapters 6-9, Patterson’s article posted online, and all other posted materials may be referenced in writing your essay. Do NOT use other sources! https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/6-introduction https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/7-introduction https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/8-introduction https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/9-introduction

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