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GOV CH 7-1 PRIMARIES

Multiple Choice
Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
 
 
Section 1 The Nominating Process
· The nominating process is critically important to democratic government.
· Five major nominating methods are used in American politics.
· The most widely used nominating method today is the direct primary
Objectives
1. Explain why the nominating process is a critical first step in the election process.
2. Describe self-announcement, the caucus, and the convention as nominating methods.
3. Discuss the direct primary as the principal nominating method used in the United States today.
4. Understand why some candidates use the petition as a nominating device.
Why It Matters
The nominating process, however it is conducted, is a critically important step in electoral politics for a number of reasons. Not the least of these: It is from among those who are nominated that the voters pick the men and women who will serve in public office in this country.
Political Dictionary

nomination
The process of candidate selection in an electoral system

general election
The regularly scheduled election at which voters make a final selection of officeholders.


caucus
As a nominating device, a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election.

direct primary
An election held within a party to pick that party's candidates for the general election.

closed primary
A party nominating election in which only declared party members can vote.

open primary
A party-nominating election in which any qualified voter can take part.

blanket primary
A voting process in which voters receive a long ballot containing the names of all contenders, regardless of party, and can vote however they choose.

runoff primary
A primary in which the top two vote-getters in the first direct primary face one another.

nonpartisan election
Elections in which candidates are not identified by party labels.
 

 1. 

Why is the nominating process important?
a.
It is good for business
c.
It is important to the democratic process
b.
It does a job that the people are too lazy to do
d.
It guarantees that smart people will always be elected
 
 
A Critical First Step
The nominating process is the process of candidate selection. Nomination—the naming of those who will seek office—is a critically important step in the election process.
The nominating process also has a very real impact on the right to vote. In most elections in this country, voters can choose between only two candidates for each office on the ballot. They can vote for the Republican or they can vote for the Democratic candidate.1 This is another way of saying that we have a two-party system in the United States. It is also another way to say that the nominating stage is a critically important part of the electoral process. Those who win nominations place real, very practical limits on the choices that voters can make in an election.
In some constituencies one party is so strong they are the only party that has a chance of winning.. Once the dominant party has made its nomination, the
general election is little more than a formality.
Dictatorial regimes point up the importance of the nominating process. Many of them hold general elections—regularly scheduled elections at which voters make the final selection of officeholders—much as democracies do. But typically, the ballots used in those elections list only one candidate for each office—the candidate of the ruling clique; and those candidates regularly win with majorities approaching 100 percent.
There are five ways in which nominations are made in the United States. They include (1) self-announcement, (2) caucus, (3) convention, (4) direct primary, and (5) petition.
 

 2. 

How does the nomination process impact the right to vote?
a.
Only one candidate can be elected
c.
Only Republicans and Democrats can vote
b.
By nominating only two candidates the choice of candidates is limited
d.
Union workers are not allowed to vote for Republicans
 

 3. 

When is the general election only a formality?
a.
when one party strongly dominates
c.
when no party strongly dominates
b.
when candidates are weak
d.
when candidates do not belong to any party
 

 4. 

If an election has only one candidate who receives nearly 100% of the vote we call the country a
a.
democracy
c.
direct democracy
b.
republic
d.
dictatorship
 
 
Self-Announcement
Self-announcement is the oldest form of the nominating process in American politics. First used in colonial times, it is still often found at the small-town and rural levels in many parts of the country
nar003-1.jpgThe method is quite simple. A person who wants to run for office simply announces that fact. Modesty or local custom may dictate that someone else make the candidate’s announcement, but, still, the process amounts to the same thing.
Self-announcement is sometimes used by someone who failed to win a regular party nomination or by someone unhappy with the party’s choice. Note that whenever a write-in candidate appears in an election, the self-announcement process has been used. In recent history, four prominent presidential contenders have made use of the process: George Wallace, who declared himself to be the American Independent Party’s nominee in 1968; and independent candidates Eugene McCarthy in 1976; John Anderson in 1980; and Ross Perot in 1992. And all of the 135 candidates who sought to replace Governor Gray Davis of California in that State’s recall election in 2003—including the winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger—were self-starters.
 

 5. 

Why do some people nominate themselves for office?
a.
they want to help the regular party candidate
c.
They do not have enough money to run as part of a party
b.
they don’t like the regular party candidates
d.
Their religion keeps them from joining a party
 
 
The Caucus
As a nominating device, a caucus is a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election. The first caucus nominations were made during the later colonial period, probably in Boston in the 1720s.2 John Adams described the caucus this way in 1763
Originally the caucus was a private meeting consisting of a few influential figures in the community. As political parties appeared in the late 1700s, they soon took over the device and began to broaden the membership of the caucus

The coming of independence brought the need to nominate candidates for State offices: governor, lieutenant governor, and others above the local level. The legislative caucus—a meeting of a party’s members in the State legislature—took on the job. At the national level, both the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans in Congress were, by 1800, choosing their presidential and vice-presidential candidates through the congressional caucus.
The legislative and congressional caucuses were quite practical in their day. Transportation and communication were difficult at best. Since legislators already gathered regularly in a central place, it made sense for them to take on the nominating responsibility. The spread of democracy, especially in the newer States on the frontier, spurred opposition to caucuses, however. More and more, people condemned them for their closed, unrepresentative character.
Criticism of the caucus reached its peak in the early 1820s. The supporters of three of the leading contenders for the presidency in 1824—Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and John Quincy Adams—boycotted the Democratic-Republicans’ congressional caucus that year. In fact, Jackson and his supporters made “King Caucus” a leading campaign issue. The other major aspirant, William H. Crawford of Georgia, became the caucus nominee at a meeting attended by fewer than one third of the Democratic-Republican Party’s members in Congress.
Crawford ran a poor third in the electoral college balloting in 1824, and the reign of King Caucus at the national level was ended. With its death in presidential politics, the caucus system soon withered at the State and local levels, as well.
The caucus is still used to make local nominations in some places, especially in New England. There, a caucus is open to all members of a party, and it only faintly resembles the original closed and private process.
 

 6. 

What is a caucus?
a.
A group of people with similar ideas get together to make decisions or choose candidates
c.
A way to raise money for candidates
b.
An agency hired by a campaign to win an election
d.
The presidents family
 
 
The Convention
As the caucus method collapsed, the convention system took its place. The first national convention to nominate a presidential candidate was held by a minor party, the Anti-Masons, in Baltimore in 1831. The newly formed National Republican (soon to become Whig) Party also held a convention later that same year. The Democrats picked up the practice in 1832. All major-party presidential nominees have been chosen by conventions ever since. By the 1840s, conventions had become the principal means for making nominations at every level in American politics.
On paper, the convention process seems perfectly suited to representative government. A party’s members meet in a local caucus to pick candidates for local offices and, at the same time, to select delegates to represent them at a county convention.3
At the county convention, the delegates nominate candidates for county offices and select delegates to the next rung on the convention ladder, usually the State convention. There, the delegates from the county conventions pick the party’s nominees for governor and other State-wide offices. State conventions also send delegates to the party’s national convention, where the party selects its presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
In theory, the will of the party’s rank and file membership is passed up through each of its representative levels. Practice soon pointed up the weaknesses of the theory, however, as party bosses found ways to manipulate the process. By playing with the selection of delegates, usually at the local levels, they soon dominated the entire system.
As a result, the caliber of most conventions declined at all levels, especially during the late 1800s. How low some of them fell can be seen in this description of a Cook County, Illinois, convention in 1896:
Many people had hailed the change from caucus to convention as a major change for the better in American politics. The abuses of the new device soon dashed their hopes. By the 1870s, the convention system was itself under attack as a major source of evil in American politics. By the 1910s, the direct primary had replaced the convention in most States as the principal nominating method in American politics.
Conventions still play a major role in the nominating process in some States—notably, Connecticut, Michigan, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia. And, as you will see, no adequate substitute for the device has yet been found at the presidential level.
 

 7. 

What is one way that groups try to control conventions?
a.
by controlling who is selected as delegates to the convention
c.
by imposing a dress code
b.
by keeping the convention secret
d.
by opening it up to everyone who wants to attend
 

 8. 

What process has replaced the convention as the main nominating process in America?
a.
the direct primary
c.
the indirect primary
b.
the general election
d.
the town hall meeting
 
 
The Direct Primary
A direct primary is an intra-party election. It is held within a party to pick that party’s candidates for the general election. Wisconsin adopted the first State-wide direct primary law in 1903; several other States soon followed its lead. Every State now makes at least some provision for its use.
In most States, State law requires that the major parties use the primary to choose their candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, for the governorship and all other State offices, and for most local offices as well. In a few States, however, different combinations of convention and primary are used to pick candidates for the top offices.
In Michigan, for example, the major parties choose their candidates for the U.S. Senate and House, the governorship, and the State legislature in primaries. Nominees for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general are picked by conventions.4
Although the primaries are party-nominating elections, they are closely regulated by law in most States. The State usually sets the dates on which primaries are held, and it regularly conducts them, too. The State, not the parties, provides polling places and election officials, registration lists and ballots, and otherwise polices the process.
Two basic forms of the direct primary are in use today: (1) the closed primary and (2) the open primary. The major difference between the two lies in the answer to this question: Who can vote in a party’s primary—only qualified voters who are party members, or
any qualified voter?
 

 9. 

What is a direct primary?
a.
an inter-party election
c.
a general election
b.
an intra-party election
d.
an independent party election
 
 
The Closed Primary
Today, 27 States provide for the closed primary—a party’s nominating election in which only declared party members can vote. The party’s primary is closed to all but those party members.5
In most of the closed primary States, party membership is established by registration; see page 154. When voters appear at their polling places on primary election day, their names are checked against the poll books and each voter is handed the primary ballot of the party in which he or she is registered. The voter can mark
only that party’s ballot; he or she can vote only in that party’s primary.
In come of the closed primary States, however, a voter can change his or her party registration on election day. in those States, then, the primary is noan as completely “closed” as it is elsewhere.
 

 10. 

What is a closed primary?
a.
only voters who belong to the opposite party may vote
c.
only voters who belong to the party may vote
b.
a primary open for a specific period of time.
d.
anyone can vote
 
 
The Open Primary
The open primary is a party’s nominating election in which any qualified voter can cast a ballot. Although it is the form in which the direct primary first appeared, it is now found in only 26 States.
When voters go to the polls in some open primary States, they are handed a ballot of each party holding a primary. Usually, they receive two ballots, those of the Republican and the Democratic parties. Then, in the privacy of the voting booth, each voter marks the ballot of the party in whose primary he or she chooses to vote. In other open primary States, a voter must ask for the ballot of the party in whose primary he or she wants to vote. That is, each voter must make a public choice of party in order to vote in the primary.
Through 2000, three States used a different version of the open primary—the blanket primary, sometimes called the “wide-open primary.” Washington adopted the first blanket primary law in 1935. Alaska followed suit in 1970, and California did so in 1996. In a blanket primary, every voter received the same ballot—a long one that listed every candidate, regardless of party, for every nomination to be made at the primary. Voters could participate however they chose. They could confine themselves to one party’s primary; or they could switch back and forth between the parties primaries, voting to nominate a Democrat for one office, a Republican for another, and so on down the ballot.
The Supreme Court found California’s version of the blanket primary unconstitutional in 2000, however. In California Democratic Party v. Jones, the High Court held that process violated the 1st and 14th amendments’ guarantees of the right of association. It ruled that a State cannot force a political party to associate with outsiders—that is, with members of other parties or with independents—when it picks its candidates for public office.
For 2002, California responded to the Court’s decision by returning to the closed primary; and Alaska held a typical open primary. Washington did hold a blanket primary in 2002, but it finally bowed to the High Court’s decision and, like Alaska, it held an open primary in 2004.
Louisiana has yet another form of the open primary, which was not affected by the Court’s decision in Jones. Its unique “open-election law” provides for what amounts to a combination primary and election. The names of all the people who seek nominations are listed by office on a single primary ballot, regardless of party. A contender who wins more than 50 percent of the primary votes wins the office. In these cases, the primary becomes the election. In contests where there is no majority winner, the two top vote-getters, again regardless of party, face off in the general election.
 

 11. 

What is an open primary?
a.
a primary in which voters from any party may vote
c.
a primary open for a specific period of time
b.
a primary in which only party members can vote
d.
a primary in which only independent voters may vote
 

 12. 

What is a blanket primary?
a.
a primary that covers the general and primary elections
c.
a voter gets a ballot with the names of candidates from all parties and votes for any that he chooses
b.
a primary that is secret (covered).
d.
a voter gets a ballot with the names of candidates from one party and votes for any that he chooses
 
 
The Runoff Primary
In most States, candidates need to win only a plurality of the votes cast in the primary to win their party’s nomination.7 (Remember, a plurality is the greatest number of votes won by any candidate, whether a majority or not.) In 11 States,8 however, an absolute majority is needed to carry a primary. If no one wins a majority in a race, a runoff primary is held a few weeks later. In that runoff, the two top vote-getters in the first party primary face one another for the party’s nomination, and the winner of that vote becomes the nominee.
 

 13. 

If no candidate receives a majority of votes, what kind of election do they have to decide who wins?
a.
closed primary election
c.
runoff election
b.
open primary election
d.
non partisan primary
 
 
The Nonpartisan Primary
In most States all or nearly all of the elected school and municipal offices are filled in nonpartisan elections. These are elections in which candidates are not identified by party labels. About half of all State judges are chosen on nonpartisan ballots, as well. The nomination of candidates for these offices takes place on a nonpartisan basis, too, often in nonpartisan primaries.
Typically, a contender who wins a clear majority in a nonpartisan primary then runs unopposed in the general election, subject only to write-in opposition. In many States, however, a candidate who wins a majority in the primary is declared elected at that point. If there is no majority winner, the names of the two top contenders are placed on the general election ballot.
The primary first appeared as a partisan nominating device. Many have long argued that it is not well suited for use in nonpartisan elections. Instead, they favor the petition method, which you will consider later in this section.
 

 14. 

In Nonpartisan elections
a.
there are no election rules
c.
candidates must declare their party affiliation
b.
there are too many election rules
d.
candidates are not allowed to run as party members
 
 
Evaluation of the Primary
The direct primary, whether open or closed, is an intraparty nominating election. It came to American politics as a reform of the boss-dominated convention system. It was intended to take the nominating function away from the party organization and put it in the hands of the party’s membership.
The basic facts about the primary have never been very well understood by most voters, however. So, in closed primary States, many voters resent having to declare their party preference. And, in both open and closed primary States, many are upset because they cannot express their support for candidates in more than one party. Many are also annoyed by the “bed-sheet ballots” they regularly see in primary elections—not realizing that the use of the direct primary almost automatically means a long ballot. And some are concerned because the primary (and, in particular, its closed form) tends to exclude independents from the nominating process.
These factors, combined with a lack of appreciation of the importance of primaries, result in this unfortunate fact: Nearly everywhere, voter turnout in primary elections is usually less than half what it is in general elections.
Primary campaigns can be quite costly. The fact that the successful contenders must then wage—and finance—a general election campaign adds to the money problems that bedevil American politics. Unfortunately, the financial facts of political life in the United States mean that some well-qualified people do not seek public office simply because they cannot muster the necessary funds.
The nominating process, whatever its form, can also have a very divisive effect on a party. Remember, the process takes place within the party—so, when there is a contest for a nomination, that is where the contest occurs. A bitter fight in the primaries can so wound and divide a party that it cannot recover in time to present a united front for the general election. Many a primary fight has cost a party an election.
Finally, because many voters are not very well informed, the primary places a premium on name familiarity. That is, it often gives an edge to a contender who has a well-known name or a name that sounds like that of some well-known person. But, notice, name familiarity in and of itself has little or nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications for office.
Obviously, the primary is not without its problems, nor is any other nominating device. Still, the primary does give a party’s members the opportunity to participate at the very core of the political process.
 

 15. 

Why did people feel it was necessary to have primary elections to choose candidates?
a.
to make the candidate selection process more democratic
c.
to allow party bosses to have more control over the candidate selection process
b.
to speed up the candidate selection process
d.
to elect more intelligent people to offices
 
 
The Presidential Primary
The presidential primary developed as an offshoot of the direct primary. It is not a nominating device, however. Rather, the presidential primary is an election that is held as one part of the process by which presidential candidates are chosen.
The presidential primary is a very complex process. It is one or both of two things, depending on the State involved. It is a process in which a party’s voters elect some or all of a State party organization’s delegates to that party’s national convention; and/or it is a preference election in which voters can choose (vote their preference) among various contenders for a party’s presidential nomination. Much of what happens in presidential politics in the early months of every fourth year centers on this very complicated process. (See Chapter 13 for an extended discussion of the presidential primary.)
 

 16. 

What is the purpose of the Presidential Primary?
a.
help the president to pick a vice president
c.
help the president to pick his cabinet
b.
elect candidate supporters to go to the party conventions
d.
to go around (circumvent) the Electoral College
 
 
Petition
One other nominating method is used fairly widely at the local level in American politics today—nomination by petition. Where this process is used, candidates for public office are nominated by means of petitions signed by a certain required number of qualified voters in the election district
Nomination by petition is found most widely at the local level, chiefly for nonpartisan school posts and municipal offices in medium-sized and smaller communities. It is also the process usually required by State law for nominating minor party and independent candidates. (Remember, the States often purposely make the process of getting on the ballot difficult for those candidates.)
The details of the petition process vary widely from State to State, and even from one city to the next. Usually, however, the higher the office and/or the larger the constituency represented by the office, the greater the number of signatures needed for nomination.
 

 17. 

In some local elections it is possible to get the nomination by getting signatures on a petition
a.
true
b.
false
 

Multiple Response
Identify one or more choices that best complete the statement or answer the question.
 
 
The Caucus
As a nominating device, a caucus is a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election. The first caucus nominations were made during the later colonial period, probably in Boston in the 1720s.2 John Adams described the caucus this way in 1763
Originally the caucus was a private meeting consisting of a few influential figures in the community. As political parties appeared in the late 1700s, they soon took over the device and began to broaden the membership of the caucus

The coming of independence brought the need to nominate candidates for State offices: governor, lieutenant governor, and others above the local level. The legislative caucus—a meeting of a party’s members in the State legislature—took on the job. At the national level, both the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans in Congress were, by 1800, choosing their presidential and vice-presidential candidates through the congressional caucus.
The legislative and congressional caucuses were quite practical in their day. Transportation and communication were difficult at best. Since legislators already gathered regularly in a central place, it made sense for them to take on the nominating responsibility. The spread of democracy, especially in the newer States on the frontier, spurred opposition to caucuses, however. More and more, people condemned them for their closed, unrepresentative character.
Criticism of the caucus reached its peak in the early 1820s. The supporters of three of the leading contenders for the presidency in 1824—Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and John Quincy Adams—boycotted the Democratic-Republicans’ congressional caucus that year. In fact, Jackson and his supporters made “King Caucus” a leading campaign issue. The other major aspirant, William H. Crawford of Georgia, became the caucus nominee at a meeting attended by fewer than one third of the Democratic-Republican Party’s members in Congress.
Crawford ran a poor third in the electoral college balloting in 1824, and the reign of King Caucus at the national level was ended. With its death in presidential politics, the caucus system soon withered at the State and local levels, as well.
The caucus is still used to make local nominations in some places, especially in New England. There, a caucus is open to all members of a party, and it only faintly resembles the original closed and private process.
 

 18. 

What are some of the problems with caucuses? (pick 2)
 a.
they are too open to the public
 c.
they are sometimes too secret
 b.
only Republicans use them
 d.
only a few people get to make decisions
 
 
The Direct Primary
A direct primary is an intra-party election. It is held within a party to pick that party’s candidates for the general election. Wisconsin adopted the first State-wide direct primary law in 1903; several other States soon followed its lead. Every State now makes at least some provision for its use.
In most States, State law requires that the major parties use the primary to choose their candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, for the governorship and all other State offices, and for most local offices as well. In a few States, however, different combinations of convention and primary are used to pick candidates for the top offices.
In Michigan, for example, the major parties choose their candidates for the U.S. Senate and House, the governorship, and the State legislature in primaries. Nominees for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general are picked by conventions.4
Although the primaries are party-nominating elections, they are closely regulated by law in most States. The State usually sets the dates on which primaries are held, and it regularly conducts them, too. The State, not the parties, provides polling places and election officials, registration lists and ballots, and otherwise polices the process.
Two basic forms of the direct primary are in use today: (1) the closed primary and (2) the open primary. The major difference between the two lies in the answer to this question: Who can vote in a party’s primary—only qualified voters who are party members, or
any qualified voter?
 

 19. 

What are two types of direct primaries? (pick 2)
 a.
closed primaries
 c.
open primaries
 b.
open caucuses
 d.
annual
 
 
Closed vs. Open Primary
The two basic forms of the primary have caused arguments for decades. Those who favor the closed primary regularly make three arguments in support of it:
1. It prevents one party from “raiding” the other’s primary in the hope of nominating weaker candidates in the other party.
2. It helps make candidates more responsive to the party, its platform, and its members.
3. It helps make voters more thoughtful, because they must choose between the parties in order to vote in the primaries.
The critics of the closed primary contend that:
1. It compromises the secrecy of the ballot, because it forces voters to make their party preferences known in public, and
2. It tends to exclude independent voters from the nomination process.6
Advocates of the open primary believe that their system of nominating addresses both of these criticisms. In many open primaries, (1) voters are not forced to make their party preferences known in public, and (2) the tendency to exclude independent voters is eliminated. The opponents of the open primary insist that it (1) permits primary “raiding” and (2) undercuts the concepts of party loyalty and party responsibility.
 

 20. 

What are three arguments in favor of closed primaries? (pick 3)
 a.
they are more democratic than open primaries
 c.
forces the voters to think about the philosophy because they have to choose between parties
 b.
makes the candidates follow the platform of the party
 d.
keeps the other parties from electing weak candidates in your party
 

 21. 

What are two arguments against closed primaries? (pick 2)
 a.
the voters party affiliation is made public
 c.
they tend to elect candidates that are secretive and undemocratic
 b.
independent voters are excluded from the primary process
 d.
they are open to all voters
 

Matching
 
 
a.
nomination
f.
open primary
b.
general election
g.
blanket primary
c.
caucus
h.
runoff primary
d.
direct primary
i.
nonpartisan election
e.
closed primary
 

 22. 

An intra-party election to choose candidates to run for offices
 

 23. 

An election to pick candidates to run that any voter can vote in
 

 24. 

An election where the candidates do not run as members of a political party
 

 25. 

Picking a candidate
 

 26. 

An election in which voters have to pick between the top two candidates who got the most votes
 

 27. 

An election to pick candidates to run that only party members can vote in
 

 28. 

The election that places a candidate in the office he is running for
 

 29. 

An election in which voters can see all candidates and vote for any of them
 

 30. 

People who come together in person to choose a candidate
 



 
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