In advance of Election Day, presidential campaigns begin a year and a half to two years.
The general election for the U.S. House of Representatives is usually two years after the start of serious campaigns.
The effort required to mount long campaigns is the main reason.
The voting-age population in the United States is more than 200 million.
It costs a lot to communicate with all of those individuals.
Roughly half of the sum was spent on television advertising.
The money was raised through personal and political networks that the campaigns and candidates built up over a long period of time.
The election calendar extends the campaign season.
The party primary elections and the general election precede American national, state, and local elections.
The general elections for federal offices take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The first presidential caucuses and primaries are in January and last through June.
Most state and congressional primaries occur in the spring and early summer, with some states waiting to hold their nominating elections until September of the election year.
The campaigns are stretched over the entire election year.
The American electoral campaigns are very different from those in other countries.
Most other democracies limit candidates' campaign expenditures and fund-raising activities because of the years-long American election.
Money and other resources flow through party organizations in other democracies.
Posters, billboards, and public campaign forums are common in other democracies, but very few permit television advertising, phone banks, or door-to-door canvassing.
The campaigns are less important because of the restrictions and the media coverage is more prominent.
The expense, duration, and chaos of American campaigns have prompted many efforts at reform, including attempts to limit campaign spending, shorten the campaign season, and restrict what candidates and organizations can say in advertisements.
The Federal Elections Campaign Act was passed in 1971.
It limited the amounts that a single individual could contribute to a candidate or party to $1,000 per election for individuals and $5,000 for organizations.
The Bipar campaigns have been amended several times by a private group that raises and distributes funds for use in election Congress.
The McCain-Feingold Act banned certain types of political attack advertisements from interest groups in the last weeks of a campaign.
There are some rules governing campaign finance in federal elections.
Public funding was established for presidential campaigns.
If a candidate agrees to abide by spending limits, her campaign is eligible for matching funds in primary elections and full public funding in the general election.
The general election amount was increased with inflation.
Most candidates bought into the system in 2000.
George W. Bush spent half a billion dollars to win the Republican nomination in 2000.
The FEC's website is a great place to look for information on U.S. campaign finance.
Political action committees may accept unlimited contributions.
A multicandidate committee is a political committee with more than 50 contributors that has been registered for at least six months and, with the exception of state party committees, has made contributions to five or more candidates for federal office.
Barack Obama was able to spend more money than John McCain in the general election because he and Hillary Clinton ignored the public financing system in their 2008 primary contest.
In the 2016 presidential race, only two candidates received public funding.
The FECA went further than the law that is still in effect today.
James Buckley, a candidate for the US Senate in New York, challenged the law, arguing that the restrictions on spending and contributions limited his rights to free speech and that the FEC had excessive administrative power.
The free speech rights of candidates and groups were violated by the limits on candidate spending.
The need to protect the integrity of the electoral process led the justices to leave contribution limits in place.
The presidential public-funding system is voluntary.
There is no violation of free speech because candidates are not required to opt into the system.
The effort and time needed to construct a campaign is increased by this more democratic process of campaign finance.
The national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be robust and wide-open is reflected in the First Amendment right to free speech.
The justices ruled that the BCRA of 2002 was wrong in imposing restrictions on independent spending by corporations.
The majority opinion struck down limits on independent expenditures from corporate treasuries but kept in place limits on direct contributions from corporations and other organizations to candidates.
The section of the tax code that allows such entities and Super PACs has led to the formation of two types of organizations.
Super PACs are subject to more disclosure laws, but they can raise and spend unlimited amounts.
The presidential election accounted for most of the money spent by Super PACs.
Super PACs spent more money in the last election.
There are a number of important features that congressional campaigns share with presidential campaigns, but they are also distinctive.
Congressional representatives who have no term limits have an advantage.
According to political scientists, congressional incumbents were winning reelection at higher rates than in previous generations and by wider margins, and that this phenomenon appeared to be due to incumbency.
Robert Erikson compared a politician running for election not as an incumbent but as an incumbent.
In the first sort of election, a politician ran for a seat that was left vacant by an incumbent's retirement and won.
The increase in the politician's vote share from the first election to the second was due to the fact that the politician ran as an incumbent rather than a nonincumbent.
The incumbency effect was around 5 percentage points.
In a race where one candidate is the incumbent, the same district would vote for the incumbent 55 percent to 45 percent.
In the U.S. elections, the incumbency advantage has increased.
In House elections, incumbency advantages grew from 1 or 2 percentage points in the mid-1950s to 5 or 6 points by the late 1960s.
In state legislative elections, the advantages ranged from 5 percent to 10 percent.
A 10 percent incumbency advantage is a big advantage.
Congressional incumbents' advantages arise in campaign spending as well as votes.
Over time, congressional campaigns have seen increased spending.
The incumbent in the U.S. House spent an average of $1.7 million in the last year, compared to the challenger who spent an average of $400,000.
Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder Jr. wrote "The Incumbency Advantage in U.S."
In campaign fund-raising, incumbent members of Congress have advantages: they have already been tested, they have campaign organizations in place, and they have connections in their constituency as well as in Washington, D.C.
The information problems discussed at the beginning of the chapter are addressed by campaigns.
Candidates and parties are responsible for the dissemination of electoral information.
Voters wouldn't have much incentive to find out about the many candidates and ballot measures at issue.
Politicians try to shape the electorate through advertising and other campaign efforts.
Parties and candidates spend money in order to present voters with the information they need to make a decision come Election Day--what the candidates and parties have done and what they promise to do, who they are, and which person is right for the job and the challenges the country faces.
Political scientists have long wondered how much money matters, given the high rates of party loyalty among most people.
The research on the effectiveness of campaign spending and advertising began in earnest in the 1970s.
He found that challengers did better in races in which they spent more money, but that incumbents who spent more did not do any better.
Part of the explanation was that vulnerable incumbents would have to raise and spend more money, so the observation of high spending reflected the eventual outcome as much as it influenced it.
It was not possible to tell how much money influenced votes and how much money influenced money.
Political scientists used to conduct experiments.
Rather than looking at the correlation between votes received and money spent, we could measure respondents' attitudes towards the candidates, whether they vote or not, and how they vote.
The first such study was conducted by Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar, who found that seeing a single TV commercial from a candidate in the context of a news program increased support for that candidate by 7 percentage points.
The electoral context holds constant how much the other candidate spends.
The effect of advertising was found to vary across people.
Independent voters and people of the same party or ideological orientation were affected by the ads.
Such is the case today.
Alan Gerber and Donald Green undertook a study of the effectiveness of canvass, direct mail, and other means of voter Mobilization.
They conducted dozens of field experiments in which some households received get-out-the-vote messages and some did not.
They measured the participation rates and vote shares of those households.
The effects on rates of participation and candidates' vote shares were still significant even though they were less than TV advertising studies.
When competition is weak or lacking, elections fail to inform the electorate.
Observers fear that the incumbency advantage stifles electoral competition.
Some of the electoral advantage that incumbents enjoy is due to the voters' reward of the incumbents' performance in office and some is due to the imbalance in campaign politics.
There is an obvious discrepancy in campaign funds.
The typical incumbent raised and spent more than 1.7 million dollars, while the average House challenger raised and spent less than $400,000.
The funding advantages of incumbents allow them to communicate more with their supporters.
136 million Americans went to the polls in the fall of 2016 to vote for a new president.
Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton despite the expectations of most pundits and other observers.
The winner of the presidential election is not necessarily the one who gets the most votes because of the Electoral College system.
Maine and Nebraska allocate Electoral College votes by congressional district.
One of Maine's electoral votes went to Donald Trump.
The result of the 2016 presidential election highlighted the fact that electoral systems in which the winner is determined by who wins a majority of districts or states, rather than who wins a majority of votes, can be problematic.
The election outcomes were not solely a result of the Electoral College.
Americans went to the polls again.
The turnout for the election was the highest in 50 years, with over 100 million people voting.
Regular elections allow the public to send a message to stay the course or move in a new direction.
The public decided to rein in the administration by giving the Democrats control of the House for the first time in eight years.
There were deep factional divisions in the Democratic and Republican parties.
Hillary Clinton was seen as a pragmatic, business-oriented wing of the Democratic Party, while the other was called for a radical departure from business as usual by the other.
The divisions within the Democratic and Republican coalitions in 2016 were raw and lasting, and at times seemed to threaten the parties themselves.
For the first time in recent history, both parties had primary election fights that were not settled until the last votes were cast.
It was thought that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination.
Clinton was one of the most prominent Democratic leaders, having served as first lady, then as a U.S. senator from New York, and later as secretary of state under President Obama.
Clinton was well positioned to take on most Republican opponents.
She was a Democrat who was known for being more moderate in her approach to public policy.
Clinton, however, was challenged from the far left wing of the party when her biggest rival was a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist from Vermont.
The Democratic Party rules were used to his advantage.
Clinton dominated the primaries and the caucuses, which tend to have low turnout.
Key segments of the Democratic electorate were galvanized by economic issues.
He championed free college tuition, a message that won 80 percent of the votes of people under 30 in the Democratic primaries.
Clinton emphasized health care, racial and gender equality, and her experience.
She received strong support from minority voters.
In the Iowa caucus contest, Clinton narrowly beat Sanders by less than 1 percentage point.
The race for the Democratic nomination was close throughout the spring.
By the time the last votes were cast in California's primary in June 2016 the Vermont senator had won 23 caucuses and primaries compared to Clinton's 34.
The Democrats had a very unusual primary contest.
Many Democratic voters' sense of unrest and unease with their party was tapped into by a relatively unknown "outsider" candidate.
Some of his supporters were frustrated with the results of the primary.
The Republican nomination contest was not normal.
There were 17 candidates for president in the Republican field.
Bush and brother of President George W. Bush was a popular governor of a key state, and his Super PAC had over $118 million to spend at the start of the primary season in January.
In June 2015, Trump launched his campaign at Trump Tower.
He promised to make America great again.
The media and most party leaders did not like the Trump campaign.
The heart of his appeal was not to the media elite or the party establishment, but to working-class conservative white voters in the United States.
When unionization rates were higher, working-class white voters aligned with the Democrats.
Many of them came over to Ronald Reagan's Republican coalition in 1980, but they were always treated as outsiders by the Republican establishment.
They had not found a standard bearer in the Republican Party since Reagan.
Trump promised to bring jobs back to America.
He promised to cut taxes.
He proposed to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border and to place a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, as well as creating a database of Muslim Americans.
These kinds of statements were used to describe Trump's campaign.
Many called Trump's style offensive and labeled him as racist, but he seemed to be an authentic candidate unafraid to assert his views and defy a politically correct culture.
As the status quo is changing, Trump seemed to represent a group of Americans who feel left behind.
The field of 17 Republican candidates was reduced to four after Donald Trump's inflammatory comments dominated the headlines.
In order for Trump to get the nomination, he had to win 45 percent of the votes cast in the primaries.
The primary campaign was divisive.
The Republican establishment was challenged directly by Trump.
Many in the GOP were reluctant to embrace their party's nominee because of his attacks on a number of prominent party leaders.
Both parties' nominees needed to heal rifts among their rank-and-file voters.
The general election season began in the summer.
"Our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democrats," said Mark Burns in his invocation.
One of the most negative campaign seasons in modern political history began with that prayer.
The Democrats held a convention filled with attacks on Trump.
The speech of Khan, the father of a Muslim American soldier who was killed in Iraq, rebuked Trump for his statements and urged him to read the Constitution.
When not attacking Trump, the Democratic convention focused on appealing to nonwhite voters as well as to women, emphasizing the potential toelect the first woman president and to make sweeping changes in public policies.
The campaigns shifted from a broad national message to a direct appeal to voters in swing states.
Most states were either strongly Democratic or strongly Republican.
The cost of flipping these states was too high compared to the potential reward of focusing on a smaller number of swing states that were more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Fourteen swing states--Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin-- loom large in the campaigns' strategies, but the two campaigns went about appealing to swing state voters in very
Trump's general election campaign was focused on motivating his core supporters.
During the primaries, Trump used social media to stir controversy and get news coverage.
He was skillful at calling out his opponents on social media.
Clinton's main motto was "I'm with Her", but Trump changed it to "I'm with you."
As effective as his mastery of the short media was, Trump was even more at home giving hour-long stump speeches.
Each rally lasted several hours and was held throughout the swing states.
He spent less on advertising than the Clinton campaign.
The staple of Trump's campaign was his use of social media and campaign rallies to motivate his core supporters.
The strategy of the Clinton campaign was similar to that of the Obama campaign.
The Clinton team invested heavily in get-out-the-vote activities in key swing states as well as on extensive broadcast advertising, drawing on many of Obama's 2012 campaign consultants and the resources developed under his campaigns.
Get-out-the-vote campaigns target specific people to make sure they are registered.
This strategy was very different from the motivational approach that Trump employed.
Television advertising was used heavily by the Clinton campaign.
Their strategy may have failed.
The Clinton camp took Wisconsin's and Michigan's electoral votes for granted according to an analysis of the campaign's advertising expenditures.
Clinton spent more on ads in Omaha, Nebraska, seeking a single electoral vote in that state, than she did in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
Clinton won the debates by a wide margin, as well as scandals that emerged in the fall, including the release of a 2005 video in which Trump was heard boasting that his celebrity status allowed him to touch women.
Clinton was under investigation by the FBI for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, a fact that Republicans seized on as evidence that she was not trustworthy.
The popular vote went to Clinton.
She received around 48 percent of the popular vote, while Trump received around 46 percent.
Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan had voted Democratic in every election since 1988.
The "blue wall" was broken by Trump, who won the presidency with 306 votes in the Electoral College.
The result of the popular vote has been flipped five times in U.S. history.
The reason for the reversal in 2016 was that Clinton won big in states where Democrats were safe to win, and Trump won electoral votes in swing states by narrow margins.
California, New York, and Illinois are states rich in electoral votes.
In Texas, Trump had a solid majority, as well as in the South, the Plains states, and the Mountain West.
A total of 86 million votes were cast in 36 Republican and Democratic states.
Clinton won 49 percent of the popular vote in these states.
In these states, Trump won 45 percent of the popular vote and 178 electoral votes.
The key to the election was held by the 14 swing states.
50 million votes were cast in swing states.
Trump won 48 percent of the popular vote in these states and 125 electoral votes, while Clinton won 47 percent of the popular vote in these states for just 42 electoral votes.
In the 2016 election, Americans elected all members of the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, new state legislatures in 43 states, and new governors in 12 states.
Democrats had high hopes of taking back the U.S. Senate and making inroads into the state governments.
The Republican Party made gains in congressional and state elections.
Republicans held onto their power in American government despite the Democratic Party's efforts to win elections.
Republicans retained their majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
After the election, the Republicans held 52 seats in the Senate and 241 in the House, compared to 54 before the election.
In the state governments, the GOP gained ground.
Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature in 30 states before the election, and in 32 states after the election.
The Republicans increased their total number of governorships from 31 to 34 in 2016 after picking up three governorships.
Democrats were disappointed by the results of the congressional and state elections.
The 2016 election signaled a shift to the right in U.S. politics and public policy making.
In the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, right-wing and populist parties won elections because of their anti-immigration and isolationist messages.
The June 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union was one of the most surprising votes of all time.
Political science is more difficult in unstable times.
In the United States, forecasters and pollsters did not think that Trump would win.
In the week leading up to the election, the Upshot put Hillary Clinton's chances of winning at 85 percent, FiveThirtyEight gave her a 71 percent chance of winning, and the Princeton Election Consortium put her chances at greater than 99 percent.
Survey-based estimates of the national vote for Clinton and Trump were within the margin of error.
She had a lead of 3 to 4 points.
She won the popular vote by two and a half percentage points.
The polls were wrong in states with large white working class populations.
The surge in their turnout was caused by the enthusiasm that Trump generated among this segment of the electorate.
The voters were dissatisfied with both parties.
Romney and Obama were not appealing to these voters, but they embraced Trump.
The surge in turnout among this segment of the electorate made it difficult for pollsters to measure who was likely to vote and for analysts to see the wave of support for Trump in the upper Midwest.
The 2020 presidential election will be decided by that segment of the electorate.
The white working class vote is indicative of the broader economic and political context in the United States.
The U.S. economy never grew faster than 2.5 percent a year and the unemployment rate never went below 7 percent.
GDP grew by less than 1.5 percent from January to October.
Many Americans wanted change because of the slow economic growth and high unemployment.
Economic models of the election predicted a close race.
Economic models of elections explain the election results as a function of peace and prosperity, whether we are at war or not.
A growth rate of 2.5 percent or better is usually good news for the incumbent party's candidate.
The Republicans consolidation of power was short-lived.
The months following the election saw a lot of soul-searching among Democrats.
The Republican Party used their loss in the 2012 election to create a road map for the future.
Immediate opportunities to work with President Trump on shared issues were seen by the Democratic Party leadership.
For example, one of Trump's main policy promises during the campaign was a massive increase in spending on infrastructure, such as highways and airports, legislation the Democrats in Congress have long championed.
The Democrats were shut out of the opportunity to introduce and pass legislation in Congress.
The American public does not want one-party rule.
Midterm elections are used by American voters to temper the presidential election outcomes.
The president's party loses seats in the elections.
The incumbent president's party has lost on average 27 seats in the midterm elections.
governorships and state legislative seats are lost on the ballot.
The midterm was no different.
In 2016 the Republicans seemed to have consolidated their power.
The American public changed course in a big way.
For the first time in eight years, the electorate returned a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives.
The Democrats won 231 seats and the Republicans 204, a swing of 36 seats from the Republicans to the Democrats, and a solid majority for the Democratic Party.
The Democrats had a hard time climbing the Senate.
They had to defend 26 seats and the Republicans only had nine seats up for election.
To make matters worse for the Democrats, nine of their Senators were in states that Trump had won.
The Democrats were able to hold onto five seats.
Democrats captured seats previously held by Republicans in Arizona and Nevada.
Republicans gained two seats in the Senate.
It felt like an opportunity was lost to many Republican strategists in the year that could have been worse.
The data is based on the election results.
House races in several states were undecided.
The Democrats have a clear majority in the House, with the Republicans adding two seats to their majority.