Cover image for Choosing the president, 2004 : a citizen's guide to the electoral process
Choosing the president, 2004 : a citizen's guide to the electoral process
League of Women Voters (U.S.)
Publication Information:
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 190 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes an annotated videography.
Added Corporate Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JK528 .C43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the early jockeying and the first candidate announcements to the final tally on Election Day, choosing the president is an exciting, sometimes bewildering, and ever evolving process that dominates American politics for up to two years. CHOOSING THE PRESIDENT is a thorough yet accessible and completely nonpartisan look at the players and events, explaining every important landmark on the road to the White House including:
· publicly visible events such as primaries, caucuses, and conventions
· the strategies that guide fund-raising, campaigning, and spin doctoring
· institutions that include the national parties, governmental oversight committees, and public-policy organizations
· voting rights and voter behavior
· the role of the media and the effects of polls and reporting
· the actual laws that govern how we choose the president-from the Constitution to the
latest campaign-finance rules

While casting a vote is every citizen's right, casting an informed vote is every citizen's responsibility. This completely up-to-date and fully revised guide will enable every citizen to cast that informed vote.

Author Notes

THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, with members in state and local chapters across the country, is the leading voter-education organization in the United States, and publisher of The National Voter . Founded in 1920, the League is an active advocate for inclusive, responsive democracy in all facets of U.S. government.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Part I The Playersp. xv
Chapter 1 We the Peoplep. 1
It's Been a Long Road: Voting in the Nation's Early Yearsp. 2
Opening Democracy's Door: Expanding the Franchisep. 2
Unfinished Business: Lowering the Barriers to Votingp. 5
Turnout Turns Down: The Turned-Off Voterp. 9
Turning Things Around: How to Increase Voter Turnoutp. 12
Chapter 2 The Candidatesp. 17
Are They Crazy? What It Takes to Run for Presidentp. 18
Where Do They Come From? The Candidates' Varied Backgroundsp. 20
Running for the Boss's Job: When the Vice President Steps Upp. 23
Political Newcomers: Nonpoliticians in the Runningp. 25
Campaign Strategy, Part I: The Candidates and the Issuesp. 26
Campaign Strategy, Part II: Dividing the Electoratep. 27
Chapter 3 The Parties and Other Behind-the-Scenes Powersp. 31
Early History: How the Political Parties Came to Bep. 32
The Life of the Parties: The Democrats and Republicans Take Center Stagep. 33
Party Mechanics: How the Parties Workp. 36
Independents' Day: Beyond the Partiesp. 39
Enter the Special Interests: Independent Groups Step Up Their Campaign Activityp. 43
Chapter 4 The Mediap. 49
Running for Coverage: The Candidates and the Mediap. 50
The Media under Fire: What's Wrong with Today's Election Coverage?p. 52
The Media Respond: Is Political Coverage Getting Better?p. 56
The New Media: Expanding Election Coveragep. 58
New Media = More Choices for Votersp. 59
Too Much of a Good Thing? Critiquing the New Mediap. 61
Finding the Best Election Coverage: What You Can Dop. 62
Elections Go Onlinep. 63
Chapter 5 Money: Who Gives It, Who Gets Itp. 67
Why They Donate: The Quest for Influencep. 70
How Did We Get Here? A Short History of Campaign Financep. 72
Public Funding of Presidential Elections: How It Worksp. 76
Getting around the Rules: Hard and Soft Moneyp. 80
Evading the Soft-Money Banp. 84
Beyond Soft Money: Independent Advocacyp. 85
Funding Presidential Campaigns: A System in Troublep. 87
Serious Problems, Possible Solutionsp. 88
Part II The Processp. 91
Chapter 6 Early Actionp. 93
Laying the Groundwork: Campaigning Unannouncedp. 94
The Money Chase, Part I: PAC Attackp. 95
The Money Chase, Part II: The Exploratory Committeep. 96
Competing for Talent: Lining Up Key Advisers and Staffp. 99
Who's Who: The Campaign Teamp. 100
Making It Official: The Announcementp. 101
After the Early Going: A Winnowing of the Fieldp. 103
Chapter 7 The Primaries and Caucusesp. 105
How It Works: Choosing the Delegatesp. 105
Primary Education: What Is a Primary?p. 106
A Primary Alternative: What's a Caucus?p. 108
The Early States: Iowa and New Hampshirep. 109
An Accelerated Schedule for 2004p. 112
Primary Participation: Who Votes in the Primaries?p. 113
Chapter 8 The Conventionsp. 123
What's It All About? The Function of the National Conventionsp. 124
The Delegates: Who Are All These People?p. 126
The Scripted Convention: A News- and Controversy-Free Eventp. 128
The Role of the Media: The Conventions As News Eventsp. 131
Convention Highlights: A Viewer's Guidep. 132
Chapter 9 The General Election Campaignp. 137
Campaign Strategy, Part I: A Shift to the Centerp. 139
Campaign Strategy, Part II: Targeting a Candidate's Appealp. 140
Campaign Tactics, Part I: The Candidates in Controlp. 144
Campaign Tactics, Part II: A Little Help from My Friendsp. 145
Campaign Tactics, Part III: At the Grass Roots, On the Ground, and On the Airp. 147
The Candidates Face Off: The Presidential Debatesp. 150
Chapter 10 Election Dayp. 153
A Work in Progressp. 154
Affirming Your Vote: About the Electoral Collegep. 156
A College Education: How Does the Electoral College Work?p. 156
Do We Really Need the Electoral College? Proposals for Changep. 160
Tabulating the Outcome: The Results Are In!p. 161
Early Projections: Jumping the Gunp. 164
Making It Officialp. 166
Appendix Election 2000 and The Amazing Florida Recountp. 169
Bibliography and Videographyp. 181
Indexp. 183