How to Become President of the United States? - Foundation Office Washington, D.C.
While the nomination contests that the two parties undertake are very similar, there are nuances that distinguish the two campaigns. But for the purposes of this paper, I am going to gloss over them. Of course, local party bosses, political structures and important coalitions groups are different for both parties. Having the endorsement of the head of a powerful labor union is not important for Republicans, but critical for Democratic candidates. In both cases, the role of powerful figures like this is important within the nominating process of both political parties.
The name of the game is the accumulation of delegates, awarded by each state as they hold their nomination contests. The parties use different rules to award delegates, and the type of election varies from state to state (caucuses, primaries and conventions are all by the states). Some primaries are elections conducted by state and local officials, while others are entirely party run affairs. The Democrats award their delegates proportionally based on election results. Up until the 2012 nomination contest, the GOP has used a winner-take-all approach (more on this later). Regardless of the variety of methods used to actually award delegates, I am going to focus on a general rather than a more academic approach to these nuances. In the US, the nomination is more similar than different between the parties, even if there are some nuances in each.
This paper will focus on party positioning/ideological composition of the electorate, the importance of the early states, key personnel, building the campaign team, the Republican Party’s revised primary process, the Iowa Straw Poll’s importance, the various functions of the campaign itself, and the amount of money necessary to mount a viable campaign.