- Ticket balance
United Statespolitics, balancing the ticket is when a political candidate chooses a running matewith the goal of bringing more widespread appeal to the campaign. It is most prominently used to describe the selection of the U.S. Vice Presidential candidate.
There are several means by which ticket may be balanced. Someone who is from a different region than the candidate may be chosen as a running mate to provide geographic balance to the ticket. If the candidate is associated with a specific faction of the party, a running mate from a competing faction may be chosen so as to unify the party. Similarly, running mates may be chosen to provide ideological, age, or demographic balance.
In U.S. presidential elections, balancing the ticket was traditionally associated with the
smoke-filled roomcliché, but this changed in 1970 with reforms in the primary system resulting from the McGovern-Fraser Commission. According to Douglas Kriner of Boston University, the McGovern-Fraser reforms brought an end to traditional ticket balancing practices. Now presidential candidates are less concerned with regional and ideological balance, says Kriner, and are more inclined to pick compatible running mates with extensive government experience. [http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2008/03/25/72166256]
In the earliest days of American presidential elections, the President and Vice-President were technically elected on the same ballot with the person receiving the most votes becoming the President and the person with the second most votes becoming the Vice-President. When this system proved unwieldy, the Twelfth Amendment was passed in
1804providing that the President and Vice-President run on the same ticket but be elected on different ballots.
Most elections before the
American Civil Warfeatured a northerner paired with a southerner or vice versa.
After the Civil War, geographical balance between north and south became less critical but would remain a factor well into the 20th century, especially in the Democratic Party. In the 20th Century an increased interest in the
electoral collegelead many presidential candidates to choose vice-presidential candidates from populous states with large numbers of electoral votes. It was hoped that voters in this state could be swayed by having a favorite sonon the ticket.
Later in the 20th century, ideological balance became more prominent with a more liberal presidential candidate often paired with a more moderate or conservative vice presidential candidate or vice versa to bring more widespread appeal. Other factors came to prominence in the late 20th century such as gender, religion, age and other issues.
The trend has continued in recent times, although it is less of a predictable science. In
1992, Bill Clinton, seen as a more moderate southern Democrat, chose the more liberal southerner Al Goreas his running mate. However, they were both white Protestantsoutherners from the baby boom generation, and most political analysts saw them as similar in political ideology. This brought little in the way of ticket balancing.
In 2000, Al Gore chose the centrist
Joseph Lieberman, a northeastern JewishDemocrat who had been one of the first people to criticize President Clinton for his scandal with Monica Lewinsky. John Kerry's choice of John Edwardsin the 2004 presidential election was widely seen as an appeal to southern voters who traditionally would not have supported a northeasterner such as Kerry without the geographic balance that Edwards could bring. Also, Edwards, still serving his first term in the Senate, was regarded by many as an "outsider" with a youthful appeal; two characteristics that Kerry, a 60 year old four term Senator, was unable to acquire.
Geographic balance has played an important part of politics since the beginning. Before the civil war, a northern candidate was almost always paired with a southern running mate or vice-versa. Since the civil war, this level of geographical balancing is less critical, but still plays a big role. In modern times, voters in the south,
midwest, and Rocky mountain region of America are less inclined to support northeasterners and Californians without some sort of geographic balance and vice versa.
For example, in 1960,
Richard Nixonof Californiachose Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.of Massachusettsas his running mate to blunt Kennedy's strength in New England. John F. Kennedyof Massachusetts chose Texan Lyndon Johnsonto appeal to southern voters.
United States Constitutionitself demands some balance, as Electoral College voters cannot vote for two people from their state. For example, if Dick Cheney had not moved back to his home state of Wyomingbefore the 2000 election the Electoral Collegevoters from Texas would not have been able to vote for him as vice-president and thus the Senate would have picked one.
Ideological balance is achieved when a candidate chooses a running mate from a different ideological strain to provide more widespread appeal. For example, a liberal candidate might want to chose a moderate or even a conservative running mate rather than another liberal in order to appeal to a broader base of the electorate.
Ronald Reagan, a conservative, chose more moderate George H. W. Bushas his running mate in 1980. When liberal Democrat Michael Dukakisran for president in 1988he chose Lloyd Bentsen, a moderate, as his running mate.
Ethnic or business interest balancing
A tactic originated by
New York's Tammany Halland refined by ChicagoMayor Anton Cermakin Chicago machine politics, this involves nominating a slate of candidates for local offices based on their varied ethnic origins or business or labor unioninterests, in order to appeal to all possible ethnic or financial interests in a community. Eg: a slate of candidates of judges, might include candidates from all ethnic communities in a district, and include a labor lawyer and a member of the local Chamber of commerce. In cases where there is not enough offices appeal to all, multi-ethnic candidates may be chosen, eg: "Maria O'Hara Constantine" a name calculated to appeal to Hispanic, Irish and Greek constituencies.
Electoral College strategy
In elections which are expected to be close, great concern is placed an a running mate's ability to appeal to voters in key states with critical numbers of votes in the Electoral College. In modern times, America is generally split along red state/blue state lines, but these lines are not absolute. Key "blue states" like
Pennsylvaniaand Michigancould be swayed to shift support toward a Republican candidate under the right conditions. Likewise, key "red states" such as Virginiaand Ohiomay shift allegiances for the right ticket.
favorite sonon the ticket from one of these states could garner enough support to swing it from one column to another.
Sometimes candidates will try to appeal to a particular demographic group or will try tomake up for a perceived weakness by choosing a particular running mate.
Walter Mondale's selection of
Geraldine Ferraroin 1984was widely seen as an appeal to female voters.
Older presidential candidates will sometimes chose younger, more vigorous men as their running mates. George H. W. Bush was in his mid 60s when he chose the young and photogenic
Dan Quaylein 1988. Bob Dole, who was in his 70s, chose former professional athlete Jack Kempin 1996. George W. Bushwas considered a political novice and outsider when he chose Dick Cheney, a consummate Washington insider, as his running mate in 2000.
ynergy of traits
Most ticket balancing is not limited to a single issue but is a factor of the overall strengththat the running mate brings to a campaign. Lyndon Johnson was chosen by Kennedynot only because he was a southerner, but for other reasons as well. Johnson wasperceived at the time as being more conservative than Kennedy which balanced theticket ideologically. Johnson was likely to deliver Texas and its critical electoral votes tothe Democrats, something that Kennedy and a non Texan might not be able toaccomplish. Kennedy was a Catholic and his religion was a subtle but important issue,especially in the largely Protestant Southern states. The fact that Johnson was aProtestant helped the ticket’s appeal in the south. Kennedy was the son of a
multi-millionaire Boston banker while Johnson came from more humble and ruralbeginnings.
Even in circumstances where ticket balancing is not overt, there are subtle componentsthat are brought to the ticket. Even though Bill Clinton and Al Gore were both white Protestant southerners, Al Gore was a veteran of the
Vietnam conflictwhile Clinton was heavily criticized by Republicans because he "dodged" the Vietnam area draft. Gore’s military record helped soften some of the criticism about Clinton’s ability to lead the military.
Other political races
In some states, the governor and the lieutenant governor are elected on the same ticket. In states that allow the governor to choose his running mate, he/she may choose a candidate that provides balance within the state just as in presidential politics.
Although the concept of a running-mate is relatively specific to the United States, analogous patterns could be found in other countries. For example, in
proportional representationwith party lists, parties will tend to make sure that a variety of factions within the party are represented in the list candidates. Some countries (such as Iraq) enforce balance by legally requiring that a list contain a minimum number of female or ethnic minority candidates, or by requiring (such as Lebanon) that vice presidents or prime ministers be of a different ethnic group than the president.
Balancing the ticket also refers to when a political organization such as the Chicago political machine balances the interests of local business and ethnic groups by selecting nominees on its slate of
candidatesbased on their ethnic origin or commercial interests.
Consequences of the death of a president
Elections have acquired much of the mass media publicity system used for entertainment, but a ticket is not a "buddy picture." Although the vice presidency has only rarely been an office with real political significance, several times American presidents have died in office, either through assassinations or natural causes. It is under these conditions that the merits or failures of having a running mate to balance the ticket instead of calling a snap election as other countries do are revealed. A president really cannot fire the running mate and then pick someone who will carry on afterwards to the letter.
Perhaps the worst result of all American history was that
Abraham Lincoln's running mate, Andrew Johnson, was a southerner who did not at all hold his values, so Reconstruction started without Lincoln's point of view getting maintained. Sometimes the opposite occurs: the old politician William McKinleyhad the young, energetic Theodore Rooseveltas his running mate, so when he was assassinated America got its most dynamic president in history. Twice in the twentieth century there were vice presidents who followed the heritage of their departed presidents as well as one could expect. Harry S. Trumancontinued Franklin Delano Roosevelt's policies, and Lyndon Baines Johnsonaccomplished more in the same general areas than John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
balance — 1. balance [ balɑ̃s ] n. f. • XIIe; lat pop. °bilancia, de bis « deux fois » et lanx « plateau (de balance) » I ♦ 1 ♦ Instrument qui sert à peser, formé d un fléau mobile et de plateaux dont l un porte la chose à peser, l autre les poids marqués … Encyclopédie Universelle
balancé — 1. balance [ balɑ̃s ] n. f. • XIIe; lat pop. °bilancia, de bis « deux fois » et lanx « plateau (de balance) » I ♦ 1 ♦ Instrument qui sert à peser, formé d un fléau mobile et de plateaux dont l un porte la chose à peser, l autre les poids marqués … Encyclopédie Universelle
Balance of Power — Pour l’article homonyme, voir Équilibre des puissances. Balance of Power Album par Electric Light Orchestra Sortie mars 1986 Enregistrement … Wikipédia en Français
Cut, Cap and Balance Act — The proposed Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011 (or HR 2560) was a bill put forward in the 112th United States Congress by Republicans during the 2011 U.S. debt ceiling crisis. The provisions of the bill included a cut in the total amount of… … Wikipedia
Pigskin Politics — is a political epithet used to describe or dismiss a person s pavlovian attachment to a political persuasion or party, given that party s/persuasion s past influence within the person s region. The term is usually used within the context of a… … Wikipedia
distributeur — distributeur, trice [ distribytɶr, tris ] n. • 1361; bas lat. distributor 1 ♦ Personne qui distribue. Distributeur de films : personne chargée de la distribution des films aux cinémas. ♢ Commerçant chargé de la distribution d un produit. ⇒… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Oyster card — Location Greater London Launched July 2003 Technology Contactless smart card by Cubic Corporation … Wikipedia
MetroCard (New York City) — MetroCard redirects here. For other cards, see MetroCard (disambiguation). Main article: New York City transit fares MetroCard Location New York City Launched 1993 … Wikipedia
United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… … Universalium
Al Gore — This article is about the former U.S. Vice President. For his father, who was also a U.S. Senator, see Albert Gore, Sr. Al Gore … Wikipedia