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  • AQA Component The electoral process and direct democracy: candidate selection and nomination

  • Edexcel Component 5.1.1: Presidential elections and their significance

Background: what you need to know

This article provides a useful overview of the contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Donald Trump remains the frontrunner among party members. The other candidates have been forced to define themselves in relation to the former president. Trump’s main challengers have tried to distance themselves from him — but without alienating the party’s grassroots, who see the court cases against him as part of a conspiracy by the liberal establishment.

The article mentions the candidates who have already abandoned the race. This testifies to the importance of the so-called ‘invisible primaries’ held a year or more before the election. They are a test of how popular a candidate is before the formal primaries and caucuses begin. Note that Chris Christie dropped out of the contest shortly after this article was written.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

US election 2024: who are the Republican presidential candidates?

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three factors that influence the selection of a US presidential candidate. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3

  • Evaluate the view that the disadvantages of the selection process for US presidential candidates are stronger than the advantages. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks] 

    TIP: This question requires a good knowledge of the system of primaries and caucuses, as well as the invisible primaries, used across the US states to select presidential candidates. You should also consider the vital role played by party finance in the process.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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