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Party Organization and Functions

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1 Party Organization and Functions

2 Party Organization Party Memberships
2 Major American Parties: Republicans and Democrats No formal requirements for membership affiliation declared at registration

3 The Three Components of Political Parties

4 History of Political Parties
The Post-Civil War Period The Triumph of the Republicans The Progressive Interlude Republicans Split populism The New Deal Era Roosevelt’s Democratic coalition An Era of Divided Government In the years after 1968, the general pattern was often a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. 2000 Presidential Election (Red state–blue state)

5 Election 1896

6 Election 2004

7 Organization Local: Grassroots, the underestimated force
Divided by precincts, led by Precinct captain neighboring precincts form Wards, represented at county committee State: State Central Committee made up of county representatives, led by state chairperson help elect members to state government positions National: Three Parts National Convention: meets every four years to elect party’s candidate for POTUS National Committee: led my national chairperson, runs party operations and raises money Congressional campaign committee: raises money and identifies candidate to run in congressional elections

8 Party Functions

9 Party Functions Recruit candidates Educate the Public
Most important function must be appealing, share basic ideology Educate the Public take positions on important issues Frame the opposition

10 Party Functions Operate the government Dispense patronage
agendas in line with party platforms ties together branches Dispense patronage jobs, appointments, contracts The Pendleton Act (1883)

11 Party Functions The Loyal Opposition Reduce conflict
provides alternative to party in power fights to preserve the rights of the minority Reduce conflict builds coalitions of interest groups moderate policies, mass appeal

12 Nominating Candidates
Historical Methods Caucus … still used, most notably in Iowa National Convention Direct Primary System Determine votes of Convention Delegates Closed vs. Open Primary Caucuses vs. primaries Criticisms: Front loading; Image over issues

13 The National Convention
Pre-election meeting of the national party Bound vs. Unbound delegates Superdelegates Determines the party’s ticket & finalizes the platform Criticism: operates more as a pep rally than serious meeting

14 The National Convention
“There is so little news being made now at the conventions," said Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University. "The conventions have no real deliberations on platform issues and the VP picks are all made well in advance and have already been introduced to the public. "The main, real value for voters in watching the conventions is that they can see the candidates and hear their pitches in one place, without having to follow campaign stump speeches over many days of news coverage," McCall added. "Another benefit is for voters to see up and coming party leaders who might be influential on the political landscape in years to come."


16 Ticket splitting and voting for the opposition

Plurality System Voter Opinion State Laws Minor Parties Ideological One-issue Economic-protest Factional



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