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UNIT 5: WHAT DO PARTIES WANT? Reading: Mueller and Strom pgs. 1-27.

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Presentation on theme: "UNIT 5: WHAT DO PARTIES WANT? Reading: Mueller and Strom pgs. 1-27."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNIT 5: WHAT DO PARTIES WANT? Reading: Mueller and Strom pgs. 1-27

2 Guiding Questions  What is party government?  What do parties want?  What are vote seeking goals? Office seeking? Policy seeking?  Can parties maximize all three goals?

3 Political Parties and Government  Political science suggests that political parties a central role in promoting and maintaining democracy.  Schattschneider 1942  “modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of political parties”  Muller and Strom 1999  In a democracy, voters delegate policy-making authority to representatives via political parties.

4 What Is Party Government?  We can conceive of democracy as “party government”  Katz 1986; Katz 1987  1) Parties organize policy-making  Government decisions made by party leaders.  Government policy decided within political parties.  Parties act cohesively to enact policy.  2) Parties serve as intermediaries between voters and government.  Elections seen as mechanisms to ensure party accountability.  3) Parties recruit political leadership.  Most elected officials are affiliated with a party.

5 What Do Parties Seek?  Mueller and Strom 1999  Three strategies are typically offered.  Parties as: 1) Office-seekers 2) Policy-seekers 3) Vote-seekers.  These are ideal type strategies.  Most parties seek more than one end.

6 Factors Shaping Party Options  Mueller and Strom 1999  Party behavior is shaped by a variety of factors:  1) Party leadership and organization  Motivations of the leadership (political entrepreneurs)  Relationship between leadership and party activists  2) Political institutional structures  Electoral/legislative laws  Laws governing coalition formation  3) Political context  General elections/economic circumstances  Number of parties at the bargaining table

7 Office Seeking Models  Riker 1962  Parties seek to maximize their control over the benefits associated with taking office.  Benefits include: cabinet portfolios, political appointments, etc.  Parties share power only when necessary.  Votes and policy viewed as instrumental to obtaining office (i.e. a means to an end), not as intrinsically valuable.

8 Policy Seeking Models  De Swaan 1973  Parties seek to maximize their impact on policy.  Political parties have policy platforms that they seek to enact once in office.  When parties coalesce, they will do so with parties that have similar policy outlooks.  Policy can be considered as intrinsically valuable or as instrumental to other goals (e.g. office).

9 Vote Seeking Models  Downs 1957  Parties seek to maximize their vote share.  Parties use policy manifestoes to win votes, not for policy ends per se.  Parties maximize votes even when they are assured of a majority.  Votes are instrumental and not intrinsically valuable in and of themselves.

10 Election 2005: Merkel’s Dilemma  Majority = 308  No party could govern alone.  Schroeder and Merkel both made claims on the chancellorship.  Merkel was given first crack at forming a coalition.  Her party held the most seats.

11 El ection 2005: Merkel’s Dilemma  Merkel’s preferred policy coalition (yellow-black):  FDP/CDU/CSU = 287 seats 21 short.  Schroeder’s preferred policy coalition (red-green):  SPD/B90GR = short.  PDS/Left was not an option.  Both sides needed to woo another party.  Attention turned to the B90Gr and FDP.

12 Election 2005: Merkel’s Dilemma  From an office seeking standpoint, adding B90/Gr (i.e. a “Jamaica coalition”) would give Merkel 338 seats.  Rejected by the Green party on policy grounds.  Adding the FDP to the SPD/B90/Gr (i.e. traffic light coalition) would give Schroeder 334 seats.  But this was rejected by the FDP on policy grounds.

13 Election 2005: Merkel’s Dilemma  Polls showed Germans did not want another election.  Merkel agrees to form a grand coalition with the SPD.  Coalition was strained by:  1) conservative social policy advocated by the CSU  2) center left economic policy favored by the SPD  3) desire for economic reform by members of the CDU.  SPD entered 2009 elections pushing for a return of the grand coalition.  CDU wanted to end it.

14 Election 2009: The Aftermath  CDU vote declined slightly  Being in government can sometimes come at an electoral cost.  Voters punished the SPD  Worst performance in the postwar era  Voters rewarded the FDP, the Greens, and the Left  All opposition parties fared well.  Government formed by the CDU/CSU and the FDP.  Merkel was seeking a yellow-black coalition rather than another grand coalition Left-76 G/B90-68 SPD-146 FDP-93 CDU-194 CSU-45

15 Conclusions: Party Goals  Goals are not mutually exclusive.  Parties may attempt to maximize one (e.g. votes) to obtain another (e.g. policy or office).  But parties must also make tradeoffs.  Pursuing one type of goal can hinder the attainment of other goals. Office seeking strategies may risk a rebellion amongst party activists. Policy seeking strategies may please activists but harm a party’s ability to win votes within the larger electorate. Vote seeking strategies may impinge on a party’s policy- seeking goals if they water them down to appeal to the larger electorate.

16 Next Unit  Theme: Parties and Votes  Reading: Ware CH 11 Mueller and Strom pgs  Game: Elections


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