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CH 5:Political Parties Sections 1-2-3-4. Political Party: A group of people who seek to control government through winning elections and holding public.

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Presentation on theme: "CH 5:Political Parties Sections 1-2-3-4. Political Party: A group of people who seek to control government through winning elections and holding public."— Presentation transcript:

1 CH 5:Political Parties Sections 1-2-3-4

2 Political Party: A group of people who seek to control government through winning elections and holding public office Democrat Republican Major American Parties:  Joined together on the basis of common issues and beliefs  NOT issue or principle oriented  INSTEAD they are ELECTION ORIENTED

3 The Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant Ever wondered what the story was behind these two famous party animals? The now-famous Democratic donkey was first associated with Democrat Andrew Jackson's 1828 presidential campaign. His opponents called him a jackass (a donkey), and Jackson decided to use the image of the strong-willed animal on his campaign posters. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast used the Democratic donkey in newspaper cartoons and made the symbol famous. Nast invented another famous symbol—the Republican elephant. In a cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1874, Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion's skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” That's all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party. Factmonster.com

4 Political Parties are essential to democratic government 1.Major mechanism behind development of policy and leadership choices 2.Medium through which options are presented to the people 3.Bring conflicting groups together; encourage compromise; soften the extremes

5 What do political parties do? 1.Nominate Candidates 2.Inform and activate supporters (also performed by news media and interest groups) 3.“Bonding Agent”—ensures the good performance of its candidates 4.Governing—public office holders chosen and organized by party 5.Watchdog—each party keeps an eye on what the other is doing

6 Why the two-party system? 1.Historical basis/tradition 2.Electoral system 3.Winner take all (plurality)—only one person elected to each office—either vote for incumbent or challenger—a vote for anyone else is often considered “wasted.” 4.Americans have a broad consensus (general agreement on fundamental matters. Conditions don’t normally produce strong rivalries

7 Why not a multi-party system? 1.Various parties become based on particular interests or issues 2.One party is usually not able to win support of the majority, thus must form coalitions (temporary alliances 3.Leads to instability—frequent changes in control as coalitions shift and dissolve

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9 Party Membership Patterns (membership is voluntary—trends) Democrats African Americans Catholics Jews Union Members Republicans Males Protestants Business Community

10 Minor Parties 1.Ideological Parties 2.Single-issue parties-focus on only one public policy matter 3.Economic Protest parties—proclaimed disgust with major parties and demand better 4.Splinter Parties—split away from major parties (often form around a strong personality

11 Why are minor parties important? 1.Can play a “spoiler” role in an election 2.Roles of critic and innovator


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