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Politics in States and Communities (15 Ed.) Thomas Dye and Susan MacManus Edited by Bob Botsch for POLI 458
Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Participation in State Politics
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Learning Objectives Enumerate the different types of political participation, and understand the frequency with which Americans participate in politics. Evaluate whether it is rational to vote, and identify the various factors that influence voter turnout. Explain how differences in election laws between the states may influence both voter turnout and which candidates will be victorious. Compare patterns in voter turnout among whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians. Explain the methods the federal government has employed to gradually expand the right to vote, tracing this expansion from creation of the Constitution through the adoption of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. Describe how states have drawn political districts to increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities elected to public office and what the Supreme Court has said about these efforts. Compare the participation of men and women in state politics, and assess the significance of the recent influx of women in state and local political office. Describe how political views and clout differ at different levels of government. Describe the various interest groups that attempt to influence state politics and the role that lobbyists play in the process. Describe the tactics used by lobbyists to promote group interests, and compare these tactics to those employed at the national level. Explain why interest groups are more powerful in some states than in others. Describe the differences between protests, political disobedience, and violence; and outline how state and local governments respond to these types of political participation.
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Political Participation Necessary for a democratic republic. Includes voting, running for office, participating in marches or demonstrations, giving money or time to efforts, attending rallies or events, writing letters or emails, wearing a button, discussing issues with friends, or belonging to an organization that does public service. Not always sustained over time
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Political Participation
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Voting and Voter Turnout Voting a common method of political involvement, a right in a democracy, yet many people do not vote Voter turnout measured several ways: –% of the voting age population that votes –% of the voting eligible population that votes –% of registered voters that votes Turnout is the lowest in local elections. Voting is not “rational” on cost-benefit basis but most people vote for psychological/solidarity reasons
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. The Trend in Voter Turnout—note the difference between the two lines!
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Who Fails to Vote? The young, the poor, the unemployed, and the least educated are the least likely to vote. Nonvoters are predominantly: –First-generation immigrants, especially non-English speaking –Those who seldom participate in organized religious activities –Newcomers to a community –People with little or no interest in politics, little trust in government, no belief that voting is a civic duty, and no belief they can make a difference by voting –Persons with physical disabilities
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Who Fails to Vote? and… –Blue-collar and service-sector workers –Asians and Latinos –Independents –Single parents living in poor neighborhoods –Persons who have not been contacted by a candidate or party –Renters (vs. homeowners) –Residents of solidly one-party dominated states (nonswing states)
Voter Turnout Rate: 2012 Presidential Election
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Reasons for Variations in Voter Turnout Socioeconomic explanations: High education/income means more likely to vote Partisan competition-related explanations: High turnout in swing states Media predicting winners early explanation: Discourages later voters Legal and procedural explanations –Differences in registration procedures –Federally mandated “motor voter” registration law –Differences in time, place, equipment, ballots, and poll workers –Intimidation by or anger at voter id laws
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Who Votes?
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Continuing Election Controversies Effects of certain election reforms are still being debated Election reform efforts have also become considerably more partisan and are particularly intense in states with high levels of party competition The prevalent controversial issues include: –Voter eligibility and verification (IDs) –Voting locations and ease of voting –Online (Internet) registration, ballot requests, and voting
Voter ID Requirements
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Race, Ethnicity, and Political Participation Racial and ethnic minorities growing in # and % and in political power African Americans: Surpassed white voter turnout for first time in history in 2012 presidential election Hispanics: Like blacks are likely to practice “co-ethnic voting” Asians: Relatively low turnouts may be related to tendency to register as independents Jews and Cubans: important in areas where more concentrated
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Minority Voting Trends
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Securing the Right to Vote Elimination of property qualifications: by early 1800s Fifteenth Amendment: In 1870, banned race discrimination Nineteenth Amendment: In 1920, banned gender discrimination The “White Primary”: Deemed unconstitutional in 1944 Discrimination: An ongoing problem even into twentieth century Civil Rights Act of 1964: Banned unequal standards Twenty-Fourth Amendment: In 1964, banned poll taxes Voting Rights Act of 1965: Largely eliminated discrimination in voting Eighteen-year-old voting: Achieved in 1971 with Twenty-Sixth Amendment
Affirmative Racial Gerrymandering
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Women In State Politics Traditionally have not participated at rate of men but rapidly changing Women in state offices: Now make up almost one-fourth of state legislators Image challenges: May be tagged as soft on drugs and crime The political gender gap: Women more likely to vote Democratic Women and policymaking: May give higher priority to women’s and children’s issues when reach a critical mass in legislatures (>25%)
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Elected Women—see the Center for American Women and Politics Center for American Women and PoliticsCenter for American Women and Politics
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Young and Old in State Politics Generational conflict intensifying across nation –Seniors have lowest poverty level –Children have highest poverty level Generational clout differs in presidential and nonpresidential elections: –Young voters more important in national, esp presidential elections –Seniors still much more influential in state and local elections Generational policy agendas: Young and old often agree on what the big problems are, though not necessarily on priorities, causes, or cures—e.g. Social Security and Medicare and EducationEducation
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Generation Gap and the Partisan Divide
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Interest Groups in State Politics Different than parties: Interest groups seek to influence specific policies rather than achieve total control over the government Organized interests: May relate to occupation/economy, race or religion, ideology, labor union, government official, or recipient of government service Professional lobbyists: Many are former legislators hired because they “know their way around” Lobby registration: Often only professional lobbyists officially register
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Functions and Tactics of Interest Groups Techniques vary widely, depending on groups and their leaders Typical tactics: Testifying, contacting lawmakers, drafting legislation Bill monitoring: Much time spent keeping tabs on bills affecting client Lobbying: Involves persuasion but also providing technical info Bribery and corruption: More common at state than national level Grassroots lobbying: media campaigns, and public relations—focus is not exclusively on lawmakers—on public opinion PAC money in the states: Reliance on PACs is increasing for state office
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Comparing Interest Group Power in the States States have been categorized as having either a dominant, complementary, or subordinate interest group system Pluralism—the economic diversity explanation: Influence of interest groups greater when one industry dominates political life The party explanation: Strong parties make for weak interest groups The professionalism explanation: Interest groups more influential when legislatures are less professional The governmental fragmentation explanation: States with weak governors often face strong interest group systems
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Protest as Political Participation Growing at state/local level, e.g. protests against union busting actions by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Protest: Direct, collective activity to obtain concessions Civil disobedience: Break “unjust” laws, and accept the punishment Violence: Criminal, generally irrational, and self-defeating News media response often the key to success Effectiveness: Highest when goal is clear and have strong organ. Official responses: May be genuine, symbolic, or token State and local governments bear costs of protests: Busted budgets
© 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. On the Web www.politico.com A web-based newspaper www.lwv.org The League of Women Voters www.votesmart.org Project Vote Smart
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