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Interest Aggregation & Political Parties

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Presentation on theme: "Interest Aggregation & Political Parties"— Presentation transcript:

1 Interest Aggregation & Political Parties

2 Interest Aggregation Definition – activity in which the political demands of individuals and groups are combined into policy programs How interests are aggregated is key in the political process Determines which interests are heard What groups are allowed to participate Effects stability & effectiveness of governments Occurs in many ways Influential party leader or dictator may have impact Large states develop organizations for aggregating interests Political parties Authoritarian System – single party Democratic System – two or more parties

3 Institutional Interest Aggregation
Interest groups with powerful resources cross line between interest articulation & interest aggregation Institutional groups like bureaucratic agencies & military factions can be interest aggregators Negotiate with interest groups to identify preferences or mobilize support Create client support networks to expand organizations

4 Interest Aggregation Party Systems
Parties are often primary structures of interest aggregations Political Parties are groups or organizations that seek to place candidates in office under their label Can be one, two, or twenty in a political system! The number of parties & their relationship are components of a party system Competitive Party Systems primarily try to build electoral support Authoritarian Party Systems seek to direct society

5 Competitive Party Systems
Role of competitive parties in interest aggregation depends on each party, the structure of parties, electorates, electoral laws, and policymaking institutions Aggregation takes place at several stages Within individual parties Through electoral competition After election via bargaining & coalition-building with other parties in the legislature or executive

6 Voting in Competitive Party Systems
Parties live and die by performance in elections Voting – giving support to political candidates, parties, or policy proposals – is simple & frequently performed political action Aggregating votes gives citizens ability to make collective decision about leaders or policies Profound implications Choice of parties or candidates aggregates political interests Determine who manages affairs of government and makes policy Examples: Leftist governments came to power in Europe, expanding size and efforts of government whereas conservative parties generally slow the growth of gov’t Usually voters can choose whether or not to vote Some countries require voting

7 Electoral Systems Definition – rules by which elections are conducted
Determine who can vote, how people vote, and how the votes get counted Single Member District Plurality (SMDP) Election Rule – the candidate with the most votes in the district wins (not necessarily a majority) Majority Runoff – voting happens in two stages – first takes a majority, if not, there’s a second round Proportional Representation (PR) – each district may elect as many as 20 or 30 representatives Competing parties offer lists of candidates for slots in each district # of representatives a party wins depends on the overall proportion of the votes it receives

8 Competition Among Parties in Electoral Systems
Formulate appealing policy programs Nominate attractive candidates Anticipate offerings of their competitors & preferences of voters Must offer candidates for office Primary Elections – in the US, voters select party candidates Single Member Districts – usually party officials select candidates Closed-PR Systems – elected representatives drawn from the top of the list Open-List Systems – voters give preference to individual candidates on the list

9 Patterns of Electoral Voting
Duverger’s Law – relationship between electoral systems and party systems Plurality single-member district systems create two-party systems in the legislature Proportional representation systems generate multiparty systems 2 mechanisms behind it: Mechanical Effect – way that electoral systems convert votes into seats Single Member Districts offer no representation unless you finish first in at least one district Psychological Effect – voters & candidates anticipate the mechanical effect, so voters don’t throw away votes towards candidates they don’t think will win (third parties) Strategic Voting is giving your vote to a party or candidate who’s not your first choice to avoid an even worse outcome Downs’ Median Voter Result – parties moderate policies to try to win support of the median voter

10 Authoritarian Party Systems
Attempt to develop policy proposals & mobilize support in a different way from competitive party systems Aggregation takes place within the party or in interactions with business groups, unions, groups in the bureaucracy or the military May be sham elections, but citizens have no real opportunity to shape aggregation by choosing between party alternatives

11 Classification of Authoritarian Party Systems
Distinguished according to degree of top-down control within the party and party’s control over other groups in society Exclusive Governing Party insists on almost total control over political resources Totalitarianism Policies legitimized by ideology like communism or national socialism Inclusive Governing Party recognizes and accepts at least some other groups, but may repress those it sees as serious challenges to its control Sometimes labeled authoritarian corporatist systems, encouraging formation of interest groups that can bargain, but not supplying political resources to the public Electoral authoritarianism looks like democratic elections, but political opposition, media, and social organizations cannot criticize or challenge the current regime

12 Recap: Major Differences
Competitive Party Systems and Authoritarian Systems offer interest aggregation Competitive Party systems aggregate interests in multiple political parties and elections Authoritarian Systems aggregate interests within the dominant political party Citizens of competitive party systems have more options in interest articulation and aggregation than in authoritarian systems

13 Activity: Left-Right Scale of Political Parties
Political parties are groups that try to get candidates into office Members are connected through common political beliefs or ideologies Step 1 – Predict where these ideologies fall on the left-right spectrum: Centrism Conservatism Liberalism Reactionism Communism Fascism Social Democracy

14 Political Ideology Spectrum
Communism Liberalism Conservatism Fascism Social Democracy Centrism Reactionism LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE

15 STEP 2 Place Republicans and Democrats along the scale.
The left-right scale is divided up by numbers 1-10 1 is Communism 5 is Centrism 10 is Fascism

16 Placement of Parties on the Left-Right Scale & Their Voter Support
United States, 2000 Britain, 2001 Germany, 2002 France, 2002 Mexico 2000 Democrats Republicans Labour Liberal-Democrat Conservatives SPD CDU/CSU PDS Green FDP RPR Socialist FN Communist Green UDF PAN PRI PRD

17 Short Essay Democrats & Republicans make themselves appear VERY different in elections But, on the left-right scale, Democrats fall between a 5 and 6, and Republicans fall between a 6 and 7 – not that different! SO, Why do you think Democrats and Republicans in the United States portray themselves as being so radically different when they are not as far apart on the Left-Right Scale as the Labour and Conservative Parties in Great Britain?

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