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POSC 1000 Introduction to Politics Unit Seven:Elections and Political Parties (Part Two) Russell Alan Williams.

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Presentation on theme: "POSC 1000 Introduction to Politics Unit Seven:Elections and Political Parties (Part Two) Russell Alan Williams."— Presentation transcript:

1 POSC 1000 Introduction to Politics Unit Seven:Elections and Political Parties (Part Two) Russell Alan Williams

2 Unit Seven: Elections and Political Parties “Political Parties” Required Reading: Maclean and Wood, Chap. 7. Outline: 1. Introduction 2. Types of Parties 3. Party Organization and Campaigns 4. Party Systems Ideological Competition Structure of Competition

3 1) Introduction: “Political Parties”: Organizations that seek to gain and maintain political power Play central role in competition for electoral office Members fill positions in legislature Members form executive/governments Members raise $$$$ for campaigns Often no “constitutional” role & limited regulation

4 Traditional functions: Recruit candidates and voters to participate in system – the “Recruitment Function” Support new candidates Ensure voter turnout “Organize the vote” – “Electoral Platforms” Parties take stands on different issues – these platforms are like a “menu” for voters to choose from Ensure government accountability – meaning ????? People can clearly vote against “the government” by voting against that party – this doesn't work well without parties

5 Commonly seen as harmful to democracy? Purveyors of corruption and “Patronage”: Awarding of key government positions to loyal party supporters. =Controversy! Impede the “will of the people” = undermine accountability =Controversy! =Theme: Are parties in “crisis”?

6 2) Types of Parties: “ Cadre Party ” :Party formed by elite group of politicians in attempt to control legislature Oldest form – emerged from cooperation amongst a parliamentary party “caucus” – the organization of party members in parliament E.g. the British “ Whigs ” and “ Tories ” Unclear link between party officials and the public – no “ mass membership”

7 “Mass Party”: Large parties organized based on regular financial contributions from the public – power comes from membership. Less focus on elected members – more emphasis on the Extra-parliamentary Party =”rank and file” or “grassroots” members Party Convention: Regular meeting of delegates from local constituencies as well as elected representatives and party officials. E.g. British Labour Party German Social Democratic Party

8 Key differences: Mass parties are “ideological” Mass parties – ordinary members choose leaders Challenges: Can a cadre party survive consistent defeats? Where are the “Whigs” today????? Can a mass party maintain links to the public? Belief that over time all organizations are gradually dominated by small group of leaders

9 New forms of parties: “Umbrella” or “Catch-all Parties”: Dominant concern is winning elections. Parties try to appeal to a wide range of issues... Less ideological. Relies on $$$$$ and professional experts to “market” the party to voters Implication: Focus on leaders & style over ideology Reasons for emergence? “Hot dog stand theory” – modern parties “move to the centre”.... Ideology only costs you some voters... so... you should abandon clear stances for broad appeal Problem: Are parties fufilling their role if we choose based on the qualities of the leaders etc.??????

10 Other types of parties: Brokerage Party: Party that tries to appeal to broad elements of society by accommodating interests of different groups and regions through deal-making Promise benefits to different groups Canadian type of cadre party? = Coalitions of special interests Examples?

11 Other types of parties: Brokerage Party: Party that tries to appeal to broad elements of society by accommodating interests of different groups through deal-making Promise benefits to different groups Canadian type of cadre party? = Coalitions of special interests Examples? =The Liberal Party of Canada

12 3) Party Organization and Campaigns: Leadership: In most systems, parties choose the head of government by selecting own leader Methods: Parliamentary party election –Becoming less popular Party convention election - delegates from constituencies choose leader through “ run off ” ballots –“ Public spectacle ” is popular Direct membership votes - all party members vote –U.S. Presidential “ primaries ” –Electronic voting – Problem: leader may not win majority – makes system complicated

13 Local candidate selection - Either by: Local “ constituency association ” Party leader “ Parachute candidates ” – party insiders and “ star ” recruits Party nomination is key! “Independents”: Electoral candidates that do not belong to a party - do not get elected in most systems = lonely loooosers In SMP, party candidate selection (nomination battles) often more important than elections... –E.g. “ safe seats ”

14 Party “Caucus ” : Organization/meeting of all the party ’ s parliamentary members Closed meetings to discuss strategy Ensures “ party discipline ” Members vote the “party line” or they must leave caucus =No party support in next election Big difference between Canada and US Dominance of leader over caucus can lead to executive dominance in parliamentary system

15 Party Finance: High risk of corruption and inequality = Costs almost $1 billion (US) to run for President Most countries regulate how parties solicit funds Results of regulation uneven (E.g. U.S. rules) In Canada: Pre 2004 – Public reporting, but no limits on $$$ amount from corporations and individuals –Benefited Liberals and Conservatives Post 2004 – Corporate donations capped at $ , individuals at $5, –Parties receive gov ’ t funding = $1.75 for each vote Now?

16 Parties and the vote – why do people vote the way they do? a) Ideological and social factors... b) Party Identification: long term psychological attachment to a particular party E.g. Best predictor of which party someone will vote for is who they voted for in the past Elections mainly about “swing voters” or “independents” Modern parties choose issues to attract swing voters They also choose some issues to “protect their base”....

17 c) Campaign dynamics: The “local team” may have a particular impact “Electoral platforms” may make promises of particular interest to some voters What issues become important? E.g. Michael Dukakis and Willie Horton d) The role of leaders – how leaders appear to the public is crucial: The Howard Dean scream: “B’YEEEEH!” LinkLink The Ignatieff “rise up” speech. LinkLink e) The role of “negative campaigning” and “Attack adds”: Adds that attack other candidates rather than appeal to voters

18 4) Party Systems: “Party Systems”: Pattern of competition amongst parties in different jurisdictions “One Party System”: A system in which only one party is allowed to participate = not very democratic E.g. “Militia Party”: A common style of one party state, where military elite dominates only recognized party “Competitive Party System”: Liberal democratic political system where citizens can join and organize different parties

19 In “Competitive Party Systems”the “structure” of competition amongst parties has big impacts on government... a) Structure of ideological competition ”Left-Right continuum” – common way to think about party completion

20 If parties are ideological, number of parties can really impact electoral outcomes... E.g. What if the “left” or “right” is split? Where do nationalist/regional parties fit? Where do brokerage and Catch-all parties fit?

21 b) Structure of party competition: Depends on relevant number of effective parties And, Relative success of those parties One Party Dominant: One dominant party, no “government in waiting” Japan, Alberta and NL? “Two Party System”: Two major competitive parties Normal in “SMP” – US, Australia, UK, most Canadian Provinces

22 Two-Plus Party System: Two competitive parties plus some extra “effective” parties Additional party can hold “balance of power” Germany, Ontario “Multiparty System”: More than two parties are “significant” in the struggle for power. Netherlands, France, Israel and places where there is “PR”. Question: Where does Canada fit?

23 In parliament traditionally = Two Party Plus In elections and citizens votes = “Multiparty” Difference is a product of the “electoral system”!

24 5) Conclusions: Citizens are often unaware of how electoral system contributes to party system and responsiveness of government.... Canada has a very complex party system, but the electoral system rewards two party competition Produces unexpected results....

25 6) For next time: Unit Eight: Political Socialization and Culture (March 18 and 20) Required Reading: MacLean and Wood, Chapter 8. Research Papers due, in class, March 18.


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