Political Participation in the USA In what ways can American citizens participate in politics?
1.Voting Elections take place for many different posts and positions in the USA, at levels from local, state and up to Federal. FederalStateLocal 1.President1.State Governor1.Mayor 2.Senator2.Sheriff 3.House of Representatives 3.Dog Catcher
2.Standing for Election Barack Obama standing for the Democrats and winning the 2012 Presidential Election. Mitt Romney standing for and winning the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential elections.
3.Referendum US voters are also asked from time to time to vote on particular issues called referendum. If a majority supports the issue, then it can be enforced e.g. California’s Proposition 227 (replace bi-lingual education). California’s Proposition 8 which only allowed for marriage between a man and woman.
4.Joining a Political Party Americans can also participate by joining a political party. This shows their support for the party. The 2 main parties in US politics are; the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans – party of big business, mainly supported by wealthy white people. The Democrats – party of big government, mainly supported by working class and ethnic minorities.
5.Election Campaigns Fifthly, Americans can participate by helping their party during election campaigns. For example, in the 2008 Presidential election a massive $514 million was spent by the Democrat, Barack Obama. The Republican Presidential candidate spent $347 million. Party members can take part in the campaign by; Donate money to the campaign Handing out leaflets Putting up posters Encouraging voter registration e.g. Rock the Vote campaign encouraged young people to register to vote Count ballot papers e.g. the Butterfly Ballot scandal in Florida.
The Butterfly Ballot Butterfly Ballot used in Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election. Democrat supporters punched the 2 nd hole because their party is 2 nd on the ballot paper BUT they should have punched the 3 rd hole. It cost former Vice- President Al Gore the Presidency; George Bush winning instead.
6.Interest Groups Lastly, American citizens can also join or support interest groups in the USA. They campaign and put pressure on state governments (e.g. California) and the federal government (all of the USA) on certain issues. Issues include; -Abortion -Gun control -Gay rights
6.Interest Groups cont’d Interest Groups 1 Joining the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) which was founded in 1974 to combat gun violence. Joining the National Rifle Association (NRA) whose aim is to protect and defend the Second Amendment rights of citizens to “bear arms.” Interest Group 2 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure that all people regardless of race are treated fairly.
Question American citizens can participate in the political system. Describe, in detain, ways in which American citizens can take part in the political system (6marks)