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Political Parties. Political party PartisanshipMinor partyTwo-party system Single- member districts PluralityBipartisanPluralistic society ConsensusMultiparty.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Parties. Political party PartisanshipMinor partyTwo-party system Single- member districts PluralityBipartisanPluralistic society ConsensusMultiparty."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Parties

2 Political party PartisanshipMinor partyTwo-party system Single- member districts PluralityBipartisanPluralistic society ConsensusMultiparty CoalitionOne-party system IncumbentFactionsElectorate SectionalismIdeological parties Single-issue parties Economic protest parties Splinter parties Split-ticket voting Vocabulary

3 Political Party A group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office

4 What do parties do? Nominate candidates Inform and activate supporters Ensure the good performance of their candidates and officeholders Govern Act as a watchdog

5 Two-party system Republicans Democrats The United States has many minor parties. Minor parties generally have little power. In a typical election, only the Republican or the Democratic Party’s candidates have a reasonable chance of winning public office. Do you know who Earl Dodge is?

6 Why a two-party system Tradition The electoral system Ballot access restrictions Campaign resources Media coverage Unknown candidates Negative attitudes Taken from

7 Why a two-party system Tradition: America has a two-party system because there has always been a two-party system Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Even though the Framers wanted a unified country and did not want divisive parties, factions formed from the beginning George Washington warned against “the baneful effects of the spirit of party”

8 Why a two-party system Electoral system: The features of our electoral system promote the two-party system – Single-member districts: Only one candidate is elected to each office on the ballot – Plurality: the largest number of votes cast for the office Example: In a proportional representation system, 20% of the votes usually yields some seats in the legislature. In a single-member district, a party can win 20% of the vote in every state and still not win a single seat in the legislature.

9 Why a two-party system Ballot access restrictions: Major party candidates automatically appear on the ballot Minor parties must overcome different sets of state laws – Each state has their own laws about access to the ballot – Filing deadlines vary – Signature requirements – Fees

10 Why a two-party system Campaign resources: Third parties receive less public funds than the two major parties Third-parties cannot attract expert political advisors Third-parties cannot raise as much funds as the two major parties

11 Why a two-party system Media coverage: The media focuses on the two main parties Media coverage generates name recognition and legitimacy Televised national debates often excludes third parties Media believes that the public is not interested in third party candidates

12 Why a two-party system Unknown candidates: Candidates of third parties are often unknown, lack political experience, and lack the credentials to be considered qualified for public office

13 Why a two-party system Negative attitudes: Third party candidates do poorly because most people think they will do poorly – Self-fulfilling prophecy Third parties are seen as disrupting a traditional two-party system

14 Multiparty Systems Several major parties and many lesser parties exist and compete for public office – Feature of most European democracies Each party is often based on a particular interest Can cause instability in government – Example: Italy (There has been a new government on average of once every year since the end of WWII) Parties often form coalitions to create a government

15 One-party system An example of a one-party system is a dictatorship Some of the American States can be described as a modified one-party system because one of the major parties regularly wins most elections in those States

16 Party Membership Patterns Party membership is voluntary Party membership often includes many demographics because parties must gain more votes than their opponents Individuals identify with a party for many reasons – Family – Major events – Economic status – Age – Education

17 Minor Parties Ideological parties: based on a particular set of beliefs – Examples: Socialist party, Communist party, Libertarian party Single-issue parties: focus on only one public- policy matter – Examples: American Party (opposed Irish-Catholic immigration in the 1850s), Right to Life Party

18 Minor Parties Economic protest parties: – No clear-cut ideological base. – They proclaim their disgust with the major parties and demand better times, and focus on the monetary system, “Wall Street bankers,” and other economic targets. – Mostly sectional parties from the agricultural South and West. – Example: Populist Party of the 1890s (demanded ownership of railroads, telephone and telegraph companies, etc.)

19 Minor Parties Splinter parties: split from one of the major parties. – Most of the more important minor parties have been splinter parties. – Example: Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” Progressive Party (1912) – Formed around a strong personality Some minor parties do not fit any category. Example: The Green Party (1996)

20 Why Minor Parties are Important A minor party was the first to use a national convention to nominate a presidential candidate ( Anti-Masons 1831). Third Parties can take votes from a major party. Example: 1912 Bull Moose Party

21 Why Minor Parties are Important Critic and Innovator – Take on controversial issues – Draw attention to new issues that are ignored by the major parties – Examples include old-age pensions and woman suffrage When the issues that minor parties champion become popular with the major parties, the minor party usually dissolves

22 Party Organization Decentralized in nature No chain of command from national to local: Local organizations can act independently from national organizations

23 Decentralized Nature of Parties The Role of the Presidency – President’s party is more organized than opposition because the President is party leader – The opposition party does not have a clear leader. It has a number of leaders, usually in conflict. – No clear leader of opposition = decentralization

24 Decentralized Nature of Parties Federalism – Offices widely distributed at the national, State, and local level – Federalism is by definition decentralization. Thus, party structure in a federalist system is decentralized.

25 Decentralized Nature of Parties Nominating Process: this is an intraparty process – Members of the same party are running against each other for a nomination (a chance to run for office) – Conflicts and fragmentation occur when the nominating process is divisive

26 National Party Machinery National Convention – Picks the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates National Committee – Not a great deal of power – Handles party business between conventions National Chairperson – Leader of the national committee (four-year term) – Directs the work of the party’s headquarters Congressional Campaign Committees – Work to reelect incumbents and unseat opposition party members

27 State Party Machinery Party structure is largely set by State law State central committee: works with the chairperson to further the party’s interests in the State State chairperson: usually a mouthpiece for the governor or a U.S. Senator

28 Three Social Components of the Party 1.Party organization: Party leaders, activists and supporters 2.Party in the electorate: loyal voters who do not vote against the party 3.Party in government: Party officeholders

29 Future of Major Parties The major parties are declining in power. Why? – Voters do not identify with one of the two major parties – Split-ticket voting – Greater internal conflict within the parties – Media makes parties less relevant. Candidates can speak directly to the people – The growth and support of single-issue organizations


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