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Political Parties Def’n: A group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by supplying them with a label—a party identification—by which the electorate.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Parties Def’n: A group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by supplying them with a label—a party identification—by which the electorate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Parties Def’n: A group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by supplying them with a label—a party identification—by which the electorate knows them Each party is a coalition of different interests (Lincoln Chaffee and Trent Lott don’t always vote the same way, neither do Ted Kennedy and Zell Miller), some Republicans are pro- choice, some Democrats oppose gun control Relatively weak today, since the laws and rules they operate under have taken away their power Decentralized structure because of federalism

2 Why Only 2 Parties? Historical/traditional basis—always been 2 Electoral system: most elections are single-member districts (1 candidate elected to each ballot office, plurality of votes good enough to win—majority not needed). In France, for example, majority needed for election. Single-member districts crowd out third parties, “Wasted vote” concerns, tough to get on ballot in all 50 states, Winner take all (except ME and NB) American consensus pushes us to compromise, and not fracture off into small factions

3 Party Platforms: Democrats Fiscal Redistribution: “Robin Hood” Welfare supporters Higher taxes, federal government should be more involved in people’s lives Gun Control Anti-death penalty Pro-Choice Liberal stance on social issues (feminism, socialism, permissive of lifestyle choices) Environmental activists

4 Party Platforms: Republicans Lower Taxes, Less government Safety net, but no permanent welfare Pro-Business, less environmentally concerned Anti-Gun Control Pro-School prayer Anti-abortion States should have more power than federal government Social Issues: Conservative Favor built-up military

5 What Parties Do Nominate Candidates for Office Inform and stimulate apathetic voters “Seal of Approval”: endorsements for candidates, encourage them to do their jobs well Governmental function—appointments usually made on a partisan basis Watchdog—party in power tries to stay there, while loyal opposition tries to point out their faults and failures. (Senator Daschle going after President Bush on arsenic) Anthony Downs (Rational Choice Model): Parties and voters are rational, and parties try to pursue policies with broad public appeal. This may explain why some people think there isn’t much difference between the 2 parties

6 3 Political Roles of Parties Labels that voters identify with Organization that recruits Set of leaders who organize government (I’ll make you wait for Chapter 11 to discuss this, but for now, just realize that parties no longer control Congress votes!) Parties have become noticeably weaker in all three areas

7 Parties as Labels Parties much weaker than they were in the 1800s, but not that much weaker than 30 years ago….large numbers of independents Split-ticket voting has increased in recent years

8 % Identifying as Party Members

9 As Organizations Parties have gotten dramatically weaker as organizations since the 1960s In Europe, the only way you can get elected is to be nominated by party leaders, and once you get in, you’re a party slave What explains these differences?? (Next slide).

10 Why Differences Between the US and Europe? US has a federal system that decentralizes political authority and hence, political party organization…emphasis has shifted from state/local government to federal government….paradoxical European parties are better gatekeepers Most people with appointed jobs worked for state/local government..parties had to focus on county/state elections This is changing; paradox can be attributed to state and federal laws that render parties impotent

11 Laws that Emasculate Parties State primary elections/caucuses allow the voters to choose general election candidates In Europe, you have to encourage leaders, “Please put my pathetic rear end on the ballot!” Winning control of either house of Congress does not guarantee you will be able to determine the executive. Many Presidents pursue “blocking” strategy, although SC has ruled that Presidents can be forced to spend money appropriated by Congress. Recall that Cabinet members must resign from Congress (Article I, Section VI)….so President cannot sway Congressional votes by giving out appointments

12 The Role of Political Culture In the United States, citizens do not usually join parties unless they have a compelling interest In Europe, large numbers join, pay dues, and attend party meetings…in France, Italy, and Austria, parties sponsor labor unions, educational programs, even chess clubs! Parties play a segmental, not a comprehensive role in American life

13 Political Culture and Following Candidates can’t rely on machines Must establish a “cult of personality.” Helps to have expressive personality, lots of friends, political lineage, and a big bank account (Kennedys, Byrds, Tallmadges, LaFollettes) According to David Mayhew, traditional party structure only works in 8 states, mostly NE

14 Political Party History Founders disliked parties Parties develop because of differences of opinion in how the Constitution should be interpreted; parties built top-down 1 st parties: Federalists and Republicans (NE strongly Federalist), soon followed by “Era of Good Feeling, Hamilton led Feds, Jefferson leads Republicans

15 The Jacksonian Era Emergence of 2 nd Party System Electorate enlarged: no property qual. Electors by 1832 chosen by the people Party system built from bottom-up Marked an end to the Caucus system— members of Congress nominate Presidential candidates (was an effort to unite legislative and executive branches) Convention system (1831 Anti-Masonics 1 st ) develops as a reform that promotes local control

16 Civil War/ Sectionalist Period Republicans gain control of White House and most Congresses. Why? 1) Civil War polarized Republican support in North 2) Bryan Candidacy of 1896 alienated NE North solidly Republican, Democrats hold “Solid South” Competition in 1-party states is now WITHIN parties….esp. Republicans and in the NE

17 Splits within the Republicans Stalwarts— “Old Guard” that focused on building up party machinery, interested in VICTORY Progressives— “Reformers,” fought for Civil Service Reform Direct primary The Initiative The Referendum Nonpartisan local elections Direct election of Senators Were fearful of immigrants, played balancing role

18 National Party Structure Today Democrats and Republicans similar on paper Ultimate authority vested in Nat’l Convention headed by National Committee that manages affairs between conventions and elects a National Chairman Republicans made major changes in 1970s; well-financed, highly staffed, worked on Congressional elections too— computerized mailings (!) worked like a charm! Republicans became bureaucratized, Democrats were factionalized (Dems changed the way Presidential candidates were nominated). Dems realize mistakes. RNC used this money to offer political consulting in races throughout the country…gave legal advice, studied issues, analyzed voting trends

19 National Conventions Conventions used to be much more deliberative Now, “Made for TV.” Conflict in Dem Party: Give delegates to South for loyalty or N/NW for liberal character? Conflict in Rep. Party: Give delegates to NE or MW? Democrats apportion delegates to large states Republicans allocate to loyal states (past elections), South and Southwest Democrats move more to the left, Republicans move more to the right

20 Democrat Meandering Democrats have established rules that weaken the control of delegates by local party leaders and have increased the proportion of blacks, women, and the young McGovern, Mikulski, Winograd Commissions weakened the influence of leader and created intraparty democracy as well as interparty democracy

21 Democratic Party Rule Changes of the 1970s Equal #s of men and women delegates “Goals” for representation of blacks and other minorities in proportion Open delegate-selection process 75% of delegates must be elected at the Congressional district or lower Delegates not required to vote with the majority of their state delegation Restricted # of elected officials who could vote at the convention All delegates pledged to a candidate must vote for that candidate

22 Rules are meant to be broken… 1981 Hunt Commission changed the rule that delegates must vote for the candidate they are pledged to, and allowed more SUPERDELEGATES This benefitted Mondale in 1984.

23 Realignment Republican used to attract white-collar voters, and Democrats blue-collar voters After a decade of reform ( ), parties each claimed a share of the upper-middle class….traditional middle class goes Republican..bad news for Democrats as they lose 3 rd straight election in ’88…what to do? 1988 Kirk Committee—Dems increase # of superdelegates even more, factions cut out

24 Democrats still playing with #s Ron Brown makes changes in 1992 to make Democrats more competitive Winner-reward distribution of delegates banned. Proportional representation for candidates that get > 15% of the vote (get more delegates) Result is that conventions merely ratify choices made in primaries and caucuses

25 Machines Def’n: Party organizations that recruit its members by the use of tangible incentives People join because of solidary incentives too—it’s a game; it’s fun….not dedicated Example: Tammany Hall Opposite of ideological party—machines value winning above all else Pendleton Act helps end machines Hatch Act (1939) makes it illegal for federal civil servants to take an active role in political campaigns by serving as party officers, soliciting funds, running for partisan office, endorsing candidates, taking voters to polls, or being delegates—can still vote and contribute though

26 Minor Parties: Types Ideological parties —1 set of beliefs (Communist, Socialist, Libertarian, Green Party). Values principle above all else, usually factionalized, longest-lived parties. Reform movements in major parties turn into more focused social movements (single-issue parties like Christian Coalition) Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): “Social movements are our farm clubs.” Single-Issue parties: Prohibition, Right to Life Party, Marijuana legalization, immigration parties Economic Protest Parties—Greenback party Splinter parties—”Bull Moose Party”

27 Nominating a President Two competing problems: #1: Must nominate mainstream candidate to win election #2: To get to the national stage, you have to win in extreme groups Delegates tend to be much more extreme than rank- and-file party members and voting specialists Before 1972, most delegates were picked by party leaders. Now, they are picked by primaries and caucuses Possibility that media steered Democrats away from Dean?

28 The Future of Political Parties Big increase in split ticket voting, as opposed to straight-ticket voting, threatens political parties 3 rd parties continue their role as “spoiler” Campaign finance reform???? Role of PACs (Political Action Committees) National Chairpersons much more influential (Terry McAuliffe, Democrats, and Marc Racicot, Republicans

29 Chapter 9 Learning Objectives After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to do each of the following: 1.Define the term political party and contrast the structures of the European and American parties, paying particular attention to the federal structure of the United States system and the concept of party identification. 2.Trace the development of the United States party system through its four periods. Explain why parties have been in decline since the New Deal. 3.Describe the structure of a major party. Distinguish powerful from powerless party units. 4.Indicate whether there are major differences between the parties. Describe some of the issue differences between delegates at Democratic and Republican conventions, and compare these differences with those of the party rank and file.


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