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Political Parties AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar November 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Parties AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar November 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Parties AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar November 2010

2 What is a Political Party?  A group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by supplying them with a label – “party identification” – by which they are known to the electorate.  Examples – Democrat, Republican, Green, Socialist, …

3 Functions of Political Parties  Labels – to help voters identify themselves with. The trend has been weaker party id since the 19 th C.  Organizations – to recruit and campaign for candidates. Parties have been weaker at this since the 1960’s.

4 Functions of Political Parties - cont  A set of leaders – to try to organize and control the legislative & executive branches.  The trend has that parties have remained strong in this capacity.

5 The Paradox of Political Parties  Political authority has become more centralized in the U.S.  Political parties have not become more centralized, actually weaker and more decentralized.  Why?????

6 The Paradox of Political Parties  Political parties are closely regulated by state & federal laws.  Many candidates are chosen by primaries, not party leaders.  Result = candidates owe little to party leaders

7 The Origins of Political Parties  The “Founders” typically did not like parties – self interest.  Washington warned of them in his farewell address.  However, they soon formed.

8 The Origins of a two-party System Federalists Led by Alexander Hamilton Represented wealthy and upper-class interests Favored strong executive leadership and liberal interpretation of the Constitution Republican Party Evolved into the modern “Republican Party Anti-Federalists Democratic-Republicans Led by Thomas Jefferson Represented the “common man” Favored Congress as the strongest arm of ” government and a strict interpretation of the Constitution Democratic Party Evolved into the modern “Democratic Party”

9 Spirit of Nationalism in US patriotism or national oneness Country is united, confident, and growing , 9 states joined the original 13. One political party---Republican party Boston newspaper declared an “Era of Good Feelings” had began. First party system was weak No family history of party identification Sectionalist politics People were not professional politicians

10 Jacksonian Democracy  Return of the two- party system – Democrats & Whigs  Huge increase in political participation  Why?  Laws passed reducing voter restrictions

11 Jacksonian Democracy  The party convention replaced the caucus system (legislative means of nominating candidates for president).  Gave more local control over the nominating process

12 Civil War & Sectionalism  Slavery split the country in half  Republican party emerged as a 3 rd party  The Civil War resulted in Northerners becoming Republicans and Southerners Democrats.

13 Civil War & Sectionalism  Result to political parties = states were now one- party states and competition within parties within those states increased.  Parties split into factions.

14 The Era of Reform  Progressives split from the “Old Guard” Republicans.  Advocated primary elections, strict voter- registration regulations, civil service reform, and wanted to end the abuses of partisanship.  Resulted in the weakening of political parties.

15 Realigning Periods  Times when sharp, lasting shifts occur in the support of one or both parties.  Issues change resulting in shifts in voter support.  Why do realignments occur???? 1. A major party is beaten so badly it disappears 2. The two major parties continue, but voters shift their loyalty from one to the other. 3. A new issue of utmost importance to the voters cuts across party lines and helps form new partisan identification.

16 The 5 Major Realigning Periods – Jeffersonian Republicans defeat the Federalists – Jacksonian Democrats come to power – Whig party collapses and the Republican party rises – Republicans defeat William Jennings Bryant – Democrats under FDR come to power

17 Recent Realignment  The South which had been historically Democrat has shifted to supporting Republican presidential candidates since 1972.

18 More Reasons For Party Decline  Party identification has dropped.  The % of people voting a split ticket has also increased.  Example – Bush for President, but a Democrat for Senate or the House

19 The National Party Structure  Party identification is still the strongest indicator of how a person will vote in an election.  Political parties exist at the federal, state, & local levels.

20 The National Party Structure  Party identification is still the strongest indicator of how a person will vote in an election.  Political parties exist at the federal, state, & local levels. They are mostly independent of each other.

21 The National Party Structure  National conventions meet every 4 years to nominate a presidential candidate.  Party affairs are managed by a national committee of delegates from each state

22 The National Party Structure  In Congress each party has a congressional campaign committee.  Functions – help members run for re- election, others for election.  National chairman (elected by the committee runs the day-to-day affairs of the party.

23 The National Party Structure  1960’s -1970’s Republicans re- organized their party into a highly efficient political organization.  Democrats became split into factions.  After losing presidential elections the Democrats switched philosophies to emulate the Republicans

24 The National Party Structure  The Republican National Committee (RNC) organized financing through technology to raise revenue  The DNC has tried to do the same thing recently.  Both committees send a lot of money to state party organizations to bypass federal spending restrictions

25 National Conventions  National Committees establish time, date, place, # of delegates per state, and rules for delegate selection.  Delegate selection formulas have change and are highly confusing

26 National Conventions  Democrats factor in the vote each state cast for Dem. Candidates in past elections and the # of electoral votes per state.  Result = extra delegates are given to large states

27 National Conventions  Republicans factor in the # of reps in Congress and whether the state in past elections cast its electoral votes for the Republican presidential candidate and elected Republicans to the Senate, House, & Governorship  Result = extra delegates to loyal states

28 National Conventions  Party conventions have evolved over time.  Delegates are no longer selected by party leaders (chosen by primary elections and caucuses)  Conventions are now to affirm and ratify choices made by primary voters, not haggle over candidate selection

29 State & Local Parties  Every state has a Democratic & Republican state party organized under state law.  Hierarchy State central committee County committees City, town committees

30 Political Machines  A party organization that recruits its members by dispensing patronage and has a high degree of control over member activity.  Ex. Democratic Party in NYC 1870’s  Abuses were well- known and widespread

31 Political Machines  Gov’t restrictions reduced their control.  Ex. Civil service & voter-registration reforms. Hatch Act (1939).  Increased education reduced dependence on the machines  Pros & cons  Almost extinct today.

32 Other Types of party Organizations 1. Ideological parties – usually 3 rd parties formed on issues of principle, socialist, Right-to–life 2. Solidarity Groups – an organization formed based on camaraderie of purpose, not material gain. 3. Sponsored Parties – One already existing organization sponsors a local party structure, Ex. UAW- Democratic alliance 4. Personal Following – candidates try to get people to work for them during their election runs. Requirements = personality, lots of friend and big $$$. Ex. The Kennedy’s

33 Features of a Two-Party System in the U.S.  Dems. & Reps. Only real chance of winning national elections.  Parties are not as competitive in state elections as federal  Party resurgence has occurred frequently in U.S. History

34 Features of a Two-Party System in the U.S.  Plurality system – winner (take-all) gets the most votes, even if it is not a majority of the total votes cast.  Electoral College system discourages voters from supporting 3 rd party candidates.

35 Features of a Two-Party System in the U.S.  Encourages broad appeal of the party as you must win the highest number of votes to take office.  Despite the increasing number of people registering as independents, most people vote Democratic or Republican

36 Nominating a President  Delegates have a tough job at nominating conventions. Truly reflect the will of the people? Primary voting and caucuses. OR Nominate the candidate they feel has the best chance of winning the election.  Only about ½ as many people vote in primaries as in the general election.  States with late primaries typically see low turnout if the nomination seems all but won.

37 Nominating a President  What is a caucus? I have no idea  It is a meeting of party followers that often lasts for hours in which party delegates are picked.

38 Labor unions Catholics and Jews People in the South (although, this is changing) Northeast Urban areas People with less education Minority groups Common people Young/college age Supports government spending on social programs Military cutbacks Government spending to stimulate the economy Lower tax rates for low income and higher on rich. Favor minimum wage laws Government involvement to provide tools to bring about equality Federal aid in education providing grants. Greater government involvement in regulating business, labor and industry Abortion, Pro- Choice Belief in bringing about equality in society with government supporting the people in need. BeliefsBeliefs Supports Democrats

39 Business and professionals Protestants People in the rural west Midwest and New England Small towns People with more education European heritage-- ”WASP” Wealthier than Democrats Older/more established Less government spending on social programs Strong military Fewer taxes to stimulate the economy Less taxes on wealthy and businesses Some minimum wage laws—BUT let private business owner raise wages instead of US Govt. forcing businesses to raise wages. Less government in your life the better Supports state and local government in education Supports and favors big business and less government regulation of business Abortion, Pro-Life People helping people in need and what has made this country great is the people, not the government. BeliefsBeliefs Supports Republicans

40 S E C T I O N 4 The Minor Parties What types of minor parties have been active in American politics? Why are minor parties important even though they seldom elect national candidates? Chapter 5, Section

41 Spoiler Role Spoiler Role Minor party candidates can pull decisive votes away from one of the major parties’ candidates, especially if the minor party candidate is from a splinter party. Major Role of Minor Parties

42 Sometimes called 3 rd parties  serve as “safety valves” by giving people an outlet for anger at “the system”  often are the source of new political ideas The Role of Minor Parties

43 Minor parties...  often are indicators of change  often reflect popular concern over a single issue The Role of Minor Parties

44 Chapter 5, Section Splinter Party Example: “Bull Moose” Progressive Party Reform Party Splinter Party Example: “Bull Moose” Progressive Party Reform Party Economic Protest Parties Example: The Greenback Party Socialist Party Communist Party Economic Protest Parties Example: The Greenback Party Socialist Party Communist Party Ideological Parties Example: Libertarian Party Constitution Party Ideological Parties Example: Libertarian Party Constitution Party Types of Minor Parties Single- issue Parties Example: Prohibition Party Right to Life Party Green Party Single- issue Parties Example: Prohibition Party Right to Life Party Green Party

45 Chapter 5, Section Ideological Party :  Based on social, economic and political ideas. Libertarian Party Constitution Party Economic protest:  Formed during economic depressions The Greenback Party Socialist Party Communist Party

46 Chapter 5, Section Single Issue Party:  Single public policy that’s emphasized. Prohibition Party Right to Life Party Green Party Splinter Party:  Separates from the major parties.  “Bull Moose” Progressive Party  Reform Party

47 Chapter 5, Section Minor parties play several important roles Spoiler Role Spoiler Role Minor party candidates can pull decisive votes away from one of the major parties’ candidates, especially if the minor party candidate is from a splinter party.Critic Minor parties, especially single-issue parties, often take stands on and draw attention to controversial issues that the major parties would prefer to ignore.Innovator Often, minor parties will draw attention to important issues and propose innovative solutions to problems. If these proposals gain popular support, they are often integrated into the platforms of the two major parties.


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