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POLITICAL PARTIES Chapter 12 O’Connor and Sabato American Government: Continuity and Change.

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Presentation on theme: "POLITICAL PARTIES Chapter 12 O’Connor and Sabato American Government: Continuity and Change."— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITICAL PARTIES Chapter 12 O’Connor and Sabato American Government: Continuity and Change

2 In this chapter we will cover … What is a Political Party? The Evolution of American Party Democracy The Roles of American Parties One-Partyism and Third-Partyism The Basic Structure of American Political Parties The Party in Government The Party-In-The-Electorate POLITICAL PARTIES

3 A political party is a group of voters, activists, candidates, and office holders who identify with a party label and seek to elect individuals to public office. What is a Political Party?

4 The Evolution of American Party Democracy Hamilton and Jefferson, as heads of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist groups respectively, are often considered 'fathers' of the modern party system. By 1800, this country had a party system with two major parties that has remained relatively stable ever since.

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6 Democrats and Republicans: The Golden Age to Today From the presidential elections of 1860 to the present, the same two major parties have contested elections in the United States: Democrats and Republicans. –Reconstruction -- Republican dominance – closely competitive – Republican dominance –1930s and 1940s -- Democratic dominance –1950s and 1960s -- closely competitive –1970-present -- neither party dominant

7 The Golden Age (The Gilded Age) Political Machine: A party organization that recruits voter loyalty with tangible incentives and is characterized by a high degree of control over member activity.

8 What did political machines offer? Party machines and government seemed to be the same thing to many city dwellers. –Provided jobs –Housing –Food –Entertainment –Community events –Immigrant support –Upward social mobility 75% Voter Turnout!!!

9 History Replace Political Machines Government conducts elections and primaries –Primary: The means by which a political party nominates candidates for public office. New Deal provides social welfare programs 1900s Wave of Immigration slows down Post WWII – Growth of Suburbia

10 The Modern Era Direct Primary: The selection of party candidates through the ballots of qualified voters rather than at party nominating conventions. Civil Service Laws: These acts removed the staffing of the bureaucracy from political parties and created a professional bureaucracy.

11 Post WWII Candidate-Centered Politics: Politics that focuses directly on the candidates, their particular issues, and character, rather than on party affiliation. Issue-Oriented Politics: Politics that focuses on specific issues rather than on party, candidate, or other loyalties. Ticket-split: To vote for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election.

12 How do Parties Change? Party realignment: a shifting of party coalition groupings in the electorate that remains in place for several elections. Critical election: An election that signals a party realignment through voter polarization around new issues. Secular realignment: The gradual rearrangement of party coalitions based more on demographic shifts than on shocks to the political system.

13 The Roles of American Parties The two party system has been used to resolve political and social conflicts. –Mobilizing Support and Gathering Power –A Force for Stability –Unity, Linkage, Accountability –The Electioneering Function –Party as a Voting and Issue Cue –Policy Formulation and Promotion

14 Mobilizing Support and Gathering Power Coalition: A group made up of interests or organizations that join forces for the purpose of electing public officials. Get Out the Vote: Voter registration drives. Mobilizing previously unmotivated voters to participate. May not be effective in mobilizing “undecided” Americans.

15 A Force for Stability and Moderation Continuity Tame extreme elements –New Deal: Brought together African Americans and southern whites. –Increasing polarization diminished moderating effect of parties. Government shut-down, GOP struggles with Tea Party.

16 Unity, Linkage, and Accountability Linkage between executive and legislative branches –Moderates separation of power Links National and State governments Links House to Senate Accountability between candidates and voters

17 The Electioneering Function Candidate recruitment Election positions become government positions Sustain the competitive function of elections

18 Party as a Voting and Issue Cue Filter information – political ideology Shortcut for voting decisions –Uninformed voters Reinforce the “compass” element of political ideology

19 Policy Formulation and Promotion National party platform: A statement of the general and specific policy goals of a political party, usually promulgated at the national convention. –describes the key differences between the two major parties. –2/3 of winning platform becomes (at least partly) government policy –½ of losing platform is also adopted – bipartisanship (suggests limits on voter choice)

20 One-Partyism A significant trend of recent times is the demise of one-partyism (one party dominance of elections in a given region). The formerly "Solid South" is no longer only Democratic. There are no Republican or Democratic states at this time. Many individuals split their vote between the parties, and sometimes vote for third parties.

21 Minor Parties: Third-Partyism Minor parties are not a threat to the two major parties. Only eight third parties have won any electoral votes in a presidential contest. The third parties that have had some success are: –1996 and 1992: Ross Perot’s Reform Party –1968: George Wallace’s American Independent Party –1924: Robert LaFollette’s Progressive Party –1912: Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party –1856: Millard Fillmore's American Party

22 Obstacles to Third Party Success Proportional Representation: A voting system that awards seats according to the percentage of the vote won by a particular political party. NOT USED IN AMERICA! Winner-take-all-system: An electoral system in which the party that receives at least one more vote than any other party wins the election. (“single-member plurality”)

23 Third Party Spoilers Third Party candidates are often accused of syphoning votes from the person who “should have” won a particular position. This is called the “spoiler effect”. –Ralph Nader – took votes in FL from Al Gore in 2000 –Ross Perot – took votes from George Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996.

24 The Basic Structure of American Political Parties

25 Party Organization DNC: Democratic National Committee RNC: Republican National Committee –Both lead by a “Chairperson” –Chairperson is appointed by President or Presidential Candidate –In between elections & When out of power – the National Committees elect their own Chairpersons. –Chairperson Strong fundraising role Negotiator/Dispute Arbitrator

26 National Conventions National Convention: A party meeting held in the presidential election year for the purposes of nominating a presidential and vice presidential ticket and adopting a platform.

27 Party Discipline Most regulation of party activities is left to states, not national leadership – MI and FL (Dem) scheduled presidential primaries for January – before IA and NH. DNC voted to deny both states half their voting power at the National Convention.

28 Informal Groups Both parties have: –Think Tank: Institutional collection of policy- oriented researchers and academics who are sources of policy ideas. –Governors Associations –College/Young divisions –National Federation of ___ Women

29 MONEY!!! Soft Money: The virtually unregulated money funneled through political parties for party building purposes, such as get out the vote efforts or issue ads. Citizens United (2010): SCOTUS overruled most parts of BCRA (2002), restoring the ability of corporations, unions, and organizations to spend money for “electioneering purposes”.

30 Eight “Magic Words” Ads move from “issue ads” to “express advocacy” when they include: –Vote for –Elect –Support –cast your ballot for –Smith for Congress –Vote against –Defeat –Reject Footnote in Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

31 MONEY!!! Hard money: Funds that can be used for direct electioneering but are limited and regulated by the Federal Elections Commissions Money = Speech –Buckley v. Valeo –“the concept that government may restrict the speech of some [in] order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment.” –Justice Brennan

32 The Party in Government The Congressional Party The Presidential Party The Parties and the Judiciary The Parties and State Government

33 The Party-In-The-Electorate The party-in-the-electorate is the mass of potential voters who identify with specific party. American voters often identify with a specific party, but rarely formally belong to it. Party identification is often a voter's central political reference symbol. Party identification generally come from one's parents. However party id can be affected by a number of factors such as education, peers, charismatic personalities, cataclysmic events, and intense social issues.

34 Declining Party Loyalty? The number of independents in the U.S. rose from 19% in 1958 to 37% twenty years later. Identification with the two major parties today is in the mid 80% range. Pollsters often find that many self declared independents often 'lean' quite strongly to either the Democrat or Republican party. “Leaners” do feel party affiliations, but choose not to self-identify with a party.

35 Loyalty Trends - Democratic Labor union members tend to vote Democratic Democrats have a lead in garnering the women's votes Over 80% of African Americans and Hispanics vote 3 to 1 Democratic Young people are again more Democratic Most blue collar workers and unemployed are Democrats Catholics and Jews are mostly Democrats The widowed are mostly Democrats Liberals tend to be Democrats

36 Chambers of Commerce tend to vote Republican The West tends to be more Republican Men tend to split fairly evenly between the two parties Cuban Americans are generally Republicans (anti-Castro) Professionals, executives, and white collar workers tend to be Republican High status Protestants tend to be Republican Married couples tend to be Republican Conservatives tend to be Republican Loyalty Trends - Republican

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41 Websites Major Parties Democratic National Committee –www.democrats.org Republican National Committee –www.rnc.org Third Parties Third Party Central –www.3pc.net/index.html Libertarian Party –www.lp.org Reform Party. –www.reformparty.org


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