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Chapter 8. Political Parties and Their Functions  Some believe American politics would function better without political parties  Others say political.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 8. Political Parties and Their Functions  Some believe American politics would function better without political parties  Others say political."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 8


3 Political Parties and Their Functions  Some believe American politics would function better without political parties  Others say political parties necessary for democratic government, but at the same time, do not trust them  Kind of a “love-hate” relationship  Distrust especially strong among younger voters

4 What Is a Political Party?  An organization that sponsors candidates for political office under the organization’s name  Use a nomination process  Democracies must have at least two political parties that regularly compete against each other

5 What Is a Political Party?


7 Party Functions  Nominating candidates for election to public office  Structuring the voting choice in elections  Proposing alternative government programs  Coordinating actions of public officials

8 Nominating Candidates  Political leadership requires certain qualities  Parties can perform “quality control” by choosing candidates  Parties also can recruit talented persons to become candidates

9 Structuring the Voting Choice  Work to reduce number of candidates on ballot to those with chance of winning  Loyal party voters provide predictable base of votes  Third-party candidate success difficult  Choice between only two parties reduces information needed by voters

10 Proposing Alternative Government Programs  Parties set out general policies candidates will pursue if they gain office  Candidates tend to support party positions, although exceptions occur  Some party names advertise policies, such as the Green Party, Socialist Party, and Libertarian Party  America’s two major parties have relatively neutral names

11 Coordinating the Actions of Government Officials  U.S. government’s separation of powers divides responsibilities for policymaking  Political parties major bridge for bringing the separate powers together to govern effectively

12 The Preparty Period  Constitution does not mention political parties  Only factions, not parties, existed when Constitution written  Federalist No. 10 hoped federalist system would prevent factional influences  Factions of the time included Tories or Loyalists, Whigs or Patriots, Federalists, and Anti-Federalists

13 The Preparty Period  Elections vastly different from today  President and Vice President decided by electoral college  Electors frequently met in private caucuses to propose candidates  George Washington opposed factional politics  Because of neutrality, elected unanimously

14 The First Party System: Federalists and Democratic Republicans  Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton  Democratic Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson  Election of 1796 saw John Adams (a Federalist) elected president, with Thomas Jefferson elected vice president  In election of 1800, both parties nominated candidates for both president and vice president

15 Figure 8.1 The Two-Party System in American History

16 The Twelfth Amendment  Election of 1800 saw top two vote-getters from Democratic-Republican Party – but tied in Electoral College!  Eventually Jefferson elected president  Ratification of 12 th Amendment in 1804 split votes in Electoral College for president and vice president  Democratic-Republicans won next four elections, then fell apart

17 The Second Party System: Democrats and Whigs  Jackson’s faction of Democratic Republicans represented “common people”  Preferred to be called Democrats  Jackson ran for president in 1828; birth of today’s Democratic Party  Increase in suffrage rights led to voters choosing presidential electors  Greater numbers voting required changes from existing parties

18 Party Changes  Major parties began having national conventions to select candidates and adopt party platforms  First, Anti-Masonic Party in 1831; Democrats and National Republicans followed in 1832  Coalition of those opposing Jackson formed Whig Party in 1834  Democrats and Whigs alternated presidency for next 30 years

19 The Current Party System: Democrats and Republicans  Antislavery forces organized Republican Party in 1854  John Fremont presidential candidate in 1856; Abraham Lincoln in 1860  Election of 1860 first of four critical elections  Led to electoral realignment, with northern states voting Republican and southern states voting Democratic for decades

20 Eras of Party Dominance Since the Civil War  Democrats and Republicans major parties since 1860 election  Two-party system  Third parties rarely successful, except at state or local level  Balance of power between two major parties different in various parts of country and at different times

21 Four Political Eras Since Civil War  A Rough Balance: 1860-1894  GOP (Grand Old Party, or Republicans) won eight of 10 presidential elections  House and Senate wins balanced  A Republican Majority: 1896-1930  Democrats in trouble because of economic depression in 1896  Republican William McKinley won presidency; Republicans basically in power until Great Depression

22 William Jennings Bryan: When Candidates Were Orators

23 Four Political Eras Since Civil War  A Democratic Majority: 1932-1964  Voters unhappy with economic crisis swarmed to support Democratic candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932  Roosevelt won election; Democratic party won majorities in both House and Senate  A major electoral realignment

24 Four Political Eras Since Civil War  A Rough Balance: 1968 to the Present  Richard Nixon’s victory in 1968 a fourth critical election; Republican presidential candidates have done well since  Congressional elections in this period mixed: Democrats generally control House, Senate control split about evenly  Party loyalty within regions has shifted; possible electoral dealignment

25 The American Two-Party System  While two parties dominant, third parties make contributions also  Third parties usually one of four types:  Bolter parties  Farmer-labor parties  Parties of ideological protest  Single-issue parties

26 Figure 8.2 Party Candidates for the U.S. House in the 2010 Election

27 The Third Party Theme

28 Historical Third-Party Successes  Third parties not very successful  Rarely receive more than 10% of the vote  Bolter parties have won more than 10% twice  Republican Party originated as single-issue third party  Third parties have better record as policy advocates, and serve as safety valves

29 Why a Two-Party System?  U.S. two-party system results from electoral process and political socialization  Elections based on majority representation, not proportional representation  Major parties make election laws  Presidential politics and persistence drive survival of Democratic and Republican parties

30 The Federal Basis of the Party System  Party identification important political concept  Most people identify with one of the two major parties  Data show three tendencies:  Republicans and Democrats together outnumber Independents  More Democrats than Republicans  Democratic numbers shrinking over time

31 Figure 8.4 Distribution of Party Identification, 1952-2008

32 Party Identification  Party identification predisposes but does not mandate voting behavior  Factors affecting party identification:  Parental party identification also important IncomeEducation ReligionGender RegionEthnicity Age

33 Figure 8.5 Party Identification by Social Groups

34 Fewer Citizens Are Partying  Partisanship has declined since early 1950s  Also true in many other democracies  Reasons given include more education and political sophistication

35 Party Ideology and Organization  Significant differences in ideology between Republicans and Democrats  Approaches to concepts of freedom, order, and equality affect spending priorities  Differences drive party platforms  Ideological differences more pronounced when looking at party activists

36 Figure 8.6 Ideologies of Party Voters and Party Delegates in 2008

37 National Party Organization  Some believe Republicans more organized as a party than Democrats  Each party has four major organizational components:  National convention  National committee  Congressional party conferences  Congressional campaign committees

38 Building a Bigger Republican Tent?

39 National Party Organization  National parties not particularly powerful  Do not direct or control presidential campaigns  Beginning in 1970s, Democrats made procedural changes and Republicans made organizational reforms  Both parties have made significant organizational changes in recent years

40 State and Local Party Organizations  At one time, both parties had powerful state and local party machines  Individual organizations vary in size and strength  National parties supply funding, candidate training, poll data and research, and campaigning instruction

41 Decentralized but Growing Stronger  American parties one of most decentralized in the world  Even though party identification dropping, political party organizations growing stronger  Still, not clear how well parties link voters to government

42 The Model of Responsible Party Government  Parties essential to making government responsive to public opinion in majoritarian model  Parties should present clear and coherent programs to voters  Voters should choose candidates based on party programs  Winning party should carry out proposed programs  Voters should hold governing party responsible for program execution at next election

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