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Essential Questions 1. Identify the functions that political parties perform in American democracy. 2. Determine the significance of party identification.

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Presentation on theme: "Essential Questions 1. Identify the functions that political parties perform in American democracy. 2. Determine the significance of party identification."— Presentation transcript:

1 Essential Questions 1. Identify the functions that political parties perform in American democracy. 2. Determine the significance of party identification in America today. 3. Describe how political parties are organized in the United States. 4. Explain what coalitions make up the two main political parties in the United States. 5.Compare and contrast the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans. 6.Evaluate how well political parties generally do in carrying out their promises. 7.Differentiate the various party eras in American history. 8.Discuss the effect dealignment has on political parties and provide examples. 9.Assess both the impact of third parties on American politics and their limitations. 10.Explain why third parties so often fail in U.S. politics.

2 What is the meaning behind the political party? Political Party: o An organized group of people who pursue common interests and goals by gaining and exercising power through winning elections Parties can be thought of in three parts: o Party in the electorate o Party as an organization o Party in government

3 Cartoonist Thomas Nast credited with the “Republican Elephant” and the “Democratic Donkey” o Donkey first used in 1870 o Elephant first used in 1874

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6 The Party ORGANIZATION

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8 The Party In-The-ELECTORATE

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10 The Party-In-GOVERNMENT

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12 Generalities Socio-Economic Status (SES) Education Race Gender Employment Urban/Suburban/Rural Geographic regions Religion “Soccer Moms” and “Joe Six- Packs”

13 Why a 2 Party System? Consensus of Values Historical Tradition Winner-Take-All System Political Socialization Organization of Congress and state governments

14 Essential Questions 1. Identify the functions that political parties perform in American democracy. 2. Determine the significance of party identification in America today. 3. Describe how political parties are organized in the United States. 4. Explain what coalitions make up the two main political parties in the United States. 5.Compare and contrast the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans. 6.Evaluate how well political parties generally do in carrying out their promises. 7.Differentiate the various party eras in American history. 8.Discuss the effect dealignment has on political parties and provide examples. 9.Assess both the impact of third parties on American politics and their limitations. 10.Explain why third parties so often fail in U.S. politics.

15 What purpose do parties serve? Nominate candidates for office Coordinate/run campaigns with a given candidate and among all candidates Give voters an easy way to identify where party and candidates stand Formulate policy and decide which to support or oppose and communicate that with citizens

16 What purpose do parties serve? Linkage institution: links people to their government o Voters have wants and needs o Elected officials want/need to accomplish certain things o Linkage institutions help translate voter input into policymaker output

17 Linkage Institutions Government Agenda Political PartiesInterest Groups Political Issues Interest GroupsElections/Media People’s Concerns Elections/MediaPolitical Parties

18 What Parties Do Tasks of the Parties o Parties Act as a Linkage Institution o Parties Run Candidates for Office o Parties Run Campaigns o Parties Give Cues to Voters o Parties Articulate Policies o Parties Organize Government o Parties Coordinate Policymaking

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20 Party Platforms

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23 Both major parties are "big tents" o Different coalitions exist within party and compete for attention/influence o Broad variety of different ideological viewpoints included o Designed to attract independent- minded voters The Big Tent

24 Party Dealignment Dealignment o Voters moving away from two major political parties o Identifying themselves as independent o Increase in split-ticket voting

25 Party Dealignment Ticket-splitting o Voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices o Independents are most likely to split tickets. o No state or race is completely safe due to split tickets.

26 Party Dealignment

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28 The Party Organizations: From the Grass Roots to Washington The 50 State Party Systems o Closed primaries o Closed primaries: Only people who have registered with the party can vote for that party’s candidates. o Open primaries: o Open primaries: Voters decide on Election Day whether they want to vote in the Democrat or Republican primary.

29 Party Eras in American History Party Eras o Historical periods in which one political party dominates/gains majority of support Critical Election o An election that changes the support a political party gets and helps end a party era o Also called realigning election Party Realignment o The removal of the majority party by the minority party, usually the result of a critical election

30 Party Eras in American History : The First Party System o Madison warned of “factions” o Federalists: first political party : Jackson and the Democrats Versus the Whigs o Modern party founded by Jackson o Whigs formed mainly to oppose Jacksonian Democrats

31 Party Eras in American History : The Two Republican Eras o Republicans rose as the antislavery party o 1896 election centered on industrialization : The New Deal Coalition o New Deal coalition: forged by the Democrats; consisted of urban working class, ethnic groups, Catholics, Jews, the poor, Southerners

32 Party Eras in American History

33 1968-Present: The Era of Divided Party Government o Divided government: one party controls Congress and the other controls White House o Divided government due in party to:  Party dealignment: disengagement of people from parties as evidenced by shrinking party identification  Party neutrality: people are indifferent towards the two parties

34 Party Eras in American History

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36 Third Parties: Their Impact on American Politics Third parties: electoral contenders other than the two party parties; rarely win elections Third parties are important. o Are “safety valves” for popular discontent o Bring new groups and ideas into politics Two-party system o Discourages extreme views o Contributes to political ambiguity

37 Third Parties: Their Impact on American Politics Multiparty Systems in Other Countries o Winner-take-all system/Plurality System o Winner-take-all system/Plurality System: legislative seats awarded only to first place finishers o Proportional Representation o Proportional Representation: legislative seats awarded based on votes received by the party - more votes, more seats o Coalition Government o Coalition Government: two or more parties join to form a majority in a national legislature

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39 Barriers to Third Party Success Wasted vote? Attract good candidates? Getting on the ballot very difficult Lack of widespread organization

40 Why do we have only two major political parties? Winner take all system! Minor parties give up and merge into the big parties

41 Influence of third parties Ralph Nader ran in 2000 and % of the vote Pulled votes from Gore Cost him the election???? Ross Perot 1992 Third Party candidate 19% of the vote Influenced the debate (NAFTA,free trade, and budget deficits) Pulled votes from both Bush and Clinton

42 Understanding Political Parties Democracy and Responsible Party Government o Responsible Party Model 1. Parties have distinct comprehensive programs. 2. Candidates are committed to the program. 3. The majority party must carry out its program. 4. The majority party must accept responsibility. o American political parties fall short of these conditions. o No mechanism for party discipline

43 Understanding Political Parties American Political Parties and the Scope of Government o Lack of uniformity keeps government small  Big programs like Health Care (1994) fail o But also makes cutting government programs difficult  Individuals focus on getting more from government for their own constituents

44 Understanding Political Parties Is the Party Over? o Political parties are no longer main source of information for voters; media are o Yet parties will play an important but diminished role in American politics  State and national party organizations have become more visible and active  Majority of people still identify with a party

45 Summary Parties are a pervasive linkage institution in American politics. o Party in electorate, government, and as organization America has a two-party system. The decentralized nature of political parties makes major change difficult and encourages individualism in politics.


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