American Political Culture Equality of Opportunity Individual Freedom Representative Democracy
Gender The Gender Gap – Differences in political views and voting behavior of men and women Men – Favor Republicans – Favor Conservatives Women – Favor Democrats – Favor Liberals
Differences between Men and Women Role of Government: Doing too much? – Yes: women (50%); men (66%) Social Programs: Favor cuts? – Favor: women (47%) men (60%) Should more be done to expand good, affordable child care, or should it be left to families and individuals? – Do more women (63%); men (41%) Should fed government guarantee medical care? – Yes women (69%) men (58%) Poverty and homelessness important: – One of most impt probs: wom(63%); men 44% Should affirmative action be continued or abolished? Abolished wom 36%, men 52% Do you think women have equal job opps – No women 69% men 59%
Race/Ethnicity Affiliations are based on freedom-equality issues and socioeconomic conditions – White Favor Republican – Black Overwhelmingly favor Democrats – Hispanic Overwhelmingly favor Democrats Except Cubans – Asian Relatively Neutral
Equal Opportunity v Equal Results Equality of Opportunity – A view that it is wrong to use race or sex either to discriminate against or give preferential treatment to minorities or women Equality of Results – A view that government should do everything in its power to guarantee all a standard quality of life
Changing of America’s Race White America is on the decline – What will this mean for politics in the United States? Freedom Equality Rule of Law Popular Sovereignty Justice “Minority-Majority” emerging
Progression of Race and Voting 15 th Amendment (1870) – The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 24 th Amendment (1964) – Prohibits a poll tax as qualification to vote Voting Rights Act (1965) – Prevents states from denying citizens the right to vote based on race – Helps enforce the 15 th Amendment
Age and Voting 26 th Amendment – The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age What is the effect of this Amendment?
Partisanship The tendency of a person to support a specific political party – People tend to have the same political identification as their parents Republicans have the strongest party support – Their party members are more loyal – Why?
Ideology Conservative – In general a person who favors more limited and local government, less government regulation of markets, more social conformity to traditional norms and values, and tougher policies toward criminals Liberal – In general a person that values individual liberties, larger role of government, oppose death penalty, and heavily supports equality.
Marketplace of Ideas 19th-20th centuries... single national language expansion of literacy – universal compulsory education communication & transportation – roads, rail lines, (automobiles…) – telegraph, telephone, radio, television – satellite-based networks – World Wide Web = internet legal protection for free expression
Urban v. Suburban v. Rural America Population Density – The more people living in your area, the more democratic your area tends to be – Higher populated cities tend to benefit more from federal spending – More government services are needed in densely populated areas
Family Income The higher one’s income, the more likely they are to… – Register to vote – Vote – Vote Republican
Education – The more education one has the more likely they will Register to vote and vote Vote Democrat – Until money is earned Participate in various methods
Region Voting trends by region – Northeast Democrat – Midwest Republican – South Republican – West Democrat – Swing States Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania
Type of Election Presidential Election – People turn out at a higher rate – Presidency is seen as more important Midterm Election – Election in between Presidential elections Primary Election – Nominating election – Many states restrict participation General Election – Decides who will win the seat
Public Opinion An aggregate of the individual views, attitudes, and beliefs about a particular topic, expressed by a significant proportion of a community – 5 Core American Values Freedom Equality Democracy majoritarianism Individual Responsibility Public Opinion Polls Conducted by news organizations, politicians, candidates, interest groups
Poll Legitimacy Who conducted/sponsored the poll? – Neutral polling organizations would produce the most accurate results – Political parties or other biased organizations would not How many persons were interviewed? – Minimum 1,000 people – Reduces the margin of error Who was interviewed? – Many people choose not to participate in polls; this can scew the results How were the questions worded? – Pollsters must be careful how to ask the question When was the poll conducted? – Temporary passions can also scew the results How was the poll conducted? – Phone, Internet, On the street
Types of Polls Exit Polls – Questioned right after voting – Indicates who people vote for Census Tracks/Tracking Polls – Questioning specific groups within the population – Indicates the public’s tendencies across a specific period of time
Our questions… Who are we as a society? – More diverse, more spread out, and older! How we learn about politics? – Family, the media, and school, just to start. How do we measure what we believe as a society? – Through polls, which may or may not be accurate. What do we believe as a society? – That we’re all over the place and that sometimes labels mean more than anything else. How do we participate in politics? – From the inside or the outside: by trying to change the system or protesting the system to make a change.
Elections in a Representative Democracy Institutions of legitimacy Safety valves for social discontent Facilitate popular influence Promote leadership accountability Offer a measure of protection from the abuse of governmental power
US v. The World Why does voter participation in the United States lag behind the rest of the democratic world? – Lack of homogeneity – Decreasing trust in government – Decrease in political efficacy – Decreasing roll of parties
Influences on Voters Partisan loyalty – stronger during 1940s-50s than today – family influence – reinforced by social & cultural ties – once formed, seldom change – more prominent in state & local races Issue and policy concerns – larger impact if candidates articulate & publicize very different positions Candidate characteristics – shared background, views, & perspectives – race, ethnicity, religion, gender, geography….
Electoral College System Each state receives same # as membership in Congress (= 535) – subject to change every 10 years based on the reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives Washington D.C. receives 3 – minimum any state could receive Total electoral votes = 538 Candidate must receive at least 270 votes to become president Political Parties choose people who will serve as electors
Electoral College System... continued... November – General state elections – Voters formally elect electors December – Electors meet in state capitals to cast vote for President & Vice President First Week in January – Electoral votes counted by the President of the Senate before a joint session of Congress January 20 – Inauguration of the President
Modern Presidency: From FDR to Bill Clinton Franklin Roosevelt - New Deal Coalition : – Unionized labor labor legislation – Members of urban ethnic groups & Northern blacks welfare & social service programs – Southerners farm programs – Middle-class liberals expansion of white-collar employment in the public sector; support for education and the arts – Important sectors of business community free trade and the expansion of industrial production
FDR’s New Deal Coalition Dominated government & politics until the 1960s Shattered by conflicts over: – race relations – Vietnam War – fiscal & regulatory policies Segments of the business community, social & religious conservatives, upper-middle-class suburbanites, Southern whites, & many Northern blue-collar workers have been drawn to the Republican Party
The Reconstituted Right - 1980s Ronald Reagan – Middle-class suburbanites trim social programs, cut taxes & bring down inflation – Social & religious conservatives “pro-family,” anti-abortion, & school prayer – White Southerners end to federal support for affirmative action – American business community relaxation of regulations – Defense industry greatly increased rates of military spending
End of Reagan-Bush Era Change in two key elements: – Prosperity at home – Strength abroad Mired in economic downturn End of the Cold War Era diminished the threat of a nuclear holocaust
Return of the Democrats (?) Move toward the center Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) Clinton / Gore – founding members of DLC – criticized welfare – stressed individual responsibility & private enterprise – kept away from black issues – economic message appealed to business & middle class without alienating working-class
Clinton / Gore in 1996 Supported “middle class bill of rights” - series of tax-cut initiatives Tough anti-crime measures Embraced voluntary school prayer Spoke out against sex & violence on television Dropped opposition to Republican welfare reform proposals Advocated “family values”
Bush / Cheney 2004 Emphasis on Foreign Policy – War on Terrorism – War in Iraq Tax cuts Homeland Security Support Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage
Electoral Realignments, 1800-2008 1800 - Jeffersonian Republican dominate 1828 - Democrats dominate 1860 - Balance between Republicans & Democrats 1896 - Republicans dominate 1932 - Democrats dominate Realignment ? 1968 - Divided government 1996 - Divided government 2004 – Republicans dominate; not at all levels 2008- Democrats dominate; not all levels