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Political Parties and Interest Groups

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Presentation on theme: "Political Parties and Interest Groups"— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Parties and Interest Groups

2 Linkage Institutions Political Parties Interest Groups (Mass Media) All Promote United States Democracy by Linking Citizens to the Political Process

3 Political Parties

4 Definition of Purpose Group of individuals who seek to control government by sponsoring candidates for public office Elect People to Office Gain control of Government

5 Political Parties Political Parties and the Constitution:
The issue of political parties is not addressed in the Constitution

6 Functions Nominators Policy Makers – “linkage institution”
Organizers of government machinery Informers “Approvers” Watchdogs

7 Party Systems One party – authoritarian, dictatorship, “Solid South”
Two Party – US, historical, third parties have challenges Multiparty – Some European nations, contributes to coalitions, often unstable due to no clear majority

8 Party Structure Membership Party in the electorate Party Structure
Party in Government

9 Party Structure Party Leader Party in the White House
Barack Obama is the leader of the Democratic Party Republican leader? Highest ranking Republican in Congress Nominee for 2012 Chair of RNC

10 National Structure Control decision making Coattail Effect
National Chairperson RNC: Michael Steele DNC: Tim Kaine National Committee Handle convention, party affairs Congressional Campaign Committee Work to get party members elected to Congress Control decision making Coattail Effect Who elects President if no candidate wins majority in Electoral College? 4 committees National Convention Purpose: write/adopt platform, nominate President and Vice-President

11 Other Characteristics
Federalism: Parties are DECENTRALIZED! Separate and Largely Independent Party Organizations Exists at National, State and Local Levels Intraparty rivalry is real State and Local Parties: purpose is to get party members elected to state and local positions in government

12 Moderation Attract as many voters as possible
Nominate a “moderate” candidate Presidential Elections have become more focused on individual candidates Platforms historically are not distinctly different Since early 1980s, Republican Party platform has been increasingly influenced by Evangelical Christians Democratic Party platform becoming increasingly influenced by minority groups (2012 Election- Hispanic Groups, Women)

13 Are political parties becoming extinct?
Increase in the number of independents Split ticket voting is increasing Rising use of technology Media and independent expenditures Interest groups influence has increased

14 Persistence of Political Parties
Electoral College: Single-Member District Electoral System Domination of the Legislature by Two Political Parties Funding is still high Party unity score is high Partisanship still the best indicator of how someone will vote

15 Third Parties (Minor Parties)
Challenges Rep and Dem control the process therefore the minor parties are left out “Wasted Vote” in the Mind of the Voter Excluded from the Political Process Public Funding Debates Electoral College Influence Force issues Ross Perot and budget deficit in 1990s

16 Third Parties (Minor Parties)
Candidate Election year Party Popular vote Electoral vote Fillmore 1856 Know Nothings 22% 8 Breckinridge 1860 Secessionist 18% 72 T. Roosevelt 1912 Bull Moose 27% 88 LaFolette 1924 Progressive 17% 13 Wallace 1968 American Independent 14% 46 Perot 1992 United We Stand 19%

17 Types of Third Parties Bolter or Splinter Doctrinal (Ideological)
Economic Protest Single Issue

18 Third Parties: Splinter Parties
Separates from major party Progressive Party in 1912 (R) American Independent in 1968 (D)

19 Third Parties: Ideological
Reject prevailing attitudes/beliefs favor a more active government Socialist Party

20 Third Parties: Economic Protest
Creation based on economic crisis or policy Greenback Party

21 Third Parties: Single Issue
Formed to promote ONE issue Right to Life Party (pro- life) Prohibition Party

22 Minor Parties Q: What tends to happen to single issue parties? A: Issues may get picked up and their reason for existence is eliminated Q: Which type of minor party has been the most successful in winning votes? A: Splinter Q: Which type of minor party has been the longest lived? A: Ideological

23 Failure of Alternative Parties
No viable national campaign Limited fundraising Institutional obstacles Single member voting district Winner take all system in electoral college

24 What about the Tea Party Movement?

25 Realigning Elections Critical Elections are Most Associated with Party Realignment When groups of voters have changed their traditional patters of party loyalties

26 Dealignment: Movement in Which Voters Abandon Both Parties
Factors: less and less identifying with the major parties (1/3 independent) Effects on Campaigns Moderate stance Target independent or swing voters Focus on issues that will differentiate party As elections become more candidate-centered, political parties become less important. No one party dominates. The country is evenly divided. Voters are more cynical about politics. Citizens increasingly engage in split-ticket voting

27 Interest Groups

28 Definition Groups of individuals or businesses who have a common goal of making the political system change policy which in turn benefits members. Focus? Affect public policy

29 Types of Interest Groups
Economic - NAM Business - Farm Bureau Increased in number most substantially since the mid-1970’s Ideological - Christian Coalition Public Interest - Public Citizen Inc. Foreign Policy - Pro-Israel Groups Government - National Governor’s Assn. Professional - ABA, AMA, NEA, etc. Use caution, names can be deceiving

30 Functions of Interest Groups
Stimulate interest Represent members Means of participation Provide data Collective action or grass roots efforts Checks and balances; “watchdogs” Coalition Building- Interest Groups can Join Together to Increase Influence

31 How do Interest Groups Provide Data to Government?
Lobbying Publicity Litigation (class action lawsuits, amicus curaie briefs with Supreme Court) Sway Regulations Electioneering

32 What is lobbying? The communicating of ideas or beliefs about government to a government policy maker. Objective is to influence public policy. Qualifications? Common backgrounds? Former elected officials, lawyers, PR, journalists Job responsibilities? Paperwork, testify, grassroots efforts, media, endorsements, providing legislators with information on technical issues (the most significant!)

33 What are the Criticisms of Interest Groups?
“Special Interests” Too much influence in relation to size How many are actually represented? Don’t represent the views of those that they claim Corruption Pluralist system violates the majority Poor aren’t represented

34 What is the Role of the PAC?
Political Action Committee Political arm of an association- campaign contributions to gain access to legislators Effects? $$$$$$ (incumbents?) Regulated by the FEC Federal Election Commission

35 What is a Sub-Government or Iron Triangle?

36 Differences Between Political Parties and Interest Groups
Election Policy Generalist- Represent a Broad Array of Issues Issue Do Not Nominate Policy Specialist- More Likely to Focus on Narrow Set of Issues

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