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TOPIC 2 POLITICAL BEHAVIOR. PARTY SYSTEMS One-party systems are usually found in nations with authoritarian governments. Minor parties exist in two-party.

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Presentation on theme: "TOPIC 2 POLITICAL BEHAVIOR. PARTY SYSTEMS One-party systems are usually found in nations with authoritarian governments. Minor parties exist in two-party."— Presentation transcript:


2 PARTY SYSTEMS One-party systems are usually found in nations with authoritarian governments. Minor parties exist in two-party systems, but two major political parties compete for power. In multi-party systems, several parties often combine forces in a coalition government.

3 POLITICAL IDEOLOGY People with a liberal ideology are more willing to trade economic freedom for greater equality. People with a conservative ideology tend to believe the role of government should be limited. Most people are moderates, falling somewhere in between liberal and conservative. Currently, the Democratic Party is more liberal and the Republican Party more conservative.

4 PARTY ORGANIZATION AND MEMBERSHIP At each level, the party endorses and works for the election of its candidates. Fundraising is a key function of state and national parties. Generally, citizens join a political party when they register to vote or vote in certain elections. Party membership provides a way for citizens to increase their influence on government.

5 FUNCTIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES Parties bring key issues to public attention and involve people in the political process. Political parties help the government operate smoothly, and they dispense political patronage. The winning party implements its key policy initiatives, and the losing party is a “watchdog.” Parties contribute to political stability.

6 SELECTING CANDIDATES TO REPRESENT THE PARTY A vital function of political parties is to nominate candidates for elected office. To get onto the ballot, a candidate must file by fee or by petition. Candidates are chosen by caucuses, primaries, or conventions. Rules for presidential primaries vary among the states and even within many states. Primaries are a long, costly process and states with late primaries may receive less attention.

7 MINOR OR THIRD PARTIES Third parties have been on the American political scene since the early days of the Republic. A third party generally forms as a single-issue party, an ideological party, or a splinter party. Minor parties have influenced the outcome of national elections. As a result of the two-party tradition, third parties face a number of obstacles.

8 VOTER PARTICIPATION Voter participation in the U.S. is low compared to many other democracies around the world. Many citizens do not vote because of registration practices or little party involvement. Voter turnout is impacted by the sheer number of elections and new requirements for voting. Citizens who vote regularly have positive attitudes toward government and citizenship. A number of reforms are being considered to make voting more convenient.

9 THE STRUCTURE OF ELECTIONS Election cycles, term limits, and ballot issues all influence voter choices at the polls. Federal election cycles are determined by the term lengths set out in the Constitution. The federal election cycle ensures that the entire government will not turn over at the same time. Some, but not all, federal and state positions have term limits. In many states, citizens vote on legislative referendums, popular referendums, and initiatives.

10 VOTERS’ ELECTION CHOICES Voters’ personal backgrounds affect their decisions. Voters are also influenced by loyalty, or lack of loyalty, to a political party. Voters look for a variety of qualifications in candidates for office. Voters are typically most concerned with issues that directly affect them.

11 CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES A campaign manager is responsible for the overall strategy and planning in a campaign. A large election campaign expenditure is advertising, much of which is propaganda. Television is the most important communication tool for a presidential candidate. Social media can be a powerful and cost-effective campaign tool.


13 CAMPAIGN FINANCE Efforts to regulate money in campaigns are controversial. Limits on campaign spending and donations can be seen as limits on free speech. Presidential candidates who receive public funds must limit the amount spent by their campaign. Direct funding, or hard money, comes from contributions made directly to a candidate. Indirect funding, or soft money, comes from organizations independent from a campaign.

14 POLITICAL CULTURE Political socialization includes absorbing the political culture of one’s nation. A shared belief in liberty and freedom are part of American political culture. Political culture sets the general boundaries within which citizens develop and express opinions. The political culture a person comes from impacts how he or she sees the world.

15 POLITICAL EFFICACY A person’s level of political efficacy reflects their political socialization. Feelings of political efficacy are vital in a democracy. People join interest groups because they believe being part of such a group will improve their political efficacy.

16 INTEREST GROUPS SEEK SUPPORT Interest groups use the mass media to inform the public and to create support for their views. Many interest groups encourage members to communicate directly with government officials. Interest groups compete for power and influence. Smaller interest groups or single-issue interest groups are most effective in shaping policy.

17 POWER OF INTEREST GROUPS People in an interest group share common goals and organize to influence government. Interest groups are an important component of American civil society. There are key differences between political parties and interest groups. Interest groups help bridge the gap between people and the government. A properly organized and equipped interest group has more influence than its individual members.

18 THE RISE OF POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES PACs are designed to collect money and provide financial support for a political candidate. PACs became popular after Congress passed laws limiting donations to federal candidates. Direct donations to candidates by PACs are limited, but indirect donations are unlimited. 527 organizations focus on advocating an issue. Super PACs can receive unlimited donations and spend unlimited sums if done independently.

19 STRATEGIES OF PACS PACs use donations, or the threat of withholding donations, as leverage with a candidate. Large campaign donations may increase a group’s access to an official when elected. PACs spend money to influence election outcomes.

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