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Chapter 5: Political Parties

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1 Chapter 5: Political Parties
US/VA Government 2013 Chapter 5: Political Parties

2 Chapter 5 Activity - Due Friday October 25, 2013
Select an American political party other than the two major parties and construct a profile of that party. Your profile should tell when the party was founded, who founded it, the principles upon which it was founded, its degree of political success over the years, and whether it is currently fielding candidates for office. Present your findings to the class.

3 Objectives The nature and functions of parties in American politics.
The reasons for the existence of the American two-party system. The evolution of American political parties. The nature and role of minor parties in American politics. The structure and composition of the two major parties.

4 Chapter 5 Vocabulary Political parties One-party system Major parties
Electorate Coalition Ideological parties Minor party Single-issue parties Two-party system Economic protest parties Single-member district Splinter parties Plurality Ward Pluralistic society Precinct Consensus Split-ticket voting Multiparty

5 Chapter 5: Section 1 – Parties and What They Do
What is a political party? What do political parties do?

6 Does the two-party system help or harm democracy?
Future Essay Question Does the two-party system help or harm democracy?

7 Positives Negatives

8 Republicans Democrats

9 What Is A Party? Broad definition - Political party: group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office. Specific definition – Political party: group of persons joined together with common principles, who seek to control government in order to secure adoption of certain public policies and programs.

10 What is a Party? Major parties: dominant political parties in the United States (Democrat and Republican). They are not issue-oriented, but election oriented. The specific definition of political parties does not work for the major parties. 3 Elements: The party organization: people who giver their time, money, and skills. Run the party at the National, State, and local levels. The party in government: candidates and officeholders in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the federal, state, and local levels. The party in the electorate: people labeled Republican or Democrat, support the party and its candidates through thick and thin. Cast votes on basis of party label.

11 Political Parties Democrat Republican

12 What Is A Party? Republicans and Democrats do not regularly agree with one another on public questions. Not all political persons are one-minded in politics. Instead each party is a coalition: union of many persons of diverse interests who have come together to get their candidates elected to public office. (economic, racial, religious, regional, and ideological groupings)

13 3. Why would political parties be essential to American Government?

14 What Do Parties Do? Political parties:
Essential to democratic government. Develop broad policy and leadership choices. Vital link between the people and their government.

15 What Do Parties Do? Political parties: Serve the democratic ideal.
They are “power brokers” – work to blunt conflict. Seek to modify contending views of various interests and groups. Encourage compromise. Help unify rather than divide the American people. Often successful in softening the impact of extremists at both ends of the political spectrum. Parties are indispensable to democratic government.

16 4. How do political parties inform the people?
Stop! Question 4. How do political parties inform the people?

17 What Do Parties Do? Political Parties:
Inform people and stimulate their interest and participation in public affairs. (News media and interest groups also do this). Inform the people to their advantage. Ex) pamphlets, signs, buttons, stickers, advertisements in newspapers/magazines , radio, TV, rallies, conventions, etc.

18 Stop! Question 5. How does our two-party system HELP democracy?
6. How does our two- party system limit democracy?

19 What Do Parties Do? Political Parties:
Criticize opposing candidates and the positions they adopt. Shape positions that will attract voters, and at the same time offend as few as possible. “Bonding agent” – ensures good performance of candidates and elected officeholders. Failure to do so will affect future candidates and elections. Men and women are both qualified and of good character. Partisanship: strong support of party and policy standards

20 What Do Parties Do? Political parties:
Bring conflicting groups together. Reason the will of the people is made known the government. Modify and compromise the views of different interests and groups, help to unify. Major function: to nominate candidates for public office.

21 What Do Parties Do? Political parties:
Want to win elections, has much to do with the positions they take on most issues. Try to attract many voters. Pick candidates who are qualified and of good character…. Or at least that they have no serious issues on public record. Prompt successful candidates to perform well in office.

22 Winners!!!

23 What Do Parties Do? Political parties:
Provide a basis for the conduct of government. Must cooperate with one another if the government is to accomplish anything. U.S. government by party. Ex) public officers often chosen regularly on the basis of party. Party considerations given at Federal and State levels.

24 What Do Parties Do? Political Parties: Congress and States legislatures organized along party lines. Political parties have played a large part in the constitutional change process. Ex) presidential election, reshaped by parties to work.


26 What Do Parties Do? Political Parties: Act as a watchdog over the conduct of the public’s business. Ex) criticizes the policies and behavior of the party in power.

27 Stop! Questions “There are many people of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principles” 7. Do party affiliations corrupt otherwise principled public servants? 8. Explain why a person might consider a vote for a minor-party candidate even knowing that candidate is not likely going to win.

28 Due Friday October 25, 2013 Select an American political party other than the two major parties and construct a profile of that party. Your profile should tell when the party was founded, who founded it, the principles upon which it was founded, its degree of political success over the years, and whether it is currently fielding candidates for office. Present your findings to the class.

29 Using your textbook

30 Chapter 5 – Section 2: The Two-Party System
For what reasons does the United States have a two-party system? What are multiparty and one-party systems? What is the nature of party membership?

31 Reasons For The Two-party System
Minor parties: one of the less widely supported parties in the political party system. Two party system rooted in the history of our nation, since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution – Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

32 Reasons For The Two-party System
Tradition: Accept the idea of a two-party system b/c there has always been one. Electoral system promotes the existence of two major parties. American people share much of the same ideals, principles, and beliefs.

33 Two major parties Democrat Republican

34 Two-party system Multi-party system: system in which several major and many lesser parties exist. Each party is based on some particular interest. Ex) economics, political ideology, religious beliefs, etc. One-party system: similar to a “no party” system. Often seen in dictatorships, but in a sense present in the United States. Ex) Democrats dominate South, Republicans dominate New England.


36 Membership of the Parties
Membership in a party is purely voluntary. The two major parties - broadly based and include people from various cultures. Some join a specific political party because of family reasons. Major events have also influenced party choice. Ex) Civil War and the Great Depression. There are many other reasons why people choose to belong to political parties.



39 Chapter 5 – Section 3: The Two-Party System in American History
How have political parties developed during the history of this country? Which two American political parties have dominated the nation’s politics for more than 125 years?

40 Nation’s First Parties
Federalist party: first party to appear; led by Hamilton; said to be the party of “the rich and well-born”; appealed to financial, manufacturing, and commercial interests; and urged liberal interpretation of the Constitution. Anti-Federalist party: Also known as the Democratic-Republicans; lead by Jefferson; sympathetic to the “common man”; favored a limited role of government; Congress should dominate the government; wanted to help farmers, shopkeepers, laborers, and planters.

41 Hamilton Jefferson

42 Era of One-Party Domination
The Era of the Democrats, The Era of the Republicans, The Return of the Democrats, The Start of a New Era, 1968-Present

43 Chapter 5 – Section 4: The Minor Parties
What are the different types of minor parties? What is the importance of minor parties?

44 Minor Parties in the U.S. It is hard to classify and describe minor parties because of their number and variety. However, four distinct types of minor parties can be identified: ideological, single-issue, economic protest, and splinter parties.


46 Minor Parties in the U.S. Key role of Minor Parties: 1st to use a national convention, critics, innovators, take clear stands on controversial issues, 1st to bring issues to the public’s attention Ex) women’s suffrage, banking regulations, old-age pensions, progressive income tax. Major parties have stolen their ideas.


48 Minor Parties in the U.S. Ideological: based on a particular set of beliefs; social, economic, and political matters. Single-issue: concentrating on a single public policy matter. Economic protest: rooted in periods of economic discontent, often proclaim disgust of the major parties. Splinter: parties have split away from one of the major parties, most of the more important political parties have been of this kind.

49 Chapter 5 – Section 5: The Organization of Political Parties
What factors make both major parties such highly decentralized organizations? How are the major parties organized? What are the three basic elements of a major party? What factors explain the current state of parties and the party system?

50 Reality of Political Parties
Political parties: decentralized, fragmented, disjointed, often have internal squabbling, neither party has a chain of command running through the State to local level. They have no clear leader of their party, the wide distribution of elected offices and the nominating process lends itself to the decentralization of political parties.


52 National Party Machinery
National convention: party’s national voice, meets in the summer of every presidential election year to nominate the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates. National Committee: between conventions it handles the party’s affairs, appears to be powerful, but it doesn’t have much clout, most of their work centers on staging the party’s national convention every four years.


54 National Party Machinery
National Chairperson: heads up the national committee in each party, chosen to a 4-year term, in election years it focuses on the national convention and campaign, in between elections they try to strengthen the party and its fortunes. Congressional Campaign Committee: each party has one, work to reelect incumbents and to save the seats given up by retiring party members, serve for 2 years.

55 National Party Machinery
State Organization: headed by a State chairperson; fronts for governor, senator, or some other powerful leader or group of a State; work to further the party’s interests in a State; can be a complicated job. Local Organization: widely vary, usually follow the electoral map of a State, party units for each district are filled.


57 Future of Major Parties
Political Parties: many people have mixed feelings about political parties, viewed as necessary, but need to be closely watched, have been in a period of decline since the 1960’s, several factors have led to their weakness. Split-ticket voting: voting for candidates of both parties for different offices in the same election. Less party affiliation, structural changes, changes in technology campaigning, growth of single-issue organizations, etc.

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