A political party is an organization that seeks power and influence.
Who are members? Members of a political party share the same or similar opinions on many issues, but there may be differences. Anyone can be a member as long as they are citizens of the US and are 18 years old and older.
Role of Political Parties Selecting and Supporting candidates – Informing the public and activating supporters through pamphlets, bumper stickers, ads, signs, buttons – Act as bonding agent To ensure qualified representatives are carrying the people’s message to government
Role of Political Parties Serve as a link – Enables the branches and levels of government to communicate Acts as a watchdog – The party not in power is watching the party in power
The US Two-Party System In the United States, there are only two major political parties. The two major political parties in the United States are the Democrats and the Republicans. In China & North Korea, there is a One-Party System – or only 1 political party In Israel & much of Europe there are multi- party systems – or 3+ political parties
Why Political Parties Although the Constitution of the United States does not mention political parties, they came into being around the time the nation was formed.
The History of the 2 Political Parties Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had different visions of America's future. Their differences led to the first political parties in the United States. Jefferson favored a less active federal government, a limited presidency, and ties to France. Hamilton favored a strong federal government, a strong presidency, and ties to England.
Minor Political Parties The two-party political system in the United States is the result of a winner-takes-all voting system. Some minority parties – Ideological Parties (Environmentalism) – Independent Candidate Parties (on their own) – Single Issue Parties (Green Party) – Splinter Parties (Libertarian)
Differences between the Political Parties The differences between the two parties are not exact and there is a lot of overlap in their policies 1. In 2004, about 42.6 percent of Americans were registered Democrats, 32.5 percent Republicans, and 24.8 percent independents. 2. The Republican Party is called "right" and "conservative" and the Democratic Party is called "left" and "liberal". Both parties have a strong "center". 3. Political factions occur within parties when there are differences of opinions over policies. 4. George Washington did not belong to a political party. He is the only president that was elected as an independent.
Democrats & Republicans Democrats tend to favor a broader and more active role for the federal government, labor laws, and vigorous social programs. Republicans tend to favor states' rights, policies that favor businesses, and private solutions to social problems.
Political Parties & Ideas Platforms and Planks – Platform – a political party’s statement of its goals and positions on all issues – Plank – a single issue on a political party’s platform