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What Is A Political Party? A group seeking to control government by winning elections and holding public office Can be principle, issue, or election oriented.

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Presentation on theme: "What Is A Political Party? A group seeking to control government by winning elections and holding public office Can be principle, issue, or election oriented."— Presentation transcript:


2 What Is A Political Party? A group seeking to control government by winning elections and holding public office Can be principle, issue, or election oriented

3 The Two Main Parties in the U.S. Are... DEMOCRATSREPUBLICANS

4 What Do Parties Do? Provide options to the people Link between government and the people Bring conflicting groups together

5 The Nominating Function Selecting Candidates for public office It ’ s an exclusive job for the parties, which helps set them apart from all of the other groups in politics

6 The Informer-Stimulator Function Inform people and activate their interest in pubic affairs They campaign, define issues, and criticize other candidates with the end goal of winning votes

7 The “ Seal of Approval ” Function They choose candidates who are qualified and of good character

8 The Governmental Function Helps legislative and executive branches work together Appoints made to executive branch are according to party allegiance

9 The Watchdog Function The party out of power criticizes the policies and behavior of the party in power Done so to convince the voters that they should vote for them in the next election

10 Why A Two-Party System? Historical Basis Debate over the Constitution ’ s ratification created the first political parties Federalists & Anti-Federalists

11 The Force of Tradition Most Americans support the two-party system because it has always existed. People are reluctant to support minor parties therefore they made little headway.

12 The Electoral System Single-member districts (winner take all) discourage voters from “ wasting ” votes on minor parties Election laws are deliberately written to discourage minority parties

13 American Ideological Consensus Americans tend to agree on fundamental issues Our major political parties take moderate stands and are built on compromise

14 Why Don ’ t Other Systems Work? Multiparty Systems Each party represents a very different interest(s) Creates an unstable government American institutional and ideological ideas make a multiparty system unlikely

15 One-Party Systems “ No-Party ” System Nearly all dictatorships have one-party systems

16 How Do We Choose A Party? Membership is voluntary and generally composed of a mixture of the population Segments of the population tend to support one party or the other (for a period of time) – Example: Unions favored Democrats – Big Business: Republicans

17 Reasons For Choosing a Party Family Major Events – war, depression Economic Status Place of Residence Level of Education Work Environment

18 The Two-Party System in American History

19 Ratification of the Constitution 1787 - Two sides developed Federalists: did not want the Bill of Rights written down Anti-Federalists: wanted the Bill of Rights written down

20 The Nation’s First Parties Federalists (pre 1800) – Led by Alexander Hamilton – Supporters were rich, upper class Democratic-Republicans (1800 – 1820) – Led by Thomas Jefferson – Supporters were the common people

21 The Era of One-Party Domination The Era of the Democrats, 1800–1860 The Era of the Republicans, 1860–1932 The Return of the Democrats, 1932–1968 The Start of a New Era – Since 1968 the Republicans dominated the White House, while Democrats controlled Congress

22 Minority Parties in the US Ideological Parties Based on a specific set of beliefs, including a comprehensive view of social, economic, and political matters Example: Libertarian Party Green Party Receive little votes, but are long-lived

23 Single-Issue Parties Concentrate on a single public policy matter Examples: Know Nothings, Right-to-Life Faded into history as issues disappear

24 Economic Protest Parties Focus on economic discontent Example: Greenback and Populist Parties, TEA Party

25 Splinter Parties Groups that break off from one of the two major parties Examples: “ Bull Moose ” Party and “ Dixiecrats ”, “ TEA Party ”

26 The Key Role of Minority Parties Introduced useful ideas in American Politics Can play a “ spoiler role ” in an election when the two major candidates are evenly matched. Most important is their roles as critics and reformers

27 The Organization of Political Parties

28 Reality of Political Parties Two major parties are highly decentralized (internal fighting) No real chain of command – States parties loosely tied to national – Local parties independent of states

29 The Role of the President The President ’ s party is usually more solidly united than the opposing The President is the party leader The other party has no comparable leader

30 National Party Machinery Four Elements 1. National Convention – Meet to nominate the presidential and vice presidential candidate every 4 years 2. National Committee – Handles the party ’ s affairs between conventions

31 National Party Machinery Four Elements 3. National Chairperson – Heads up the national committee 4. Congressional Campaign Committees – Job to increase party ’ s congressional seats

32 State and Local Party Machinery State – job is to further the party ’ s interests in that state Local –follow the State ’ s electoral map, most active a few months before an election Small unit of state party

33 Three Elements of the Party Party Organization – leaders, activists, and hangers-on who control party machinery Party in the electorate – loyalists who vote their candidates Party in government – officeholders at all levels of government

34 The Future of the Majority Parties Political Parties have been in a state of decline since the late 1960s Parties are unlikely to disappear as long as they continue to perform necessary functions

35 Reasons for Decline Larger number of voters registering as independent SPLIT-TICKET VOTING – voting for candidates of both parties for offices at the same election.

36 Reasons (cont) Greater internal conflict Changes in technology of campaigning. Growth of single-issue organizations who side with a candidate on a specific issue.

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