Presentation on theme: "Political parties and what they do Generally, a political party has three components. If they work together, the political party usually succeeds in gaining."— Presentation transcript:
Political parties and what they do Generally, a political party has three components. If they work together, the political party usually succeeds in gaining control of the government
The party in the electorate is made up from the people who identify with a specific party and feel a strong sense of loyalty to that party. These party members are typically passive, and show their party support by voting The party in government is made up from candidates who have won elections under a party label. These members of the party are the most visible representatives of the party. Party organization includes people who actively work for a political party.
Political parties have several important functions. However, they can be classified under four general headings. Parties link people to government and policies. policies. They recruit people to run for office. They educate people about issues and concerns. They help resolve conflict. Political parties absorb many special interest groups, and help modify the different opinions into a moderate party position.
Characteristics of the American party system The American political party system has several unique characteristics
Ours is a two party system. The most common explanation for the two-party system in America involves the nature of elections. In the United States, there are single-member districts and a plurality vote. Plurality simply means that the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes wins-even if the number of votes is not a majority.
Example: Lets say a third party forms in the state of Tennessee. The Party gains 10% of the vote throughout Tennessee. But each representative district in Tennessee will be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes in the district. If Republican and Democratic Party candidates are splitting the remaining 90% of the vote, the third candidate has no chance of winning a district. Voters will most likely not waste their vote on the candidate even if they support that candidate. Election laws (designed by the two dominant parties) make it difficult for third party candidates to get on many election ballots.
Political parties advance moderate positions. Die-hard political party organizers may have radical political beliefs. But the party in the electorate brings many ideas into a political party. This forces people to compromise over many issues. The result is a moderate party position. Political parties advance moderate positions. Die-hard political party organizers may have radical political beliefs. But the party in the electorate brings many ideas into a political party. This forces people to compromise over many issues. The result is a moderate party position.
It is difficult for parties to discipline elected officials who do not strictly conform to the party’s position on issues. Voters in different regions vary in their support for party positions. The people who are elected represent the will of the people who elected them. Many elected officials will cross over to an opposing party position because the people who elected them support that position.
Campaigns and Political Parties It is virtually impossible to get elected to government office without help from a political party organization
Typically, a candidate will identify with one of the two major political parties. Active members of the political party system will generally have extreme political beliefs. In order to gain support from party organizers, the candidate will have to appeal to those extreme beliefs. At most levels, a primary election forces several candidates from the same party to compete against each other. The winner of the primary election advances to the general election.
The general election pits candidates from opposing parties against each other. During the primary campaign, a candidate battles to receive more support than the other candidates receive. In this phase of the campaign, candidates representing the broadest group of special interests within the political party usually gain the most votes.
Once the candidate wins the opportunity to represent the political party, serious fundraising begins. The most generous donors to a campaign have special interests they want a candidate to support. The candidate must gain the support of these donors in order to have the funding to win the election. However, in order to win the general election, the candidate must also appeal to the greatest number of voters.
Extreme party positions must be modified and members of the party must compromise in order to create a position that will gain the most votes for the candidate. If the political party fails to compromise, and the beliefs of the party are seen as too extreme, it is unlikely the candidate will win the election.
Many times, past policies influence future success for a political party in the United States. After World War I, the Republican Party supported business practices with the policy of laissez-faire. As long as the economy was booming, and people thought they were doing well, they supported the Republican Party candidates. As the economy collapsed, people blamed the policies of the Republican Party for the Great Depression. People supported members of the Democratic Party until the 1950s.
This example illustrates an important function of political parties. Political parties are the voice of loyal opposition remaining loyal to the people while offering ideas that oppose the party that is in power at the time. When the opposing political party gains enough support from the people, they usually gain control of the government during the next election.