Democratization in the us
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Democratization in the US. US Constitution: Voting.

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Democratization in the US

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Democratization in the US


US Constitution: Voting

  • “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” (1.2.1)

  • Usually 21, white, male, property-holding

    • Some states allow women and blacks vote; gradually disenfranchised

  • “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” (1.3.1)

  • 17th Amendment, 1913: chosen by “the people” of the State; “electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures”

    • States, by setting reqs for own legislature can set reqs for Congress (federalism)


  • “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.” (1.4.1)

    • First Tuesday after the first Monday in November


Electoral College

  • “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” (2.1.2)

    • 538 electors: 3 from D.C. after 1964

  • States hold elections for electors winner takes all electors (mostly) electors meet and vote for Pres (one ballot) and VP (separate ballot) if straight majority (270), winner; if no majority House (as States) elected Pres, Senate (as individuals) elect VP

    • Changed by 12th Amendment, 1804 (after TJ-JA election 1800)


Why?

  • Federalism, not democracy (“favorite sons”), disproportionate vote small States (limit big States ganging up), not Parliamentary (Congress doesn’t choose), not State legislature (too much federalism), national rather than regional (why else care about Wyoming?)


Democratization

  • 1st Party System: Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans

  • Stand for office; anti-campaigning (by candidate)

  • Party = factions

  • TJ: party as necessary evil (overthrow Hamilton); disappear once win

    • Inaug: “we are all republicans, we are all federalists”


2nd Party System and Mass Politics

  • War 1812 Federalists collapse

  • D-Repub Democrats (various factions)

  • Andrew Jackson Whigs (anti-monarchy; King Andrew I)


  • Jacksonian Democracy: growth of mass politics (participation + techniques) began before AJ (Jeffersonians) AJ beneficiary

    A. Change in Attitudes

  • pre-1790s: parties are factions evil, should be stamped out entirely

  • 1790s: parties as necessary evil need to form to protect nation against the others (Fed/D-R), who are the real faction; once done, party will dissolve

  • Post-1800: parties as positive good educate + involve voters in political process necessary for mass democracy


B. Stages of Development

1. Expansion of electorate (collapse prop req)

  • 1810-1821: 6 western states w/minimal or no prop req

  • 4 old states ratify new constitutions lowering/eliminating prop req

    2. Jump in voter turnout (life and death rhetoric)

  • 1828: 58%; 1840: 80%

    • 2000: 51.3%

    • 2004: 64%

      3. New efforts to mobilize

  • Political rallies, parades, songs, slogans, badges, picnics, mud slinging + character assassination

    • Modern political tactics


George Caleb Bingham, “Stump Speaking”


“The County Election”


3rd Party System

  • Whigs collapse over slavery Republican Party (minor 3rd party) 1860 split election Lincoln

  • CW + Reconstruction Republicans party of civil rights until Compromise 1877


Civil War Amendments

  • 13th: no slavery

  • 14th: birth citizenship; can’t disenfranchise w/o proportional loss House; felony disenfranchisement (Confederates + Klan)

  • 15th: no block “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

    • Not guarantee to blacks; still disenfranchise, just not those reasons


Jim Crow

  • Poll taxes, felony disenfranchisement, racial redistricting (until Gomilion v. Lightfoot, 1960), literacy tests, polling place location, shotguns at the polling place

  • Democratic Party at Night

  • 1936: northern blacks join New Deal Coalition

  • 1964 + 1965: Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act

    •  lose the South for a generation


Political Party: a group of people organized to influence government through winning elections and setting public policy.


I. Role of Political Parties:

  • Run Candidates for office.

  • Inform voters of the issues.

  • Organize the voters.

  • Govern.

  • Watchdog.


Running Candidates

  • Nominating: reduce choices to manageable level “Primaries”

    • Open and closed (CA is a closed primary State)

  • Bonding Agent: guarantee nominees aren’t criminals and are capable of governing


Informing Voters

  • Create Platforms (issues)

    • Often created at national convention (esp. during Presidential campaigns) or by party national committee (DNC, RNC)

  • Campaigning

    • Pamphlets, grassroots, speeches, photo-ops

  • Fund raising


Organize Voters

  • Party identification

  • Registering to vote

  • National, State, local organizations


The political party is organized from the bottom up:

National Party

State Party

Local Party

Grassroots

“Party in the Electorate”


Party Structure

1. Party organization

2. Party in the electorate

3. Party in government


  • Decentralized and based on federalism

  • President’s party tends to be better organized and unified (“bully pulpit”)

  • National (DNC, RNC)

    • National convention, national committee, national chairperson, Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, RCCC)

  • State and Local

    • Set by State and local law/tradition

    • Precinct and wards (“ward boss”)


Govern

  • Government by party

    • Negotiate, communicate between branches and between national and State

  • Partisanship; “Bi-partisan”

    • Relatively weak compared to Europe


Watchdog

  • Party in Power

  • Party out of power

    • Criticizes part in power in attempt to gain power

      • “Throw the rascals out!”

      • “The Loyal Opposition”


The USA has had a two-party system throughout its history: third parties occasionally emerge, but usually, most elected officials come from one of the two major parties.

Major 3rd Parties: Republicans (pre-1860), Populists, Progressives, Green, Independents


Reasons for Two-Party Dominance

  • Historical basis

  • Force of tradition

  • Electoral system

    • Single-member district plurality (SMDP) / First-past-the-post

      • Winner-take-all

        • Vs. Proportional (PR) multi-party

    • Election law: 5% requirement, campaign finance laws, primaries, getting on the ballot


Reasons for Two-Party Dominance

  • “American Ideological Consensus”

    • Pluralistic society

    • Nation of immigrants

    • “Un-Americanism”


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