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Political Parties. Chapter 9 P. 197-229. Political Parties. Political party —a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by providing them with a label (party identification) Label—a party identification by which a party is known to the electorate Parties exist as a Label

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Political parties

Political Parties

Chapter 9

P. 197-229

Political parties1

Political Parties

  • Political party—a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by providing them with a label (party identification)

  • Label—a party identification by which a party is known to the electorate

  • Parties exist as a

    • Label

    • Organization

      • DNC

      • RNC

    • Set of leaders

Nancy Pelosi D-CA

Speaker John Boehner R-OH


Harry Reid D-NV

Senator John McCain R-AZ

Parties here and abroad

Parties Here and Abroad

Powerful vs weak parties

Powerful vs. Weak Parties

  • Label has a strong appeal to voters

  • Elaborate and well-disciplined organization

    • provides money and workers to candidates

  • Voters are very loyal

  • Party chooses the candidate and how the campaign will be managed

  • Leaders dominate one or all branches of government

  • Europe

  • Label has a weaker appeal

    • Many voters are independents

    • Voters split tickets

  • Weak organization has little control over who gets nominated

  • Federal system decentralizes power

  • Closely regulated by state and federal laws

    • Weakens parties

  • Candidate centered elections and campaigns

    • Chosen by primaries not party leaders

  • Leaders who organize government (especially Congress ) remain somewhat strong

  • U.S.A

Reasons for the weakness of american political parties

Reasons for the Weakness of American Political Parties

  • Federal system decentralizes political authority

  • State and local governments made the most important governmental decisions for two centuries

    • Education, criminal justice, land use, business regulation and public welfare

    • Power rested in local and state parties who could ignore the national party leaders

  • Party that wins the Congress does not have the right to choose the chief executive

  • Direct primary elections is the method for choosing candidates for office

    • This removes from party leaders their most important source of power over officeholders

  • Parties play almost no role in the cultural life of the average citizen

    • Social, business, working and cultural lives are almost entirely nonpartisan

  • OLDEST parties in the world

  • WEAKEST they have ever been

Rise and decline of parties

Rise and decline of parties

Overview of rise and decline of parties

Overview of rise and decline of parties

  • Founders disliked parties

    • Viewed them as factions

  • Jacksonian era

    • Political participation became a mass phenomenon

  • Civil War until the 1930s

    • Most states were dominated by one party

  • Progressives

    • Pushed measures to curtail parties’ power and influence

History of american political parties

History ofAmerican Political Parties

Four Broad Periods

  • 1789-1820 Founding to Jackson

  • 1820s-1861 Jackson to the Civil War

  • 1865-1930 Civil War to New Deal

  • 1930-2009 New Deal to present

1789 1820s founding to jackson first party system

1789-1820s Founding to JacksonFirst Party System

  • Founders disliked factions

    • Motivated by ambition and self interest

  • Washington dismayed by quarreling in his cabinet by Hamilton and Jefferson

  • Jefferson’s followers to opposed Hamilton’s policies

    • Republicans/South

    • Suggesting their opponents were secret monarchists

  • Hamilton’s followers

    • Federalists/New England

    • Implying their opponents were enemies of the Constitution

  • Loose caucuses of political notables

    • Caucus methodused to choose the presidential candidate

  • Built from the top down

  • Heterogeneous coalitions (then and now)

  • After 1804 election, Federalist party ceased to exist

Thomas Jefferson



1820s 1861 jackson to the civil war second party system

1820s – 1861 Jackson to the Civil WarSecond Party System

  • Political participation is a mass phenomenon

  • Presidential politics truly national

    • 1824—365,000 popular votes cast

    • 1828—over one million votes cast

    • 1842—over two million votes cast

  • Party system built from the bottom up

    • Democrats—followers of Jackson

    • Whigs—opponents of Jackson

  • Both parties straddled the slavery issue

  • Nominating conventions replace the caucus as the method to select the presidential candidates

    • 1831 Anti-Masonic Party –first to use nominating convention

    • Allows some local control

    • No other nation uses this method

Andrew Jackson

Methods for choosing candidates for president

Methods for choosing candidates for President

  • 1788-1832


  • 1832-1960

    National nominating conventions

  • 1960-present

    Direct primary elections

1865 1930 civil war to new deal third party system

1865-1930 Civil War to New DealThird Party System

  • Emergence of the Republican Party

    • Began as a third party

    • Became a major party as a result of the Civil War

    • Dominated national politics for 75 years with only occasional interruptions

  • Two events gave the Republican Party a marked advantage

    • Civil War polarized attitudes

      • Republicans supported the Union

      • Democrats opposed the union and supported the Confederacy

    • Candidacy of William Jennings Bryan (D) 1896

      • Bryan alienated voters in the populous northeast

      • Bryan attracted voters in the south and west

      • Deepened the split in the country especially North vs. South

        • 1896-1930

          • North solidly Republican

          • South solidly Democratic



William Jennings Bryan

1865 1930 third party system

1865-1930 Third Party System

  • Solid Republican North

  • Solid Democratic South


  • Most states are now one-party states

  • Competition for office at the state level went on within a single dominant party

  • Two major factions within each party

    • Stalwarts—the Old Guard

      • Built up the party organization (machinery) by developing party loyalty and dispensing jobs and favors

      • Skills in organization, negotiation, bargaining and compromise

      • Great interest was in winning

    • Progressives/mugwumps—reformers

      • Opposed party machinery and emphasis on patronage

      • Feared influx of immigrants

      • Skills in advocacy

      • Great interest in principle

1865 1930 third party system1

1865-1930 Third Party System

  • Era of Reform 1890-1920

  • Progressives called for

    • Direct primary elections to replace national nominating conventions

    • Nonpartisan elections at the city and state level

      • One in which the candidates are not identified by a party

    • Strict voter-registration requirements

    • Civil service reform

  • Successful in

    • California/Governor Hiram Johnson 1910

      • Instituted the direct primary

      • Adopted initiative and referendum

    • Wisconsin/Governor Robert La Follette

Results of reform

Results of reform

  • Worst forms of political corruption were reduced

  • All political parties were weakened

  • Parties became less able to hold officeholders accountable or to coordinate across the branches of government

Decline in party identification 1952 2002

Decline in Party Identification1952-2002

Party realignments

Party Realignments

  • Critical or realigning periods

    • When a major, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition supporting both parties (turning points in the strength of the major parties)

    • Electoral realignment occurs when a new issue of utmost importance cuts across existing party divisions and replaces old issues that were formerly the basis of party identification.

Two kinds of realignments

TWO Kinds of Realignments

  • Major party so badly defeated it disappears and a new party emerges

    • 1800 Federalist Party disappeared

    • 1856 an1860 Whig Party collapses

      • Slavery issue

    • 1856 Republican Party formed as a third party

      • Clear cut opposition to slavery

    • 1860 Democratic Party split in half

      • Steven Douglas in the North

      • John Breckinridge in the South

  • Two existing parties continue but voters shift their support from one to another

    • 1896 Economic issues

      • Falling farm prices

      • Parties of economic protest

        • Greenback Party 1876-1884

        • Populist Party 1892-1908

      • Cultural Issues

      • Fundamentalists and farmers

      • Old North v. South is replaced in part by East versus West

      • City versus farmers

    • 1932 Economic Depression

      • New Deal Democrats

      • urban workers, northern blacks, southern whites and Jewish voters

Five major realignments

FIVE Major Realignments

  • Election 1800

    • Jeffersonian Republicans defeat Federalists

  • Election 1828

    • Jacksonian Democrats come to power

  • Election 1860

    • Whig Party collapses

    • Republicans under Lincoln come to power

  • Election 1896

    • RepublicansWilliam McKinley defeat

      William Jennings Bryan

  • Election 1932

    • Democrats under Franklin Roosevelt come to power

Party realignment election 1800

Party Realignment Election 1800

  • Power Shift

    • Jefferson unseats Adams

    • Republicans defeat Federalists

    • Jefferson set a precedent for post election unity declaring, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”

Party realignment election 1828

Party Realignment Election 1828

  • The Birth of Populism

  • Beat the elite!

  • Andrew Jackson over John Quincy Adams

  • Jackson styled himself a man of the people

  • Jobs to loyal backers

    White House patronage in style ever since

Party realignment election 1860

Party Realignment Election 1860

  • Fury, Then Freedom

  • Altered America more than any other election in history

  • Abraham Lincoln’s new antislavery Republican Party

  • Fractured Democratic Party

Party realignment election 1896

Party Realignment Election 1896

  • A Business Party

  • William McKinley and the Republican Party defeat Bryan’s populist loose money platform

  • Differences in economic philosophy defined the campaign

  • Coalition of Eastern business patrons for the gold standard

Party realignment election 1932

Party Realignment Election 1932

  • A New Deal Dawns

  • F.D.R. defeats Hoover

  • Tackles economic disaster

  • Democrats repudiate conservative economic policies and set stage for New Deal initiatives

Three clearest cases of realignment

Three Clearest Cases of realignment

  • 1860

    • Slavery issue fixed new loyalties in the popular mind

  • 1896

    • Economic issues shifted loyalties to East vs. West, city vs. farm split

  • 1932

    • Economic depression triggered new coalition for Democrats



  • 1980: a new realignment?

    • Reagan won in 1980 because he was not Jimmy Carter

    • Could not have been a traditional realignment because Congress was left in the hands of the Democrats

  • Major shift that has occurred

    • Shift in presidential voting patterns in the South

    • 1972-2004: South has been more Republican than nation as a whole

    • If continues, will constitute a major regional realignment

Party decline

Party Decline

  • Proportion of people identifying with one or the other party declined between 1960 and 1980

  • Proportion of voters split-ticket voting increased

    • 1940s 1/5 of congressional districts split their votes

    • 1988 ½ of all congressional districts split their tickets

      • Split ticket voting was greatest in the South

Party decline1

Party Decline

  • Split ticket—voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election

    • Creates divided government

    • Helped Democrats keep control of the House from 1954 to 1994

    • Unheard of in the 19th century

  • Straight ticket—voting for candidates who are all the same party

  • Office-bloc ballot—lists all candidates of a given office under the name of the office; called a Massachusetts ballot

    • No way to vote a straight party ticket by making one mark

    • States using office-bloc have more ticket splitting

  • Party-column ballot—lists all candidates of a given party together under the name of the party; called an Indiana ballot

    • Encourages straight ticket voting

Party decline2

Party Decline

  • Evidence that parties are declining, not realigning

  • Proportion of people identifying with a party declined between 1960 and 1980

  • Proportion of those voting a split ticket increased

    • Was almost unheard of in the 19th century, because voters were given ballots by the parties

    • Became more common with the adoption of the office-bloc ballot (listing candidates by office instead of party)

1930 present national party structure today

1930-present National Party structure TODAY

  • Two party system remains strong

    • Voters registered Democrat vote Democrat

    • Voters registered Republican vote Republican

  • National, state and local parties

    • At each level a separate and almost entirely independent organization exists

  • National

    • National convention—a meeting of party delegates held every four years

    • National committee—delegates from each state and territory who run party affairs between national conventions

      • Selects the time and place for the next convention

      • Determines the number of delegates each state and territory has

      • Sets the rules under which delegates are chosen

        • Allocation formulas show the tendencies of the two parties to move in opposite ideological directions

    • Congressional campaign committee—a party committee in Congress that helps members of congress who are running for reelection and would be members by providing funds

    • National chairman—day-to-day manager elected by the national committee

Political parties

Cleavages and Continuity in the Two-Party System

P. 209

National party structure today

National party Structure Today

National Conventions

State and Local Parties

The Machine

Personal Following

Rnc republican national committee

RNC Republican National Committee

  • 1960s and early 1970s

  • Convert party to a

    • Well-financed and highly staffed organization

    • Devoted to finding and electing Republican candidates especially to Congress

  • Bureaucratized

    • Took advantage of computerized mailings

    • Built file of names of donors raising big budget for the national party

  • National political consulting firm

    • Legal and financial advice

    • Studies issues

    • Analyzes voting trends

    • Conducts national advertising campaigns

  • 1968-1988

    • Won five out of six presidential elections

    • Took control of the Senate

  • White collar voters

Dnc democratic national committee

DNC Democratic national Committee

  • 1960s and early 1970s

    • Changed rules on how presidential candidates are nominated

    • Altered the distribution of power within the party

  • Factionalized

  • 1968-88

    • Lost five out of six presidential elections

    • Blue collar voters

  • Since 1972

    • Make the party more democratic

      • Rules designed to weaken control of local party leaders

      • Increase the proportion of women, young people, African Americans and Native Americans

  • 1980s played catch-up

    • Same computerized direct-mail techniques as Republicans

    • Changed rules to increase influence of elected officials

      • Superdelegates—elected officials

        • 1988 number of superdelegates increased

  • By 2004 Democrats outspent the Republicans

    • Money to state organizations

    • Soft money—funds to aid parties and their ads and polls

    • Financed television advertisements

State and local parties

State and Local Parties

  • Every state has a Democratic and Republican state party organized by law

  • State central committee

  • County central committee

  • City, town or precinct committees

  • Members are chosen by

    • Primary elections

    • Conventions

    • Building block process

      • People elected to serve on precinct or town committees choose the county committee who chooses the state committee

    • Strong party bosses

The machine

The Machine

  • Political machine—a party organization that recruits its members by the use of tangible incentives—money, political jobs, favors from government—and that is characterized by a high degree of leadershipcontrol over member activity

    • Supreme expression of the value of organization

      • Republican machines helped elect Lincoln and Harding

      • Democratic machines helped elect F.D. Roosevelt and Kennedy

    • Examples

      • Tammany Hall, NYC

        • Began as a caucus

        • By late 19th century a machine organized on the basis of political clubs in each assembly district

        • Got out the vote

        • Abundant rewards

          • 1870s one out of every eight voters in New York had a federal, state or city job

          • NYC Customs house employed thousands

      • Chicago, Philadelphia and Albany—machines in place today

Minor parties

Minor Parties

Minor parties1

Minor Parties

  • Minor Parties

    • Third parties

    • Permanent feature of American political life

  • Examples

    • Ideological

    • One-issue

    • Economic protest

    • Factional

Ideological parties

Ideological Parties

  • Values principle above all else

  • Extreme opposite of the machine

  • Examples

    • Socialist Party 1901-1960s

    • Socialist Labor Party 1888-present

    • Communist Party 1920s-present

    • Libertarian Party1972-present

    • Right-to-Life Party 1970-present

    • Green Party 1984-present

One issue parties

One issue Parties

  • Seeks a single policy usually revealed by the name

  • Avoids other issues

  • Examples

    • Free-Soil Party 1848-1852

      • Prevent the spread of slavery

    • Know-Nothing Party 1856

      • Opposed immigration and Catholics

    • Prohibition Party 1869-present

      • Ban the sale of liquor

    • Women’s Party 1913-1920

      • Obtain the right to vote for women

Economic protest parties

Economic protest parties

  • Usually based in a particular region, especially involving farmers, that protest against depressed economic conditions

  • Tend to disappear as conditions improve

  • Examples

    • Greenback Party 1876-1884

    • Populist Party 1892-1908

Factional parties

Factional parties

  • Created by a split in a major party, usually over the identity and philosophy of the major party’s presidential candidate

  • Examples

    • Split from the Republican Party

    • “Bull Moose” Progressive Party 1912

      • Teddy Roosevelt

    • La Follette Progressive Party 1924

  • Split from Democratic Party

    • States’ Rights “Dixiecrat” Party 1948

    • Henry Wallace Progressive Party 1948

    • American Independent (George Wallace) Party 1968

  • Split from Democrats and Republicans

    • Reform Party 1992, 1996

Teddy Roosevelt

Robert La Follette

George Wallace

Ross Perot

Solidary groups sponsored parties

Solidary GroupsSponsored Parties

  • Solidary Groups

    • Formed because people enjoy the game of politics and are looking for companions and status

    • Advantages of these groups are that they are neither corrupt nor inflexible

    • Disadvantage—don’t work hard

    • Uncommon in U.S.

  • Sponsored Parties

    • Local or state political party that is largely supported by another organization in the community

    • Detroit

      • Political action arm of the UAW

Personal following

George, George W, Jeb Bush, TX

Personal Following

  • Personal following—the political support provided to a candidate on the basis of popularity and networks

  • Requires

    • Pleasing personality

    • Lots of friends

    • Big bank account

John, Robert, Edward Kennedy, MA

Jerry and

Pat Brown, CA

Hubert Humphrey, MN

Birch and Evan Bayh, IN

Huey and Russell Long, LA

Two party system

Two-Party System

Plurality System

Two party system1

Two-Party System

  • Two-party system—an electoral system with two major dominant parties that compete in national elections

  • U.S.—rather evenly balance

    • 1888-2008 presidential elections

      • 17 Republican victories

      • 14 Democratic victories

  • Rare—only fifteen nations have it

  • Most European nations have a multi-party system

    • Proportional representation encourages minor parties

Reasons for a two party system

Reasons for aTwo-Party System

  • Plurality system—an electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he/she does not receive a majority

    • Parties must make alliances before the election

    • Parties must be broadly based if they want to have any hope of winning

    • Used in almost all American elections

    • Winner-take-all feature

      • Best example is the Electoral College

        • Exceptions—Maine and Nebraska

    • Minor parties cannot compete under this system

      • Voters are reluctant to “waste their vote” on a minor-party candidate

  • Distribution of public opinion

    • Rough parity between the two parties

    • Prevailing economic system accepted by masses

    • Church and religion are private matters

  • State laws

    • Make it difficult to get on the ballot

Political parties

American Political Parties

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