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Political Parties. Parties and What They Do Dubbs Govt. What is a Political Party? It’s NOT what you think of when you think “party”. What Is a Party?. A group of persons who seek to control government by winning elections and holding public office.

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political parties

Political Parties

Parties and What They Do



What Is a Party?

  • A group of persons who seek to control government by winning elections and holding public office.
functions of political parties
  • Nominating Function
  • Informer-Stimulator Function
  • Seal of Approval Function
  • Governmental Function
  • Watchdog Function

Pretty boring slide, eh?

nominating function
  • Sets political parties apart from other political groups
  • The Democratic and Republican parties are election-oriented rather than issue-oriented.
  • Parties help election campaigns
informer stimulator function
Informer-Stimulator Function
  • Share this with news media and interest groups
  • Stimulates public to participate in public affairs
  • Campaigning and publicity, (i.e., buttons, pamphlets, stickers, and media)
seal of approval function
Seal of Approval FUNCTION
  • Party plants a “seal of approval” on candidates
  • Creates loyalty in the candidate
  • Helps ensure that office-holders do a good job so that the party can stay in power
governmental function
Governmental Function
  • Party connections help executive and legislative branches of government to cooperate with one another
  • Under separation of powers, the party connects the branches, (esp. E & L)
parties watch each other the watchdog function
Parties watch each other--the WATCHDOG FUNCTION
  • The party “in power” is the party in charge of the EXECUTIVE branch
  • If parties are watching each other’s actions, how will that help the people?
  • If parties are watching each other, how will that hurt government processes?
the watchdog function

ACCOUNTABILITY: The party NOT in power has a responsibility to monitor the party in power. This is what is know as loyal opposition—or partisan politics.

Partisan: Along party lines

Bi-partisan: Two-parties


The Two-Party System

  • Who is Earl Dodge?
  • The Prohibition Parties candidate for President of the US in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000.
  • Why don’t you know him?
  • Democrats and Republicansdominate American politics

What does it mean?

What is a►one of the many political parties that does not

Minor/third receive wide voter support


Why a



  • That’s the way it has always been
  • Force of Tradition
  • Electoral System:

State election laws are written to discourage minor parties.

  • Americans tend to agree on important issues:

We have a pluralistic society: range of culture/groups

BUT, there is still a broad consensus

Major parties tend to take moderate stands on issue

other types of political systems
Other types of political systems
  • Multiparty systems
  • One Party systems—what comes to mind when you hear this?
  • Which country would be more stable: a country with a two party system or a country with many parties?
two major parties
Two Major Parties:
  • Democrats: LIBERAL
  • Republicans: CONSERVATIVE

GOP: Grand Old Party

party followings
  • Traditionally, many parts of the United States have been dominated by one party.
  • What party dominates Baltimore?
  • What party dominates Howard County?
  • What party dominates western Maryland?
  • What party dominates Maryland?
Red: Republican
  • Blue: Democrat
era s for presidents
Era’s for Presidents:
  • 1800-1860: Democrats
  • 1860-1932: Republicans
  • 1932-1968: Democrats
  • Start of a New Era: Era of Divided Government: 1968-present
former democratic presidents
Former Democratic Presidents

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

President Harry S. Truman


President John F. Kennedy

President Lyndon B. Johnson


Former Republican Presidents

President Abraham Lincoln

President Dwight D. Eisenhower


Richard M. Nixon

President Ronald Reagan


President George W. Bush

President George H.W. Bush

minor parties in the united states
Minor Parties in the United States
  • Ideological parties
  • Single issue parties
  • Splinter parties
ideological party
Ideological Party
  • Focuses on effecting overall change in society
  • Views tend to be extreme
  • Long-term
  • Socialist, communist, Nazi
single issue party
Single-issue party
  • Focuses on one major social, economic, or moral issue
  • Short term, issues are no longer important or absorbed by major party
splinter party
Splinter Party
  • Splits away from major party because of a disagreement
  • Form around strong leader, who normally failed to win major party’s nomination
  • Lasts until leader loses support or issued absorbed
  • TR’s “Bull Moose” Progressive Party split from the Republican Party in 1912.
what do third parties do
What do third parties do?
  • Improve the system by focusing on issues
  • Act as a “spoiler” in an election.
  • What do you think happens if a third party gains a lot of support?


of political


        • Impact of Federalism:
        • Parties have offices at local, State and federal levels.
        • The Role of the President:
  • The President is the leader of his or her party.
  • The party not in power has no comparable leader.
national party machinery
  • National Convention Committee
  • The National Committee
  • The National Chairperson
  • The Congressional Campaign Committees
three basic elements levels
Three Basic Elements /Levels
  • Party in the Electorate: Voters
  • Party Organization: Workers
  • Party in Government: Office Holders
characteristics of political parties
Characteristics of Political Parties

Parties are like HUGE businesses:

  • Have leaders
  • Leaders fight within the business
  • Pyramid structure
  • Have workers
  • Have meetings/conventions