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Party as Organization. Last week The personal vote Ballot reforms, communications technology and the political economy of modern campaigns Party as Organization. 2nd Homework assignment. Due in class Oct. 22

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party as organization

Party as Organization

Last week

The personal vote

Ballot reforms, communications technology and the political economy of modern campaigns

Party as Organization

2nd homework assignment
2nd Homework assignment
  • Due in class Oct. 22
  • abstract: put it on your title page; one paragraph that states the take-home message of your essay (along the lines of “I argue that … because ….”
  • 3-paragraph introduction: hook, thesis, roadmap
    • hook: state your question and something about why it is important.
    • thesis: state your answer to the question, including at least a hint of why your answer is a good one.
    • roadmap: what are the key points you want your reader to pay attention to in your argument?
the personal vote
The personal vote
  • states varied in their election timing, but federal election dates were standardized before the Civil War
  • If the federal office on the ballot is way more important than other offices, voter choice at the “top” of the ticket determines choice of ticket
    • personal characteristics of candidates at the top of the ticket matter
    • reelection strategies: advertising, position-taking, claiming credit
    • collective policies are problematic for credit-claiming
    • incentives to personalize policy actions for voters
problems with the personal vote
Problems with the personal vote
  • Multiple offices on a party-strip ballot create “free-riding” opportunities
  • Party organizations built on patronage may induce inefficiently large government
    • this is a form of rent-seeking; encourages third-party entry
  • Australian ballot and primary elections allow voters to hold individual candidates accountable for their performance, but make it harder to hold a party collectively accountable
evolution of campaigning
Evolution of campaigning
  • 19th-century campaigns depended on party labor to spread the message and get out the vote
  • Ballot reforms allowed voters to hold individual incumbents accountable at the expense of collective responsibility
  • Personal accountability  incentive to have personal organization  incentive to raise money to hire staff and expert advisers
  • Radio, telephone, automobiles all dramatically lower the costs of communicating with individual, distributed voters. Each costs money
party as organization6
Party as organization
  • Scott Lay discussed the structure of party organizations in Calif. and the U.S.
    • the parties are quasi-public entities; their structure and governance in Calif. are regulated by state law
    • central authority in each constituency that controls use of the brandname; functions include authorizing clubs to use the brandname; candidate recruitment; fundraising; coordinating campaign efforts; some policy advocacy
local machines
Local machines
  • 19th century party organizations tightly tied together electoral activities with governance activities
    • before synchronous mass communications, campaigning was highly distributed, highly personal
    • few government jobs were “professional”; most changed hands with changes in administration or “patron” – hence, “patronage” jobs
progressive populist reforms
Progressive/Populist reforms
  • Pendleton Act of 1883, municipal and state reform movements in 1880s-1900s pushed for increased efficiency and accountability in government
    • many gov’t jobs became professional civil service positions (careerist, not partisan)
    • many other gov’t jobs were outsourced via contracting, which allows for competitive bidding
  • Sources of pressure: Tiebout hypothesis about competition for resources
ballot change and reform
Ballot Change and Reform
  • Australian ballot separates co-partisans on a ticket; each is more responsible for his/her own electoral fate than under party strip
  • Primary elections open greater opportunities for within-party competition for nominations
    • primary electorate is (potentially) much broader than old convention-style nominations
    • party hierarchy risks splitting the party when it gets involved in primaries
communications and party structure
Communications and Party Structure
  • Synchronous mass communications technology (radio, tv) allows the candidate to speak directly to voters. Greater control of the message; shift from labor to cash as key resource
  • telephone and direct mail strategies also reduce dependency on labor, increase need for cash
  • parties switch from managing labor to fundraising as key function
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