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American Government and Politics Today . Chapter 8 Political Parties. What is a Political Party?. Definition: a group of political activists who organize to win elections , to operate the government, and to determine public policy. Parties versus interest groups Parties control

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american government and politics today

American Government and Politics Today

Chapter 8

Political Parties

what is a political party
What is a Political Party?
  • Definition: a group of political activists who organize to win elections, to operate the government, and to determine public policy.
    • Parties versus interest groups
      • Parties control
      • IG influence
functions of political parties
Functions of Political Parties
  • Recruit candidates to run for elective offices at all levels of government
  • Mobilize citizens to vote and participate in elections
  • Bear the responsibility of operating government at all levels
  • Providing organized opposition to the party in power is an essential role for a party that does not control one or another branch of the government.
history of political parties
History of Political Parties
  • The Formative Years: Federalists and Anti-Federalists
  • The Era of Good Feelings
  • National Two-Party Rule: Whigs and Democrats
  • The Civil War Crisis
  • The Post-Civil War Period
    • “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”
    • The Triumph of the Republicans
history of political parties1
History of Political Parties
  • The Progressive Interlude
  • The New Deal Era
  • An Era of Divided Government
    • In the years after 1968, the general pattern was often a Republican president and a Democratic Congress.
    • 2000 Presidential Election (Red state-blue state)
the two major parties today
The Two Major Parties Today
  • The parties’ core constituents
  • Economic beliefs
    • Recent economic convergence?
    • Republican and Democratic Budgets
      • Democrats have the reputation of supporting the less-well-off, and Republicans the prosperous.
the three faces of a party
The Three Faces of a Party

1-The people who identify with the party or who regularly vote for the candidates of the party in general elections

2-Party organization

  • National
    • Convention delegates
    • National Committee
    • National Chairperson
three faces of a party cont
Three Faces of a Party (cont.)
    • State party organization
    • Local (grass roots) organization
      • Patronage and City Machines
      • Local Party Organizations Today
  • 3-The Party in Government
    • Divided Government
    • The Limits of Party Unity
    • Party Polarization
questions for critical thinking
Questions for Critical Thinking
  • Do democratic governments need political parties? If a democratic government has political parties, will the structure always be a two-party system? What factors impact how many political parties will exist?
  • Is party identification a major factor for voters in presidential elections?
why has the two party system endured
Why Has the Two Party System Endured?
  • Often, on major issues confronting the country there have been two clear sides. This duality helped to initiate a two-party system and has maintained this system through the present.
  • Political socialization and practical considerations
  • The Winner-Take-All Electoral System
    • Presidential Voting
    • Popular Election of the Governors and President
    • Proportional Representation
  • State and Federal Laws Favoring the Two Parties
the role of minor parties in u s politics
The Role of Minor Parties in U.S. Politics
  • Ideological Third Parties
  • Splinter Parties
  • The Impact of Minor Parties
    • Influencing the Major Parties
    • Affecting the Outcome of an Election
mechanisms of political change
Mechanisms of Political Change
  • Realignment: a process in which a substantial group of voters switches party allegiance, producing a long-term change in the political landscape.
    • The Myth of Dominance
    • The Myth of Predictability
    • Is Realignment Still Possible?
  • Dealignment: a major drop-off in support for the parties.
    • Independent Voters
    • Not-So-Independent Voters
  • Tipping
questions for critical thinking1
Questions for Critical Thinking
  • Why is it difficult for independent candidates or minor party candidates to get elected to Congress?
  • What inferences can be made about the voting population through the closely divided elections of 2000 and 2004?