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Political Parties In the United States PowerPoint Presentation
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Political Parties In the United States

Political Parties In the United States

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Political Parties In the United States

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  1. Political Parties In the United States

  2. Political Parties The alternating of power and influence between two major parties is one of the most important elements in American politics. Without competition, there would be no choice…without choice, there is no democracy. Party competition – the battle between Democrats and Republicans for control of public office

  3. Political Parties One thing that political parties have in common is that they want to win!!! Interest groups do not nominate candidates for office; they only endorse candidates for office The definition of a political party is a team of men and women seeking to control of the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election The road from public opinion to public policy is a long one – political parties are a linkage institution; they translate input from public into outputs from policymakers; public opinion is loud and clear

  4. Political Parties The party team consists of three parts: Party in the Electorate – consists of members of the party; does not necessarily have to be top ranking officials, just everyday Americans Party as an Organization – the national office, full time staff, etc. with rules, bylaws, and a budget Party in Government – the elected officials who call themselves members of the party

  5. The Tasks of Political Parties • Pick Party Candidates • Almost nobody above local politics and higher gets to public office without having the endorsement of their party; comes through the nomination • Parties Run Campaigns • TV aside, parties coordinate with national, state, and local organizations • Parties Give Cues to Voters • Knowing whether a candidate is a Democrat or Republican provides info for voters • Parties Articulate Policies • Within the electorate and the government, each political party advocates specific policy alternatives

  6. Marketplace Politics Parties are in the market for voters; its products are therefore the candidates and the policies Rational Choice Theory – explains the actions of both voters and politicians; individuals will act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of possible alternatives The U.S. is a nation in the middle – 13% consider themselves to be liberals; 18% consider themselves to be conservatives; majority is the middle

  7. Marketplace Politics Anthony Downs notes two similarities about parties, voters, and policies: Voters want to maximize the chance that policies they favor will be adopted by government. Parties want to win office, therefore relating it back to point #1. Republicans favor lower taxes and less domestic spending from government. Democrats favor more government programs to help out the less advantaged Americans.

  8. Party Images Our political parties are different than European countries – no formal membership, no membership cards, no dues required, etc. Voters in the United States have a party image – a perception of what Republicans or Democrats stand for – ex. Conservatism or liberalism Party image shapes party identification – a citizen’s self proclaimed preference for one party over the other; this routinely leads to voting Age impacts party affiliation – the younger one is, the more likely they are to be independent Independents engage in ticket splitting – voting with one party on an issue and another party for another office

  9. The History of the Organization of Political Parties • From the late 19th Century through the New Deal of the 1930’s, many cities were dominated by political machines. • Political Party Machines – a political party organization that relied heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, in order to win votes • Patronage – one of the key inducements used by political party machines; job that is awarded for political reasons rather than merit or competence • Used throughout the U.S. (NYC, Albany, Chicago, Philly, KC) & relied on ethnic groups

  10. Political Parties Today Today, the major political parties are a loose combination of state parties, where they are constantly changing as related to individuals, groups, and their local organization Each state has a different party system and no two states look alike in how they are organized/structured States are allowed a wide discretion in the regulation of political party activities; how they choose to organize elections has a large influence on the strength of political parties

  11. The Organization of State Primary Systems Some states give greater power to political parties than other states in the ability to limit who can participate in their nomination contests. Closed Primaries Only people who have registered with the political party can vote in the election. Open Primaries Allows voters on Election Day to decide if they want to participate in Republican or Democratic contests. Blanket Primaries Present voters with a list of candidates for all parties and allow them to pick some Dems and some Repubs

  12. The Role of the National Organization • Although political parties are ran at the state level, the supreme power for political parties rests with the national convention. • National convention – meeting of the party’s delegates every four year to choose a presidential ticket and write the party’s platform • Keeping the party operating between conventions is the job of the national committee. • National committee – keeps the party operating between conventions; compromised of representatives from states/territories • Day-to-day activities of the national party are the responsibility of the party’s national chairperson. • National chairperson – responsible for day-to-day activities of the party and usually handpicked by presidential nominee

  13. The Promises & Policy Relationship of Politics The party that has control over the most government offices will have the most influence in determining who gets what, where, when, & how Voters are attracted to a party in government by its performance and policies; this will influence coalitions or the groups of individuals with common interests on which every political party depends If you want to know what a political party believes in, read their platforms; for the most part, it outlines what parties believe and they have traditionally stuck with what has been discussed

  14. The Recurring Cycle of Party Politics Party Eras Critical Election Party Realignment One party will be the dominant majority, sometimes for an extended period of time A majority of the voters will cling to the party in power, resulting in that party winning a majority of the elections An electoral “earthquake” with new issues, new coalitions, and the majority party often losing Sometimes the result of a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era It may take more than one election, but the party system will be transformed Party realignment is when the majority party is displaced by the minority party, usually during the critical election period

  15. Party Politics Through History 1796 – 1824 – The First Party System In the Federalists, James Madison warned against factions, but his colleague Alexander Hamilton created the first political party, the Federalists They were short lived; after the defeat of John Adams in 1800, the party faded; poor organization led to the party fielding no candidates by 1820 Virginians such as Madison, Jefferson, and Monroe was the main competition – known as the Democratic-Republicans or Jeffersonians

  16. Party Politics Through History 1828 – 1856 – Jackson’s Democrats vs. the Whigs Andrew Jackson founded the modern American political party in 1828 with his coalition of Westerners, Southerners, immigrants, and settled Americans The true architect of the Democratic Party was Jackson’s VP and successor, Martin van Buren The opposition to the Democrats were the Whigs; their success came from military heroes (William Henry Harrison in 1840 and Zachary Taylor in 1848) The Whigs experienced a divided coalition with Northern industrialists and Southern planters

  17. Party Politics Through History 1860 – 1928 – The Two Republican Eras In the 1850’s, slavery split both major parties; Dred Scott v. Sanford sharpened the differences and made Civil War likely The Republicans emerged as an anti-slavery party led by its first successful presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln; following the Civil War, they would dominate American politics for a 60 year period despite Democratic strongholds in the South The second Republican era started in 1896 as they took a strong stance on a gold standard; this was a realignment that led to more Republican strongholds through 1929

  18. Party Politics Through History 1932 – 1964 – The New Deal Coalition Republicans took the blame for the causes and the lack of responses to the Great Depression; as Franklin Roosevelt took the Presidency, he used his first 100 days to pass a number of different bills FDR’s New Deal coalition – urban working class, immigrants, Catholics and Jews, the poor, Southerners, African Americans, intellectuals; led to Democrats dominating American politics through the 1960’s Harry Truman (D) saw the Democratic stronghold broken by Dwight Eisenhower (R), but John F. Kennedy (D) and Lyndon Johnson (D) picked right back up After JFK’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson’s support of civil rights and the war in Vietnam tore apart the Dems. In 1968

  19. Party Politics Through History 1968 – Present – Southern Realignment & Divided Party Government In 1968, Richard Nixon (R), used a support for states’ rights, law & order, and the military to gain Southern conservatives in the Republican Party; Nixon won the Presidency but did not have control of Congress Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 restored a united party government, until Republicans won both houses of Congress in 1994 Divided government is frequently seen at the state and national level, leading some to see the party system as dealigning – the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from political parties as seen by shrinking party identification

  20. The Third Party in American Politics Traditionally, third parties have brought in new groups to the electorate and served as “safety valves” for those discontent with politics; Historically in 1912 with Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moose Party, more recently in 2000 with Ralph Nader costing Al Gore votes as a Green Party candidate

  21. The Responsible Party Model Ideally, we believe political candidates should do what they say; some don’t follow through The Responsible Party Model – would stop “lying” candidates; parties would offer clear choices that outline their preferences; when in office, parties would carry out their promises (1) Parties must present distinct, comprehensive programs for governing the nation (2) Each party’s candidates must be committed and have internal cohesion and discipline to carry out the plan (3) The majority party should implement its programs and the minority should state what they would do (4) The majority must accept responsibility for performance

  22. A Final Note on Political Parties The upside – our loose party structure allows politicians to focus their efforts on getting more from government for their own constituents The downside – the key problem for parties is that they are no longer the main source of information, attention, and affection; winning the game is more important than serving the people