Chapter 6 Political Parties, Campaigns, & Elections
Learning Objectives • (1) What is a political party and what functions do they serve • (2) A history of U.S. Party Politics • (3) The American Two-party system • (4) Party Ideology & Organization • (5) The Model of Responsible Party Government • (6) Parties & Candidates
Learning Objectives cont’d • (7) American elections & campaigns • (8) Explaining Voting Choice
What is a Political Party? • Political Party: • An organization that sponsors candidates for political office under the organization’s name • Use a nomination process: • Nomination- designation as an official candidate of a political party. • Democracies must have at least two political parties that regularly compete against each other.
Party Functions • Parties contribute to democratic gov. through the functions they perform for the political system: • Interrelated institutions that link people w/ gov.
Party Functions • Nominating candidates for election to public office • Structuring voting choice in elections • Proposing alternative government programs • Coordinating actions of public officials
Party Function: Nominating Candidates • Leadership requires certain qualities. • Parties can perform “quality control” by choosing candidates. • Parties also can recruit talented persons to become candidates.
Party Function:Structuring the Voting Choice • Parties work to reduce the # of candidates on the ballot to those w/ a chance of winning. • Loyal party voters provide a predictable base of votes. • Third-party candidate success is difficult. • Choice between only two parties reduces information needed by voters.
Party Function:Proposing Alternative Government Programs • Parties set out general policies that candidates will pursue if they gain office. • Candidates tend to support party positions, although exceptions occur. • Some party names advertise policies, such as Green Party, Socialist Party, & Libertarian Party. • America’s two major parties have relatively neutral names.
Party Function:Coordinating the Actions of Government Officials • The United States government’s separation of powers divides responsibilities for policymaking. • Political parties provide a bridge for bringing the separate powers together to govern effectively.
The Pre-party Period • Constitution doesn’t mention parties • Only factions, not parties, existed when Constitution was written • Federalist No. 10 hoped federal system would prevent factional influences. • Factions of the time included Tories or Loyalists, Whigs or Patriots, Federalist, and Anti-Federalists.
The Pre-party Period • Elections were vastly different from today. • President & Vice President were decided by Electoral College. • Electors frequently met in private caucuses to propose candidates. • George Washington opposed factional politics. • Because of neutrality, elected unanimously
The First Party System:Federalists & Democratic Republicans • Federalists were led by Alexander Hamilton. • Democratic Republicans were led by Thomas Jefferson. • Election of 1796 saw John Adams (a Federalist) elected president, w/ Thomas Jefferson elected vice president. • In election of 1800, both parties nominated candidates for both president & vice president.
Party Changes • Major parties began having national conventions to select candidates & adopt party platforms. • First, Anti-Masonic Party was in 1831; Democrats & National Republicans followed in 1832. • Coalition of those opposing Jackson formed the Whig Party in 1834. • Democrats & Whigs alternated presidency for next 30 years.
The Current Party System: Democrats & Republicans • Anti-slavery forces organized the Republican Party in 1854. • Abraham Lincoln elected in 1860 • Election of 1860 first of four critical elections: • An election that produces a sharp change in the existing pattern of party loyalties among groups of voters.
The Current Party System:Democrats & Republicans • Critical elections led to electoral realignment: • The change in voting patterns that occurs after a critical election. • With Northern states voting Republican & southern states voting Democratic for decades
Eras of Party DominanceSince the Civil War • Democrats & Republicans were major parties since 1860 election. • Two-party system • Third parties rarely successful, except at state or local level • Balance of power between two major parties different in various party of country & at different times.
Four Political Eras Since Civil War • A Rough Balance: 1860-1894 • Grand Old Party, or Republicans (GOP) won eight of ten presidential elections. • House & Senate wins balanced • A Republican Majority: 1896-1930 • Democrats in trouble because of economic depression in 1896 • Republican William McKinley won presidency; Republicans basically in power until Great Depression
Four Political Eras Since Civil War • A Democratic Majority: 1932-1964 • Voters unhappy with economic crisis swarmed to support Democratic candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. • Roosevelt won election; Democratic party won majorities in both House & Senate • A major electoral realignment
Four Political Eras Since Civil War • A Rough Balance: 1968 to the Present • Richard Nixon’s victory in 1968- a fourth critical election; Republican presidential candidates have done well since • Congressional elections in this period mixed: Democrats generally control House, Senate control split about evenly • Party loyalty within regions has shifted; possible electoral dealignment: • (Lessening of the importance of party loyalties in voting decisions )
Two-party system • Two-party system: • A political system in which two major political parties compete for control of the government. • Candidates from a third party have little chance of winning office. • U.S. two-party system • Democrat & Republican • Presidential politics & persistence drive survival of Democratic & Republican parties.
The American Two-Party System • Although two parties dominant, third parties make contributions also • Third parties usually one of four types: • Bolter parties- splinter parties • Farmer-labor parties- urban workers • Parties of ideological protest- socialist parties • Single-issue parties- Prohibition party
Historical Third-Party Successes • Third parties not very successful • Rarely receive more than 10% of the vote • Bolter parties have won more than 10% • Third parties have better record as policy advocates & serve as safety valves. • Recent third party gains.... Tea Party
Why a Two-Party System? • The United States two-party system results from electoral process & political socialization. • Elections based on majority representation: • The system by which one office, contested by two or more candidates, is won by the single candidate who collects the most votes. • Elections are NOT based on proportional representation: • The system by which legislative seats are awarded to a party in proportion to the vote the party wins in an election.
The Federal Basis of the Party System • Party Identification: • Psychological attachment • Most people identify w/ a major party. • Three tendencies according to data: • Republicans & Democrats together outnumber independents • More Democrats than Republicans • Democratic #s shrinking over time
Party Identification • Party identification predisposes but does not mandate voting behavior. • Factors affecting party identification: • Income , Education, Religion, Gender, Region, & Ethnicity • Parental party identification is also important.
Declined Partisanship • Partisanship has declined since early 1950s • Also true in many other democracies • Due to increased education & political sophistication
Party Ideology & Organization • Significant differences in ideology betwn Republicans & Democrats exist. • Approaches to concepts in freedom, order, & equality affect spending priorities. • Differences drive party platforms: • Statement of policies of a national political party • Ideological differences are more pronounced when looking at party activists.
National Party Organization • Some believe that Republicans are more organized as a party than Democrats. • Each party has four major organizational components: • National convention • National committee • Congressional party conferences • Congressional campaign committees
National Party Organization • National Convention: • Gathering of delegates of a single political party from across the country to choose candidates for president & vice president & to adopt a party platform. • National Committee: • A committee of a political party composed of party chairpersons & party officials from every state.
National Party Organization • Party Conference: • Meeting to select party leaders & decide committee assignments, held at the beginning of a session of Congress by Republicans or Democrats in each chamber. • Congressional Campaign Committee: • An organization maintained by a political party to raise funds to support its own candidates in congressional elections.
National Party Organization • National parties are not particularly powerful • They do not direct or control presidential campaigns. • Beginning in the 1970s, Democrats made procedural changes, & Republicans made organizational reforms. • Both parties have made significant organizational changes in recent years.
State & Local Party Organizations • At one time, both parties had powerful state & local party machines: • A centralized party organization that dominates local politics by controlling elections. • Individual organizations vary in size & strength. • National parties supply funding, candidate training, poll data & research, & campaigning instruction.
Decentralized Parties Growing Stronger • American parties are one of most decentralized parties in the world. • Even though party identification is dropping, political party organizations are growing stronger. • Still, it is not clear how well parties link voters to government.
The Model of Responsible Party Government • Responsible party government: • Set of principles formalizing the ideal role of parties in a majoritarian democracy. • Parties are essential to making gov. responsive in a majoritarian model. • Parties should present clear & coherent programs to voters. • Voters should choose candidates based on party programs. • Winning party should carry out proposed programs. • Voters should hold governing party responsible for program execution at next election.
The Evolution of Campaigning • Election campaign: • Organized effort to persuade voters to choose one candidate over others competing for the same office. • During election campaigns, political parties help structure voting choice. • Successful campaigns need resources to acquire, analyze, & disseminate info. • Voter interests, campaign tactics, candidate message, & voter turnout
The Evolution of Campaigning • Until 1950s, political parties ran most campaigns. • Today’s candidates manage their own campaigns. • Races are more candidate centered. • Must campaign for nomination as well as election. • Parties help w/ funding & party label.
Nomination for Congress & State Offices • All states use a primary election as all or part of the nomination process. • Primary election: Preliminary election conducted w/ in a political party to select candidates who will run for public office in a subsequent election. • Nomination process highly decentralized. • Only half of regular party voters in a given primary. • Many primary races have little or no competition.
Primary Elections • Four types of primary elections: • Closed primaries • Open primaries • Modified or semi-closed primaries • Modified or semi-open primaries
Primary Elections • Closed primary: • Primary election where voters must declare their party affiliation before they are given the primary ballot containing that party’s potential nominees. • Open primary: • Primary election where voters need not declare their party affiliation & can choose either party’s primary ballot to take into the voting booth.
Primary Elections • Modified closed primary: • Primary election that allows individual state parties to decide whether they permit independents to vote in their primaries & for what offices. • Modified open primary: • Primary election that entitles independent voters to vote in a party’s primary.
Nomination for President • Presidential candidates for each party are chosen at the national convention • Until 1960s, party delegates to the national convention chose the nominee. • Since 1972, delegates have been chosen by a complex process that includes the primary election & party caucuses.
Selecting Convention Delegates • Different states & parties have different procedures for selection delegates. • States follow one of two basic formats: • Presidential primary: Special primary election used to select delegates to attend the party’s national convention, which in turn nominates the presidential candidate. • Presidential primary/caucus: Method used to select delegates to attend a party’s national convention. Structured as a pyramid meetings from county-level to state convention that selects the national convention delegates.
Selecting Convention Delegates • Delegates selected; openly back one of the presidential candidates • Primary elections & caucuses mean nominees’ names usually known before national conventions • Early primaries & caucuses result in “front-loading” • States’ practice of moving delegate selection primaries & caucuses earlier in the calendar year to gain media & candidate attention.
Campaigning for the Nomination • A complex, drawn-out process • Iowa caucuses & New Hampshire primary are viewed as testing grounds. • In 2008, field was narrowed to six Republicans & five Democrats.
Campaigning for the Nomination • “Super Tuesday” resulted in one Republican & two Democrats w/ the most support by voters. • John McCain set as Republican nominee after Super Tuesday. • Democratic contest was not settled until June 7th
Consequences of Presidential Campaigns • Race w/ no incumbents contested in both parties • Incumbent presidents usually face little opposition. • Iowa & New Hampshire do matter. • Candidates favored most by party identifiers usually win nomination. • Winners owe little to national party organization.
Elections • By national law, all seats in the House of Representatives & 1/3 of the seats in the Senate are elected every two years in the general election: • Nat’l election held by law in Nov. of every even-numbered year. • State & local offices are also on the ballot. • President is chosen every 4thin presidential election • Non-presidential elections, congressional, mid-term, or off-year elections.
Presidential Elections & the Electoral College • Presidency is not automatically given to person w/ most votes in general election • General election selects electors, who then select the president. • States receive one elector for each House & Senate seat. • Washington, D.C. also receives three electors.
The Electoral College • Candidate must have a majority of electoral votes (270) to win the presidency • If no candidate receives a majority, the decision of electing a president is made by the House; the Senate chooses the vice president. • Each state has one vote • This has only happened in 1800 & 1824