What is a Political Party • A group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office. • Joined together by common principles • Federalist and Anti-Federalist (Republicans) Activity You have 10 minutes to finish (Click to time)
Political Party Functions • Nominating Candidates: Primaries • Informing and Activating Supporters: get out the vote and pass on information through media, mail, internet, etc. • The Bonding Agent Function: they vett the candidates • Governing: partisanship, make them have to work and compromise on issues • Acting as a Watchdog: Criticizes each others policies and keeps the public informed on issues they would not have known
Why the US has a Two Party System • Historical Basis: • Federalists vs. Anti-federalists • Force of Tradition: There just has always been one • Electoral System: Primaries lead to the general election. Hard for 3rd parties to break through • American Ideological consensus: Most people are moderates and they choose compromise over too many extreme factions • Other Political systems: Ex. England (different smaller parties, make compromise difficult with more groups • One-Party Systems: Tends to be on the dictatorship side
Party Membership patterns • It is voluntary • Reasons they choose their party: • Family • Church • Events (ex. WAR) • Economic status • Age • Education • Work environment Not always Predictable
American Parties: 4 Major Eras • Era of the Democrats, 1800-1860 • 1820 break into faction-Democrats (low taxes) and Whigs (high taxes) • Republicans form from Whigs and disgruntled Democrats (1854): Elect Lincoln 1960 • Only party to ever make the change to the two party system • Era of the Republicans, 1860-1932 • Civil war and democrats were weakened • 1912: T. Roosevelt form Bull Moose party, causes riff in party, but they survived • Return of the Democrats, 1932-1968 • Great Depression: economics will change peoples loyalties • Start of a new era: divided by changing parties and presidents elected without the congress in their party
Third Parties • Ideological parties: comprehensive beliefs of social, economic and political matters (ex. Communism) • Single-issue parties: Concentrate on one issue (ex. Save the whales) • Economic protest parties: economic discontent (ex. Greenback party, deal with money issues such as taxes, coinage of silver and pay • Splinter parties: Break away from and established party (ex. Bull Moose party)
Role of Third Parties • Critic: Make the two parties realize the people are serious about an issue • Minor parties still today: Ex. libertarian
Decentralized Nature of the Parties • Role of Presidency: Party leader • Impact of Federalism: elections in states and local governments lead to party leadership in the state • Role of the Nominating Process: Primaries, general election (held by states and funded by states)
National Party Machinery • National Convention: (Parties national Voice) meets presidential election year to elect presidential candidate for party • National Committee: Has a National Chairperson and meets in between the National Convention meetings (sets the party agenda) • National Chairperson: leader of the national Committee • Congressional Campaign Committees: in congress and work to help get their party members elected
State and Local Party Machinery • Set by state law • State Organization: State central Committee • Local Organization: local committee’s, school boards, local communities, etc.
Future of the Major Parties • More are identifying with being independent • Increase in split-ticket voting • Structural changes: Campaign Financing • Technological Impact: TV, Internet, etc. • Increase in single issue causes: Abortion rights, gun control, etc.
Political Labels: Do They Matter Video • Conservative or Liberal
Find out about the Parties Platforms in 2008 • http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/ • http://www.democrats.org/issues
Note Quiz: Political Parties • What is a political party? • What are they 5 political party functions? • What are the 6 reasons that we have a two party system? • What were the 4 major eras of the American Parties? • What are they 4 types of third party organizations?