American Government and Organization PS1301 Friday, 16 January
Announcements • Be sure to purchase text by January 31 to take advantage of free shipping • Purchase and register response pads by next Friday, January 23. • Donovan book for sale for $10 • Iowa Caucus is Monday, January 19; New Hampshire Primary is Tuesday, January 27. For further info see CNN: Special Reports.
Outline for Course • A Case for Reform? Causes and Consequences • Concepts: Conflict, Rules, and Change • Principles of the Structure of U.S. Government: Constitution, Federalism • Institutions: congress, presidency, bureaucracy, the courts • Linkage Mechanisms: public opinion, elections, parties, interest groups, the media • Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Indicators for Reform • Does the republic need reforming? • Dissatisfaction • Low Turnout • Failure to achieve electoral majorities - Loss of mandate • Lack of competitive elections – mostly congressional level • Crisis events – 2000 election and 1998 Clinton impeachment
Trust in Government Source: Table 2.1, p.19 Donovan and Bowler
Turnout in the US • In presidential elections, only half the eligible population participates and in midterm elections only one third participates • Previous elections had higher turnout; turnout has decline in almost every election since 1960. • How does the US compare to other countries?
Lack of Competition • Nearly all U.S. Representatives win reelection; just 10 percent of the races are viewed as “competitive” • When incumbents retire the result is largely predetermined.