Political Parties Chapter 9
“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.” Washington’s Farewell Address1796
An organization that sponsors a candidate for public office under the organization’s name. What is a political party?
Nominate- name or recruit candidates, then present to voters • Inform- inform and stimulate the voters about a candidate; pick and choose issues; criticize other party • Approve- keep the party bonded by approving actions of candidate • Government- many voters decide winner by party, Congress works on a partisan basis, and appointments are made according to party. • Watchdog- parties watch the conduct of those in power, try to convince voters to oust the ones in charge The Five Functions of a Political Party
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists • Winner take all • Single member district • Voters do not want to “waste” vote on minor party. • Minor parties often find it difficult to flourish because election laws have been written by officials who are members of the major parties. 1. HISTORY 2. SYSTEM 3. ELECTION LAWS Reasons for a Two-Party System
History of U.S. Party Politics 1. Pre-party Period • Constitution makes no reference to parties • Factions • Groups pursuing a common political interest • Considered both inevitable and dangerous (Federalist No. 10) • Factions were not yet parties, they did not nominate candidates • Grew under Washington’s administration
2. Federalists and Democratic Republicans • Election of 1796 • Federalists (John Adams) • Democratic Republicans (Thomas Jefferson). • Adams won, Jefferson became vice president. • Election of 1800 • More systematic nomination. • Federalists (John Adams) • Democratic Republicans (Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr) • Jefferson and Burr tie and it goes to the House. • Twelfth Amendment (1804)- Separate electoral college for the president and vice- president • By 1820, the Federalists had ceased to exist; Democratic Republicans had no opposition in the presidential election. • Election of 1824 – Democratic Republicans split into two different factions
Democrats and Whigs • The Election of 1828 • Democrats formed from the Jacksonian Democratic Republicans • Represented Southerners and Westerners • First mass election, over 1 million voters • National Conventions and Party Platforms • National Convention- Gathering of delegates of a single political party to choose presidential and vice presidential candidates and to determine the party platform. • Party Platform- The statement of policies of a national party. • Whigs formed in 1834 to fight “King” Jackson. Lasted until 1856
4. Democrats and Republicans • The Republican party formed in 1854 in opposition to slavery. • Ran Abraham Lincoln in 1860 • Won largely because of splits in the Democratic party • Critical elections • Def.- An election that produces a sharp change in the existing pattern of party loyalty among groups of voters; changed pattern is called electoral realignment. • The election of 1860 was the first critical election. Pattern stayed in place until the election of Eisenhower in 1952.
1860-1894: Rough Balance • Republicans won 8 out of 10 presidential elections, but there was balance in Congress. • 1896-1930: Republican Control • Second critical election- 1896: Republicans became more closely aligned with industrial interests in the East and Midwest • Republicans controlled the entire federal government continually until the Crash of 1929 • 1932-1964: Democratic Control • Third critical election- 1932: Democrats aligned with unions, middle class, immigrants and southerners • Democrats held control of both Houses of Congress in most sessions throughout this period. • 1968-Present: Rough Balance • Republicans began to run well in the South • Control of Senate almost even, Democrats controlled House 13/19 sessions • May be a period of electorate dealignment. Era of Dominance (Post Civil War)
Third Parties in the United States
The Omaha Platform: Opposed monopolies Opposed big business Feared political corruption Wanted the government to have a bigger role in society Had a strong sense of morality Supported farmers Wanted better labor conditions Populist principles • In the election of 1892 they won 22 electoral votes!
The Progressive PartyDeveloped as a reform movement in the early 1900’s. Differed from the populists in that they were more educated, wealthy and urban. Progressive Platform
Independents Ticket-splitting Divided government Cynicism & political apathy Decentralized party structure Mass media Interest groups Why are parties getting weaker?
Splinter Parties (Bull Moose) • Single-Issue Parties (Green) • Ideological Parties (Socialists) • Economic Protest Parties (Greenback) Other Third Parties
“Concededly, each interest group is biased; but their role…..is not unlike the advocacy of lawyers in court which has proven so successful in resolving judicial controversies” - John F. Kennedy Interest Groups “Suppose you go to Washington and try to get at your government. You will always find that while you are politely listened to, the men really consulted are the men with the biggest stake – the big bankers, the big manufacturers, the big masters of commerce” – Woodrow Wilson
Definition: Any organization that seeks to influence public policy through lobbying. • Two types – institutional and membership • Institutional - deals with individuals or organizations representing other organizations such as: business firms and unions • Membership – deals with social, business, veteran, charitable, religious issues • Differences among Americans has led the proliferation of interest groups • Huge variety of issues including abolition, prohibition, gun rights, farm issues, religious associations, environmental groups, political reform, balanced budget, businesses, unions, even older Americans Interest Groups See table on page 267 and 268
Reasons for Interest Groups • Cleavages • Constitutional System • Non-Profit Perks • Section 501 (c) (3)- Tax-exempt, no lobbying or campaign contributions • Section 501 (c) (4)- Not tax-exempt, but can lobby and give campaign contributions • Weakness of Political Parties See table on page 261
Feel a part of the political process, pleasure, and/or companionship • Material incentives - money, things, services • Common goals – passion about an issue, common ideology, public interest, protection Why join an interest group?
Interest groups have long been involved in a variety of social movements such as: abolition, the environment, feminism, and unions Funding for interest groups comes from three main sources: • Foundation grants • Federal grants and contracts • Direct mail Funding of Interest Groups
Size Power of AARP – 25% of the population 50 and over Intensity Drive or effort put forth (single issue groups fall into this category) Money Form a PAC (Political Action Committee) – donate money to campaigns and advertising What makes interest groups powerful?
1. Electioneering 2. Lobbying 3. Publicity 4. Organizing grassroots activities 5. Use of the courts Methods of Interest Groups
In 1953, The Supreme Court upheld the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946), but narrowed its scope significantly. • The Court determined that it applied only to paid lobbyists who directly communicated with members of Congress on pending legislation. This created a number of loopholes including:- It does not regulate people who give money to influence legislation, only those who solicit or collect money.- It does not define "principally." A lobbyist can argue that his principal goal is not influencing legislation.- It does not include those who communicate with Congressional staffers. U.S. v. Harriss(1954)
Here’s an interesting phenomenon?? Many people leave public office, get hired by a PAC and then return to Washington to lobby. It can happen over and over again (Donald Rumsfeld for example). This can lead to a conflict of interest and an unfair manipulation of government agencies. The “Revolving Door”
Imagine you are a member of the President’s cabinet. The Treasury secretary advises that the President makes cuts in federal spending to save the economy. He/she must make some tough choices and you must advise him. The spending areas under review are: 1. Social Security 2. Environmental Protection Agency 3. Women’s health clinics 4. Education 5. Medicare You must get rid of one, cut spending in two, maintain spending in one, and raise spending in one. Discuss what interest groups you feel would lobby your administration before you make your decision. Consider their arguments. Explain the reasons for your choicesand the potential political consequences for your decisions. Critical Thinking
Role play • The scenario: The drug companies are lobbying for legislation that would give them control over any prescription drug program for senior citizens. • Interest groups: plan your arguments. How will you convince the President to take your side? • Presidential advisors: what factors will influence your decision? The Lobbying Process
Break into groups: • Group 1: Advisors to the president • Group 2: AARP • Group 3: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America • Group 4: AFL-CIO The Lobbying Process