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Political Parties. Chapter 9 P. 197-229. Political Parties. Political party —a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by providing them with a label (party identification) Label—a party identification by which a party is known to the electorate Parties exist as a Label

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political parties

Political Parties

Chapter 9

P. 197-229

political parties1
Political Parties
  • Political party—a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by providing them with a label (party identification)
  • Label—a party identification by which a party is known to the electorate
  • Parties exist as a
    • Label
    • Organization
      • DNC
      • RNC
    • Set of leaders

Nancy Pelosi D-CA

Speaker John Boehner R-OH


Harry Reid D-NV

Senator John McCain R-AZ

powerful vs weak parties
Powerful vs. Weak Parties
  • Label has a strong appeal to voters
  • Elaborate and well-disciplined organization
    • provides money and workers to candidates
  • Voters are very loyal
  • Party chooses the candidate and how the campaign will be managed
  • Leaders dominate one or all branches of government
  • Europe
  • Label has a weaker appeal
    • Many voters are independents
    • Voters split tickets
  • Weak organization has little control over who gets nominated
  • Federal system decentralizes power
  • Closely regulated by state and federal laws
    • Weakens parties
  • Candidate centered elections and campaigns
    • Chosen by primaries not party leaders
  • Leaders who organize government (especially Congress ) remain somewhat strong
  • U.S.A
reasons for the weakness of american political parties
Reasons for the Weakness of American Political Parties
  • Federal system decentralizes political authority
  • State and local governments made the most important governmental decisions for two centuries
    • Education, criminal justice, land use, business regulation and public welfare
    • Power rested in local and state parties who could ignore the national party leaders
  • Party that wins the Congress does not have the right to choose the chief executive
  • Direct primary elections is the method for choosing candidates for office
    • This removes from party leaders their most important source of power over officeholders
  • Parties play almost no role in the cultural life of the average citizen
    • Social, business, working and cultural lives are almost entirely nonpartisan
  • OLDEST parties in the world
  • WEAKEST they have ever been
overview of rise and decline of parties
Overview of rise and decline of parties
  • Founders disliked parties
    • Viewed them as factions
  • Jacksonian era
    • Political participation became a mass phenomenon
  • Civil War until the 1930s
    • Most states were dominated by one party
  • Progressives
    • Pushed measures to curtail parties’ power and influence
history of american political parties
History ofAmerican Political Parties

Four Broad Periods

  • 1789-1820 Founding to Jackson
  • 1820s-1861 Jackson to the Civil War
  • 1865-1930 Civil War to New Deal
  • 1930-2009 New Deal to present
1789 1820s founding to jackson first party system
1789-1820s Founding to JacksonFirst Party System
  • Founders disliked factions
    • Motivated by ambition and self interest
  • Washington dismayed by quarreling in his cabinet by Hamilton and Jefferson
  • Jefferson’s followers to opposed Hamilton’s policies
    • Republicans/South
    • Suggesting their opponents were secret monarchists
  • Hamilton’s followers
    • Federalists/New England
    • Implying their opponents were enemies of the Constitution
  • Loose caucuses of political notables
    • Caucus methodused to choose the presidential candidate
  • Built from the top down
  • Heterogeneous coalitions (then and now)
  • After 1804 election, Federalist party ceased to exist

Thomas Jefferson



1820s 1861 jackson to the civil war second party system
1820s – 1861 Jackson to the Civil WarSecond Party System
  • Political participation is a mass phenomenon
  • Presidential politics truly national
    • 1824—365,000 popular votes cast
    • 1828—over one million votes cast
    • 1842—over two million votes cast
  • Party system built from the bottom up
    • Democrats—followers of Jackson
    • Whigs—opponents of Jackson
  • Both parties straddled the slavery issue
  • Nominating conventions replace the caucus as the method to select the presidential candidates
    • 1831 Anti-Masonic Party –first to use nominating convention
    • Allows some local control
    • No other nation uses this method

Andrew Jackson

methods for choosing candidates for president
Methods for choosing candidates for President
  • 1788-1832


  • 1832-1960

National nominating conventions

  • 1960-present

Direct primary elections

1865 1930 civil war to new deal third party system
1865-1930 Civil War to New DealThird Party System
  • Emergence of the Republican Party
    • Began as a third party
    • Became a major party as a result of the Civil War
    • Dominated national politics for 75 years with only occasional interruptions
  • Two events gave the Republican Party a marked advantage
    • Civil War polarized attitudes
      • Republicans supported the Union
      • Democrats opposed the union and supported the Confederacy
    • Candidacy of William Jennings Bryan (D) 1896
      • Bryan alienated voters in the populous northeast
      • Bryan attracted voters in the south and west
      • Deepened the split in the country especially North vs. South
        • 1896-1930
          • North solidly Republican
          • South solidly Democratic



William Jennings Bryan

1865 1930 third party system
1865-1930 Third Party System
  • Solid Republican North
  • Solid Democratic South
  • Most states are now one-party states
  • Competition for office at the state level went on within a single dominant party
  • Two major factions within each party
    • Stalwarts—the Old Guard
      • Built up the party organization (machinery) by developing party loyalty and dispensing jobs and favors
      • Skills in organization, negotiation, bargaining and compromise
      • Great interest was in winning
    • Progressives/mugwumps—reformers
      • Opposed party machinery and emphasis on patronage
      • Feared influx of immigrants
      • Skills in advocacy
      • Great interest in principle
1865 1930 third party system1
1865-1930 Third Party System
  • Era of Reform 1890-1920
  • Progressives called for
    • Direct primary elections to replace national nominating conventions
    • Nonpartisan elections at the city and state level
      • One in which the candidates are not identified by a party
    • Strict voter-registration requirements
    • Civil service reform
  • Successful in
    • California/Governor Hiram Johnson 1910
      • Instituted the direct primary
      • Adopted initiative and referendum
    • Wisconsin/Governor Robert La Follette
results of reform
Results of reform
  • Worst forms of political corruption were reduced
  • All political parties were weakened
  • Parties became less able to hold officeholders accountable or to coordinate across the branches of government
party realignments
Party Realignments
  • Critical or realigning periods
    • When a major, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition supporting both parties (turning points in the strength of the major parties)
    • Electoral realignment occurs when a new issue of utmost importance cuts across existing party divisions and replaces old issues that were formerly the basis of party identification.
two kinds of realignments
TWO Kinds of Realignments
  • Major party so badly defeated it disappears and a new party emerges
    • 1800 Federalist Party disappeared
    • 1856 an1860 Whig Party collapses
      • Slavery issue
    • 1856 Republican Party formed as a third party
      • Clear cut opposition to slavery
    • 1860 Democratic Party split in half
      • Steven Douglas in the North
      • John Breckinridge in the South
  • Two existing parties continue but voters shift their support from one to another
    • 1896 Economic issues
      • Falling farm prices
      • Parties of economic protest
        • Greenback Party 1876-1884
        • Populist Party 1892-1908
      • Cultural Issues
      • Fundamentalists and farmers
      • Old North v. South is replaced in part by East versus West
      • City versus farmers
    • 1932 Economic Depression
      • New Deal Democrats
      • urban workers, northern blacks, southern whites and Jewish voters
five major realignments
FIVE Major Realignments
  • Election 1800
    • Jeffersonian Republicans defeat Federalists
  • Election 1828
    • Jacksonian Democrats come to power
  • Election 1860
    • Whig Party collapses
    • Republicans under Lincoln come to power
  • Election 1896
    • RepublicansWilliam McKinley defeat

William Jennings Bryan

  • Election 1932
    • Democrats under Franklin Roosevelt come to power
party realignment election 1800
Party Realignment Election 1800
  • Power Shift
    • Jefferson unseats Adams
    • Republicans defeat Federalists
    • Jefferson set a precedent for post election unity declaring, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”
party realignment election 1828
Party Realignment Election 1828
  • The Birth of Populism
  • Beat the elite!
  • Andrew Jackson over John Quincy Adams
  • Jackson styled himself a man of the people
  • Jobs to loyal backers

White House patronage in style ever since

party realignment election 1860
Party Realignment Election 1860
  • Fury, Then Freedom
  • Altered America more than any other election in history
  • Abraham Lincoln’s new antislavery Republican Party
  • Fractured Democratic Party
party realignment election 1896
Party Realignment Election 1896
  • A Business Party
  • William McKinley and the Republican Party defeat Bryan’s populist loose money platform
  • Differences in economic philosophy defined the campaign
  • Coalition of Eastern business patrons for the gold standard
party realignment election 1932
Party Realignment Election 1932
  • A New Deal Dawns
  • F.D.R. defeats Hoover
  • Tackles economic disaster
  • Democrats repudiate conservative economic policies and set stage for New Deal initiatives
three clearest cases of realignment
Three Clearest Cases of realignment
  • 1860
    • Slavery issue fixed new loyalties in the popular mind
  • 1896
    • Economic issues shifted loyalties to East vs. West, city vs. farm split
  • 1932
    • Economic depression triggered new coalition for Democrats
  • 1980: a new realignment?
    • Reagan won in 1980 because he was not Jimmy Carter
    • Could not have been a traditional realignment because Congress was left in the hands of the Democrats
  • Major shift that has occurred
    • Shift in presidential voting patterns in the South
    • 1972-2004: South has been more Republican than nation as a whole
    • If continues, will constitute a major regional realignment
party decline
Party Decline
  • Proportion of people identifying with one or the other party declined between 1960 and 1980
  • Proportion of voters split-ticket voting increased
    • 1940s 1/5 of congressional districts split their votes
    • 1988 ½ of all congressional districts split their tickets
      • Split ticket voting was greatest in the South
party decline1
Party Decline
  • Split ticket—voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election
    • Creates divided government
    • Helped Democrats keep control of the House from 1954 to 1994
    • Unheard of in the 19th century
  • Straight ticket—voting for candidates who are all the same party
  • Office-bloc ballot—lists all candidates of a given office under the name of the office; called a Massachusetts ballot
    • No way to vote a straight party ticket by making one mark
    • States using office-bloc have more ticket splitting
  • Party-column ballot—lists all candidates of a given party together under the name of the party; called an Indiana ballot
    • Encourages straight ticket voting
party decline2
Party Decline
  • Evidence that parties are declining, not realigning
  • Proportion of people identifying with a party declined between 1960 and 1980
  • Proportion of those voting a split ticket increased
    • Was almost unheard of in the 19th century, because voters were given ballots by the parties
    • Became more common with the adoption of the office-bloc ballot (listing candidates by office instead of party)
1930 present national party structure today
1930-present National Party structure TODAY
  • Two party system remains strong
    • Voters registered Democrat vote Democrat
    • Voters registered Republican vote Republican
  • National, state and local parties
    • At each level a separate and almost entirely independent organization exists
  • National
    • National convention—a meeting of party delegates held every four years
    • National committee—delegates from each state and territory who run party affairs between national conventions
      • Selects the time and place for the next convention
      • Determines the number of delegates each state and territory has
      • Sets the rules under which delegates are chosen
        • Allocation formulas show the tendencies of the two parties to move in opposite ideological directions
    • Congressional campaign committee—a party committee in Congress that helps members of congress who are running for reelection and would be members by providing funds
    • National chairman—day-to-day manager elected by the national committee
national party structure today
National party Structure Today

National Conventions

State and Local Parties

The Machine

Personal Following

rnc republican national committee
RNC Republican National Committee
  • 1960s and early 1970s
  • Convert party to a
    • Well-financed and highly staffed organization
    • Devoted to finding and electing Republican candidates especially to Congress
  • Bureaucratized
    • Took advantage of computerized mailings
    • Built file of names of donors raising big budget for the national party
  • National political consulting firm
    • Legal and financial advice
    • Studies issues
    • Analyzes voting trends
    • Conducts national advertising campaigns
  • 1968-1988
    • Won five out of six presidential elections
    • Took control of the Senate
  • White collar voters
dnc democratic national committee
DNC Democratic national Committee
  • 1960s and early 1970s
    • Changed rules on how presidential candidates are nominated
    • Altered the distribution of power within the party
  • Factionalized
  • 1968-88
    • Lost five out of six presidential elections
    • Blue collar voters
  • Since 1972
    • Make the party more democratic
      • Rules designed to weaken control of local party leaders
      • Increase the proportion of women, young people, African Americans and Native Americans
  • 1980s played catch-up
    • Same computerized direct-mail techniques as Republicans
    • Changed rules to increase influence of elected officials
      • Superdelegates—elected officials
        • 1988 number of superdelegates increased
  • By 2004 Democrats outspent the Republicans
    • Money to state organizations
    • Soft money—funds to aid parties and their ads and polls
    • Financed television advertisements
state and local parties
State and Local Parties
  • Every state has a Democratic and Republican state party organized by law
  • State central committee
  • County central committee
  • City, town or precinct committees
  • Members are chosen by
    • Primary elections
    • Conventions
    • Building block process
      • People elected to serve on precinct or town committees choose the county committee who chooses the state committee
    • Strong party bosses
the machine
The Machine
  • Political machine—a party organization that recruits its members by the use of tangible incentives—money, political jobs, favors from government—and that is characterized by a high degree of leadershipcontrol over member activity
    • Supreme expression of the value of organization
      • Republican machines helped elect Lincoln and Harding
      • Democratic machines helped elect F.D. Roosevelt and Kennedy
    • Examples
      • Tammany Hall, NYC
        • Began as a caucus
        • By late 19th century a machine organized on the basis of political clubs in each assembly district
        • Got out the vote
        • Abundant rewards
          • 1870s one out of every eight voters in New York had a federal, state or city job
          • NYC Customs house employed thousands
      • Chicago, Philadelphia and Albany—machines in place today
minor parties1
Minor Parties
  • Minor Parties
    • Third parties
    • Permanent feature of American political life
  • Examples
    • Ideological
    • One-issue
    • Economic protest
    • Factional
ideological parties
Ideological Parties
  • Values principle above all else
  • Extreme opposite of the machine
  • Examples
    • Socialist Party 1901-1960s
    • Socialist Labor Party 1888-present
    • Communist Party 1920s-present
    • Libertarian Party1972-present
    • Right-to-Life Party 1970-present
    • Green Party 1984-present
one issue parties
One issue Parties
  • Seeks a single policy usually revealed by the name
  • Avoids other issues
  • Examples
    • Free-Soil Party 1848-1852
      • Prevent the spread of slavery
    • Know-Nothing Party 1856
      • Opposed immigration and Catholics
    • Prohibition Party 1869-present
      • Ban the sale of liquor
    • Women’s Party 1913-1920
      • Obtain the right to vote for women
economic protest parties
Economic protest parties
  • Usually based in a particular region, especially involving farmers, that protest against depressed economic conditions
  • Tend to disappear as conditions improve
  • Examples
    • Greenback Party 1876-1884
    • Populist Party 1892-1908
factional parties
Factional parties
  • Created by a split in a major party, usually over the identity and philosophy of the major party’s presidential candidate
  • Examples
    • Split from the Republican Party
    • “Bull Moose” Progressive Party 1912
      • Teddy Roosevelt
    • La Follette Progressive Party 1924
  • Split from Democratic Party
    • States’ Rights “Dixiecrat” Party 1948
    • Henry Wallace Progressive Party 1948
    • American Independent (George Wallace) Party 1968
  • Split from Democrats and Republicans
    • Reform Party 1992, 1996

Teddy Roosevelt

Robert La Follette

George Wallace

Ross Perot

solidary groups sponsored parties
Solidary GroupsSponsored Parties
  • Solidary Groups
    • Formed because people enjoy the game of politics and are looking for companions and status
    • Advantages of these groups are that they are neither corrupt nor inflexible
    • Disadvantage—don’t work hard
    • Uncommon in U.S.
  • Sponsored Parties
    • Local or state political party that is largely supported by another organization in the community
    • Detroit
      • Political action arm of the UAW
personal following

George, George W, Jeb Bush, TX

Personal Following
  • Personal following—the political support provided to a candidate on the basis of popularity and networks
  • Requires
    • Pleasing personality
    • Lots of friends
    • Big bank account

John, Robert, Edward Kennedy, MA

Jerry and

Pat Brown, CA

Hubert Humphrey, MN

Birch and Evan Bayh, IN

Huey and Russell Long, LA

two party system
Two-Party System

Plurality System

two party system1
Two-Party System
  • Two-party system—an electoral system with two major dominant parties that compete in national elections
  • U.S.—rather evenly balance
    • 1888-2008 presidential elections
      • 17 Republican victories
      • 14 Democratic victories
  • Rare—only fifteen nations have it
  • Most European nations have a multi-party system
    • Proportional representation encourages minor parties
reasons for a two party system
Reasons for aTwo-Party System
  • Plurality system—an electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he/she does not receive a majority
    • Parties must make alliances before the election
    • Parties must be broadly based if they want to have any hope of winning
    • Used in almost all American elections
    • Winner-take-all feature
      • Best example is the Electoral College
        • Exceptions—Maine and Nebraska
    • Minor parties cannot compete under this system
      • Voters are reluctant to “waste their vote” on a minor-party candidate
  • Distribution of public opinion
    • Rough parity between the two parties
    • Prevailing economic system accepted by masses
    • Church and religion are private matters
  • State laws
    • Make it difficult to get on the ballot