A Brief History • Not a part of the Constitution • G. Washington warned against pol. Parties • He worried they would divide us • Do they? • From the beginning we had the people who wanted a strong central gov. (the Federalists) and those against it (Anti-Federalists)
A Brief History • Our early parties
A Brief History • Democrats and Republicans • Our current set up began when the Republicans replaced the Whigs • Republicans were the majority party from the Civil War until the Great Depression in the 1930’s • Democrats took control in 1932 trying to get the country out of the Great Depression and through WWII • Power has gone back and fourth since
Why the Donkey and the Elephant? • There are a couple of explanations • Its origins are in the 1828 presidential campaign -- during which Andrew Jackson was labeled a [donkey] for his populist views. • Jackson proudly seized the label and began using donkeys on his campaign posters. • During his presidency, cartoonists sometimes used the donkey to illustrate President Jackson's stubbornness on certain issues. • It was revived again by Thomas Nast in his 1870's cartoons. • Another explanation is simply the influence of cartoonist Thomas Nast. • In his cartoons a duplicitous donkey attacks a timid and clumsy behemoth elephant. • The donkey and elephant became handy symbols for other cartoonists. • Popular recognition and acceptance of those images overrode the parties’ own wishes. • The Democrat and Republican parties came to accept the reality that the symbols had stuck, like it or not.
The Role of Third Parties • Although politics is dominated by the 2 big parties occasionally a 3rd party does emerge • Often it is someone who splits from one of the main parties • Nationally it is difficult • Laws make it difficult • Who made those laws? • people do not want to donate money to someone who won’t win • Some do win local and state elections
The Role of Third Parties • Influence of Third Parties • Draw votes away from another candidate (2000) • Bring ideas and issues to our political conscience (1992/1996) • The most popular of these ideas are usually absorbed by one of the main parties This is why we still only have 2 main parties
Characteristics of Today’s Parties *These are generalizations *turn to page 501
Characteristics of Today’s Parties • Political Parties are similar • Although there are differences the parties have more in common than different • When a new party is in control we don’t have huge changes • Our core values and beliefs are the same
Characteristics of Today’s Parties • Party Organization • Both parties have local, state, and national organizations • These are independent of each other
Characteristics of Today’s Parties • Party Organization (con’t) • At the state level • Party committees with chairpersons • Write a platform • Nominate candidates • Raise money • Host a state convention
Characteristics of Today’s Parties • Party Organization (con’t) • At the national level • Party committees with chairpersons • Write a platform • Nominate candidates for President and V.P. • Raise money • Host a national convention • This is an important part of the campaign season
Supporting a Party *Pay annual dues • To be a member you: True False *May declare yourself an official member *Think of yourself as a member *Attend the conventions *Vow to vote for party candidates *Recite the party pledge
Changes in Party Strength • Patronage • Favors for support of the party • 2000 federal appointments • Most federal jobs today are through the civil service system • Which ancient river civ began the civil service system?
Changes in Party Strength • Parties in Campaigns • Candidates used to depend on the party for help during the campaign • Raising money • And informing voters • Today it is easier for candidates to do thison their own • This can lead to candidates disagreeing with party leaders and even voting against party programs
Changes in Party Strength • Voter Loyalty • Only 40% of voters vote a straight ticket • Voters tend to vote for a specific candidate or on a specific issue • In the historically Democratic south (dating back to the early 1800s) people still consider themselves Dems, but vote Rep in national elections • Why? • Recent surveys put Dem at 36% and Rep at 33% • That means 31% are independent
Changes in Party Strength • Voter Loyalty (con’t) • Recent surveys put Dem at 36% and Rep at 33% • That means 31% are independent • Elections are won by convincing independents and getting people to split their ticket