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Public Policy

Public Policy

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Public Policy

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  1. Public Policy • A general agreement of how government will deal with certain issues or problems of the community • Example: the Town Center- encouraging the development of a downtown Virginia Beach

  2. How individuals influence public policy • Participating in politics • Voting • Campaigning • Expressing opinions

  3. How individuals influence public policy (cont.) • Lobbying • Trying to persuade the government to support your goals • Demonstrating • Writing letters • Joining interests groups

  4. Interest Groups • Group of people who come together to support a common cause • Strength in numbers

  5. How interest groups influence public policy • Identifying issues • Making political contributions • Lobbying government officials • Representing different viewpoints • Publicizing issues

  6. Mass Media influence on public opinion and public policy • Focusing public attention on selected issues • Offering a forum in which opposing viewpoints are communicated • Holding government officials accountable to the public • Providing the opportunity for government officials to use the media to communicate with the public

  7. The Political Spectrum • Reactionaries • Very conservative • Want to return to traditional policies (the way things were) • Radicals • Very liberal • Want sweeping changes in government policies • Willing to resort to violence

  8. The Political Spectrum • Conservatives • Want limited government • Oppose government regulation • Believe the individual should take care of himself • Support ending affirmative action, reinstating school prayer • Tend to be Republicans • Liberals • Want more government • Believe government should help the individual • Support programs for the poor, public housing • Tend to be Democrats

  9. The Political Spectrum • Moderates • Move between conservatives and liberals • Support government action in some areas and reject it in others


  11. Functions of Political Parties • Recruiting and nominating candidates • Educating the electorate about campaign issues • Helping candidates win elections • Monitoring actions of officeholders • Raising money for campaigns

  12. Similarities between parties • Organize to win elections • Influence public policies • Reflect both liberal and conservative views • Define themselves in a way that wins majority support by appealing to the political center

  13. Differences between parties • Stated in a party’s platform and reflected in campaigning

  14. Advantages and Disadvantages of the two-party system • Advantages • Political stability • Continuity in government • Disadvantages • Less opportunity to represent minority views • Requirement for a majority vote in the Electoral College

  15. Third parties • Failure of the major parties to address popular causes and issues • Introduce new ideas or press for a particular issue • Often revolve around a political personality (e.g., Theodore Roosevelt)

  16. Political Parties • Republicans- Modern party usually associated with conservatives and tax cuts • Democrats- Modern party usually associated with using government to solve problems and liberals

  17. Running for Public Office • Recruitment • Nomination (selected to represent a political party) • Primary elections • Party members vote to select candidate • Caucuses • Meeting where party members select candidate • Convention • Party members select delegates to choose candidate • Political Campaigns

  18. Mass Media Roles in Elections • Identifying candidates • Emphasizing selected issues • Writing editorials, creating political cartoons, publishing op-ed pieces, political commentaries • Broadcasting different points of view, debates • Public opinion polls • Endorsing candidates

  19. Propaganda • Promote a particular idea or viewpoint. Trying to persuade or influence people to do something.

  20. Propaganda Techniques • Endorsements- have famous people endorse or support the candidate • Stacked Cards- present only one side of an issue. Ignore the negative

  21. Propaganda Techniques (cont.) • The Bandwagon- convince people that everyone else is going to vote for the candidate or issue • Glittering Generality- Statement that sounds good but essentially means nothing

  22. Propaganda Techniques (cont.) • Symbols- candidate will use symbols to appeal to the public • Just Plain Folk- make people think the candidate is just like them • Name-calling- try to turn people against the opponent by using negative descriptions

  23. Rising Campaigns Costs • Require candidates to conduct extensive fund-raising activities • Give an advantage to the wealthy individuals who run for office • Encourage the development of political action committees (PACS) • Special interest groups who provide money to candidates who support their cause

  24. Rising Campaign Costs (cont.) • Give issue-oriented special interests groups increased influence • Limits opportunities to run for public office

  25. Campaign Finance Reform • Rising campaign costs have led to efforts to reform campaign finance laws • Limits exist on the amount individuals may contribute to political candidates and campaigns

  26. Contribution Limits 2007-08

  27. Qualifications to Register to Vote in Virginia • Citizen of the United States • Resident of Virginia and Precinct • 18 years of age by day of general election

  28. How to Register in Virginia • In person, at the registrar’s office, at the Division of Motor Vehicles, or at other designated sites • By mail application • Registration is closed 29 days before elections

  29. Absentee Voting • If a voter is unable to get to the voting station on election day, he/she can vote via an absentee ballot • Absentee ballots are mailed in and counted after the election

  30. Factors in Predicting which Citizens will Vote • Education • Age • Income

  31. Why Citizens Fail to Vote • Lack of Interest (voter apathy) • Failure to register

  32. Why vote? • The percentage of voters who participate in presidential elections is usually greater than the percentage of voters who participate in state and local elections • Every vote is important!!!!