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1. Political Parties CHAPTER 7
2. Parties- Here & Abroad Definition- a party is a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by supplying them with a label by which they are known to the electorate.
(AKA- party identification)
Parties are not mentioned in the Constitution.
3. Arenas of politics in which political parties exist: 1) Label, in the minds of the voters
2) Organization, recruiting and campaigning for candidates.
3) Set of leaders, organize and try to control the legislative and executive branches.
***US parties have become weaker in all three arenas.
4. Decentralization of party power in the United States Federalism decentralizes power.
National parties used to be a coalition of local parties.
Now parties organize at all levels and do not communicate well.
***ALL politics are LOCAL*****
Candidates are chosen through primaries not by party leaders.
5. The Unimportance of Parties Americans do not join or pay dues to parties.
Parties rarely affect one’s daily thoughts
They remain separate from all other aspects of life.
6. The Rise and Fall of Parties Founding fathers disliked parties, viewing them as factions (especially George Washington).
For parties to gain acceptance, people had to be able to distinguish between policy disputes and challenges to the legitimacy of government.
7. 1st Battle Jefferson - Jeffersonian Republicans
They were loose associations (caucuses) of political notables.
Republicans dominated - Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe
8. Problems of Early Parties The largest issue was that they did not represent homogeneous economic interests.
They were always heterogeneous coalitions designed to win elections.
9. From Jackson to War Late 1820s- political participation became a mass phenomenon.
1832- presidential electors chosen by popular vote in most states
Abandonment of presidential caucuses made up of congressman soon thereafter.
Beginning of national convention leading to more local control.
10. Civil War to 1930s A lot of sectionalism due to slavery.
Most states were dominated by one party
1) factions emerge in each party.
2) Republicans had a factional party split from the base (also called a splinter party)- the Progressives.
11. The Era of Reform 1930s until today
Progressives pushed to curb the power of the political parties.
1) Favored primaries, replacing nominating conventions.
2) Non-partisan elections @ the local level.
3) Strict voter registration requirements to prevent fraud.
4) Civil service reform to eliminate patronage.
5) Introduction of referendums /initiatives
12. Effects of the progressive movement 1) Eliminated the worst forms of political corruption.
2) Weakened all political parties- parties became less able to hold officeholders accountable or to coordinate across the branches of government.
13. Today’s Party Structure Parties are very similar on paper.
National convention has ultimate power. Meets every 4 years to nominate the presidential candidate.
National committee is composed of delegates from states; they manage the affairs between conventions.
Congressional campaign committees support the party’s congressional candidates.
National Chair manages daily work.
14. Party Structure The structure of the two parties diverged in the late 1960s/early 70s.
The RNC moved to a bureaucratic structure; a well-financed party devoted to electing its candidates especially to Congress.
Democrats moved to a factionalized structure and redistributed power.
15. Party Structure RNC used computerized mailing lists to raise money. Money was used to provide services for candidates, effectively becoming a national firm of political consultants.
DNC learned from RNC, but not as successful.
Both sent $$ to state parties, to sidestep federal spending limits (soft money).
16. National Conventions National committee sets the time and place and tells each state its # of delegates and the rules for their selection.
Dems and Repubs have very different ways of awarding delegates.
In the 1970s, rule changes increased the number of women, blacks, youths, and Native Americans attending the Dem convention.
17. Delegate Distribution Formulas are used by both parties to allocate their delegates to the national convention.
The Republicans reward those states that consistently favor their candidates in presidential and congressional elections.
Democrats reward larger states that consistently support their candidates.
The result is that republicans give more delegates to states from the South and Southwest, whereas the democrats give to the North and West.
18. Today’s convention Today’s national convention is similar to a large pep rally for the nominee. It is used to ratify the choices made by the voters during the primary season.
The party in power (executive branch) has their convention after the party seeking office holds their convention. Usually a week or two after.
19. State and Local Parties There is no hierarchal structure of political parties. Each level deals with its own issues. Ideas are not passed from national to state to local.
The only thing that floes from one level to another is money.
20. The Political Machine Definition- a party organization that recruits members via tangible incentives.
Prevalent in the US until early 1900s.
It has been curbed by civil service reform, voter registration, and social services being taken over by the federal and state government.
21. Types of Political Parties Ideological- based on an agenda covering many topics. Very factionalized.
Solidary groups- based on friendships. Not very hard working.
Sponsored parties- craeted by an organization. Not very common in US.
Personal following- name recognition, $$, favorite son (ex. Kennedys (MA), Longs (LA), Perot (1992, 1996)
22. The Two-Party System Rarity among nations today.
Why does it exist in America?
1) Electoral system- winner-take-all system and plurality system limit the number of parties.
2) Opinions of voters- if one is failing we try the other for a little while
3) State laws make it very difficult for third parties to get on the ballot.
23. Minor Parties (3rd parties) Ideological parties- comprehensive, radical views, most enduring
Examples include Communist, Socialist, Libertarians
One-issue parties- address one concern
Examples: Free Soil, Phohibition
Economic Protest parties- regional
Examples: Greenback, Populist
Factional parties- split from major party
Examples: Bull Moose, Christian Coalition
24. 3rd Parties Factional parties probably have the greatest influence on public policy.
The BIG TWO may pay a heavy price if it fails to recognize the faction that has split from its party.
25. Nominating a President Two forces acting together:
1) Party’s desire to win office motivates it to seek an appealing candidate
2) Party’s desire to acquiesce dissidents within the party forces a compromise with more extreme views.
26. Are the Delegates Representative of the voter? NO!!!!! Democratic delegates are much more liberal and Republican delegates are much more conservative than your rank and file voter.
Yet, people that participate in caucuses and primaries are similar ideologically to those who participate in the general election.
27. Caucus v. Primary A caucus is a much more involved process than a primary.
Due to this, only the most dedicated partisans attend.
This leads to some of the most ideological candidates (more extreme) winning or doing very well in the caucus.
28. Democrats v. Republicans Since 1968 Democrats have won more congressional elections than presidential elections.
Candidates are out of step with the average voter on social and tax issues.
Rank and file dems and repubs differ very little on political issues.
The difficult thing for candidates is appealing to the average voter, while not losing the support of the more extreme delegates.