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Unformatted text preview: Party Competition and Majority Rule: The History of U.S. Parties Political Party: a group of people who join together to try to get candidates for public office elected under their label Party competition gives people a chance to influence how they will be governed and unite behind a single alternative 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 1 The First Parties When America formed, leaders mistrusted idea of political parties Political parties did not exist when Constitution drafted and are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution Slowly framers began to understand that parties were a way for people to work together to achieve mutual goals 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 2 The First Political Parties The two-party system we see today began with two factions: Federalists Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists Thomas Jefferson Alexander Hamilton These evolved into first real political parties -- the Federalists and the Jeffersoninan Republicans Thomas Jefferson 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 3 A Graphic History of America's Major Political Parties 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 4 The "Era of Good Feeling" Federalists lost power after Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in 1800 Until end of James Monroe's 2nd term, Jeffersonian Republicans had control of government with no viable opposition One of the very few times when United States did not have a two-party system 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 5 Andrew Jackson and Grassroots Parties Jackson formed Democrats to give individual voter more power Built from bottom up Membership open to all voters Voter turnout increased 4X Andrew Jackson 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 6 The Whigs New opposition party formed Whigs Very disorganized only uniting factor was dislike of the Democrats Brought about a short-lived two-party system that lasted until just before the Civil War Slavery issue tore both Democrats and Whigs apart 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates Source: Library of Congress archives 7 Emergence of the Republican Party Issues of slavery and states' rights divided the nation, including political parties Whigs began to collapse in mid-1840s Democrats divided into the Northern and Southern factions In 1850s, new party formed Republicans 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 8 Abraham Lincoln Because the two Democratic factions ran different candidates in the 1860 presidential election, the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, won with only 40% of the popular vote Abraham Lincoln Source: National Archives 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 9 Republicans Versus Democrats: Realignments and the Enduring Party System The two-party tradition continues today Durability due to adaptability during crisis 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 10 Party Realignment Four basic elements 1. Existing political order is disrupted by powerful and divisive issues 2. An election occurs where voters shift support to one party 3. Major policy changes happen through the actions of the stronger party 4. Party coalitions change to the advantage of the dominant party 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 11 Party Realignment Realignments rare and involve lasting changes in party identification Three have happened since the 1850s: 1. The Civil War 2. Bank collapse and depression in the 1890s 3. Great Depression of the 1930s 12 Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34-9058-C 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates Today's Party Alignment and Its Origins Realignments lose strength over time By late 1960s, Democrats divided over Viet Nam and civil rights Traditional party strongholds have changed Increased minority populations Decline of moderates Conflicts over federal spending and taxing Split tickets Link to 2004 election results map 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 13 Parties and the Vote Voters who identify with a specific political party usually vote for the party's candidate Some voters influenced by issues Prospective voters vote based on candidate promises Retrospective voters vote based on past performance 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 14 Electoral and Party Systems U.S. traditionally has had two-party system Most other democracies have multiparty systems 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 15 The Single-Member District System of Election We choose officials mostly through plurality elections in singlemember districts This system discourages minor parties 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 16 Why Only Two Parties? Most European countries use proportional representation Seats in the legislature allocated based on a party's share of the popular vote Gives smaller parties power Encourages coalitions 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 17 Number of Competitive Parties Two United States Three Canada (at times) Four or More Belgium Great Britain Denmark France Germany Italy Netherlands Sweden 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 18 Politics and Coalitions in the Two-Party System In U.S., the two major parties can only win by obtaining majority support If one party goes to an extreme, it leaves the other with the opportunity for the center The moderate voter holds the balance of power BUT, the center can be moved by public opinion 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 19 Party Coalitions The groups and interests that support a political party European parties tend to have a more narrow range of interests With a two-party system, each party must have broad coalitions to win a majority 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 20 So, What's the Difference? Although Republican and Democratic coalitions overlap, have major policy differences based on the role of government in solving social and economic problems Democrats support a greater role for government; Republicans support a lesser role Democratic support greater with poor, urban, elderly, minority, women Republican support tends to be white, middle-class Protestants, suburban 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 21 Minor Parties U.S. system discourages minor parties However, more than 1,000 minor parties have formed over the years Most short-lived Usually form because people believe some issue not adequately addressed by the major parties Link to list of minor political parties in U.S. 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 22 Minor Parties Some form around a single issue, such as the Right-to-Life party or the Prohibition party Most successful minor parties have been factional parties Bull Moose Progressives The 1948 States Rights party The 1968 American Independent party The Latest Arrival at the Political Zoo Edward W. Kemble (1861-1933) Source: Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site National Park Service, New York City 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 23 Minor Parties Some minor parties have an ideological commitment to a radical philosophy Socialist Workers, Citizens and Libertarian parties Another strong ideological party was the Populist party (late 1800s) Populists supported government railroads, graduated income tax, low import tariffs, and elimination of the gold standard. 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 24 Strongest Minor Parties in the U.S. Today Reform Party Formed by businessman Ross Perot In 1992 In 1996, Perot got 8% of vote for President Green Party Strongest minor party today Holds liberal positions on environment, labor, taxation, social welfare, etc. Nader got 3% of vote in 2000 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 25 Party Organizations Main purpose of a political party is to contest elections Parties have less control than in past Today, most election activities candidatedriven 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 26 The Weakening of Party Organizations Initially, candidate nominations party's responsibility Some viewed this situation as corrupt Led to the development of the primary election, or direct primary 27 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates What is a Primary? An election that determines a party's nominees for the general election Closed primary Open primary Blanket primary 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 28 More Candidate Power The primary system gives the candidates the power rather than the party The candidate controls job appointments, funding, ads, platforms, and can develop a personal following that bypasses the party organization In Europe, national parties have much more power 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 29 The Structure and Role of Party Organizations Parties still useful to candidates Organize party activists Voter registration "Get out the Vote" drives Raising campaign funds Campaign logistics 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 30 Local Party Organizations Political parties are organized from the bottom up Local party organizations tend to concentrate efforts on local elections Role is secondary for congressional, statewide and presidential elections 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 31 Organization of the Political Party: Parties today are a loosely structured alliance of national, state & local organizations 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 32 State Party Organizations Made up of delegates from localities The state committee Hires a chairperson, who supervises staff and party operations Sets general policy guidelines 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 33 National Party Organizations Made up of delegates from the states The national committee Hires a chairperson, who supervises staff and party operations Sets general policy guidelines Focus mainly is on the presidential and congressional elections 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 34 The Parties and Money Major role for parties is raising and spending money Republican National Committee (RNC) National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Democratic National Committee (DNC) Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 35 The Parties and Money Parties have a service relationship with candidates Parties can contribute $10,000 to House candidates and $37,500 to Senate candidates 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 36 Hard Money Campaign contributions given to candidates to spend how they choose In addition to committee contributions, candidates can receive up to $2K from individuals and $5K from interest groups These limits started after the 1970s Watergate scandal 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 37 Soft Money Campaign contributions given to parties to fund "general party activities" Cannot be given to candidates Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BRCA) prohibits national party from raising soft money State committees can't spend on national elections Restrictions do not apply to "527" special interest groups Issue ads sometimes veiled attacks on candidates Link to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth issue ad 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 38 Campaign Funds: The Money Chase Very expensive to run for political office Over $2 billion spent in 2006 Senate and House races Senators must raise $20K per week to meet the average cost of $6 million for a campaign House races around $1 million Incumbents have the advantage 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 39 Organization and Strategy: Hired Guns Political consultants now vital to success Professional campaign managers Pollsters Media consultants Fundraisers Get-out-the-vote specialists It's all about "packaging" the candidate 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 40 Negative Campaigning "Attack politics" has increased dramatically in recent years Easier to tear down opponent than build up candidate Link to ad attacking Senator Max Cleland 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 41 Voter Contacts: A Pitched Battle Air Wars Often a battle of opposing TV ads and press releases Debates can be good or bad depending on performance Ground Wars -- Voter turnout calls, mailings, etc. Web Wars Internet used both to get information out and raise money 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 42 Parties, Candidates and the Public's Influence Positive effects: Strengthen relationship between voters and representatives Newcomers can get quick recognition Candidates can respond to issues quickly Local interests more likely to be addressed. 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 43 Parties, Candidates and the Public's Influence Negative effects: Can weaken accountability and relationship between electorate and institutions Campaigns can turn into personality contests instead of being based on issues Can fall prey to interest groups End up as mud-slinging contests 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 44 ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course POL 1013.007 taught by Professor Calder during the Spring '08 term at Texas San Antonio.
- Spring '08