class02 - Why Parties? April 2, 2007 Today Review of...

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Unformatted text preview: Why Parties? April 2, 2007 Today Review of Thursday Basic theory behind parties Problem of ambition Problem of social choice Problem of collective action Formation of the first parties Today Review of Thursday Basic theory behind parties Problem of ambition Problem of social choice Problem of collective action Formation of the first parties Parties Are ... A party is a group organized to nominate candidates, to try to win political power through elections, and to promote ideas about public policies. Mutually Reenforcing PAO PIG PIE Today Review of Thursday Basic theory behind parties Problem of ambition Problem of social choice Problem of collective action Formation of the first parties Aldrich's Parties A party is a "team seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election" (Downs 1957). I ncludes party as organization and party in government Excludes party in the electorate Mutually Reenforcing PAO PIG PIE Basic Argument Parties are endogenous institutions. Parties are a means to an end. Parties are created and shaped by politicians to solve particular problems in particular contexts. Party Influences Ambitious politicians Want (a) to hold office, (b) to be important, and (c) to influence policy Governing institutions How people attain office and what they can do (i.e., powers) once in office Historical setting Technology Normative understanding What has happened before (path dependence) Party Influences Politicians Governing I nstitutions Historical Setting Parties Party Influences Politicians Politicians Governing I nstitutions Historical Setting Time 1 Parties Governing I nstitutions Historical Setting Time 2 Parties Three Problems Ambition How to regulate access to public office in order to manage competition for office? Social choice How to aggregate diverse opinions into a single, durable decision? Collective action How to mobilize large enough majorities to win office or win a policy vote when it is not rational for supporters to do so? So Why Parties? Parties are institutions. They are durable solutions to the three problems. Parties help people win elections. I n a two-party system, parties help mobilize majorities (pluralities). Parties help people win more, and more often, than the alternatives. Today Review of Thursday Basic theory behind parties Problem of ambition Problem of social choice Problem of collective action Formation of the first parties The U.S. Path PAO PIG PIE Why PIG? Social choice problem How to aggregate diverse opinions into a single, durable decision? Why PIG? Social choice problem How to aggregate diverse opinions into a single, durable decision? A stylized example #1 #2 #3 Now in 2D L1 P1 P2 L2 P3 L3 Now in 2D L1 Status quo policy L2 L3 Now in 2D L1 New policy proposal #1 L2 L3 Now in 2D L1 New policy proposal #1 L2 L3 Now in 2D L1 New status quo L2 L3 Now in 2D L1 New policy proposal #2 L2 L3 Now in 2D L1 New policy proposal #3 L2 L3 What Were the Dimensions? Great Principle How strong and active will the new federal government be? M ain policies: National bank, debt assumption Sectional interests State interests I ndustry vs. agrarian Pro-French vs. Pro-British Other, policy-specific coalitions So Why Parties? To avoid cycling on important issues, needed to collapse everything to one dimension -- the great principle. Leaders (Hamilton then M adison and Jefferson) organized supporters on that issue. Party Polarization Polarization on Dimension Congress 1st 2nd 3rd 1 (GP) 0.927 1.151 1.772 2 0.745 0.178 0.556 3 0.938 0.200 0.038 What about PAO and PIE? Van Buren (and Jackson) realized he needed popular support to win office -- so organized the first mass parties. 1828-1832 Possible because ... Parties existed in Congress (legitimating them) Franchise was extended in the states PI E, then, flows from the actions of the first two. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course POL 160 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '07 term at UC Davis.

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