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Unformatted text preview: Political Parties Chapter 7 Your goals Define: political party; party coalition; realignment *Describe three features of American government that contribute to a two-party system *Describe three barriers to the success of third parties in the U.S. Your goals Definitions * Political party = an ongoing coalition of diverse interests joined together to elect candidates under a common label *Parties have three components *Citizens who identify with the party *Office holders *Professional managers * Party coalition = the collection of groups and interests that support a political party Parties serve as: A linkage between the people and government *A general guideline for voters on candidates and issues *A mechanism for organizing government Why a Two-Party System? Institutional Features Of the American Government that Contribute to a Two-Party System 1. Representation in Congress * Members of Congress are chosen through plurality voting in single member districts * States are divided into congressional districts * One person is elected from each district by getting a majority of votes cast ( winner-take-all ) Is there an alternative? *Compare with proportional representation * Electoral districts are large and a number of representatives represent the district *Seats in legislature allocated according to a party’s share of the popular vote *Proportional representation allows for minor parties to have a voice in government 2. The Unitary Executive * Unitary executive : Only one person can be President, the office that holds all executive power in the U.S. *In order to become President, a candidate must get a majority of electoral votes *Another example of “winner-take-all” Is there an alternative? *Consider the executive in a parliamentary system *The leader of the majority party becomes the prime minister, who then appoints other ministers to the Cabinet *The PM and Cabinet are a “plural executive” *The PM can appoint minority parties members to the Cabinet *This is a necessity if there is a need to form a coalition government Example: Germany 2005: * http://www.german- embassy.org.uk/elections_and_political_partie.html * http://www.german- embassy.org.uk/angela_merkel_to_lead_new_coal.html 3. Historical Circumstances *The nation was initially divided into two political camps: those in favor of the Constitution, those opposed to the Constitution *Issues related to the Constitution carry over to politics under the new government *Example:...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2008 for the course PS 1010 taught by Professor Yahrmatter during the Fall '08 term at Wayne State University.
- Fall '08