pols 1 - I The Logic of American Politics Why do we need a...

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The Logic of American Politics 1. Why do we need a government? 1. Anarchy = no formal rules or rulers 1. Most likely outcome is violence 2. Example: Iraq 2. Government = rulers and rules 1. Kings and queens, emperors, etc. 1. Power comes from the Divine Right 2. Elected officials – power from the masses 3. Outcomes: countries with formal rules and rulers tend to have more internal peace and better economics 3. Why government? 1. Choices are the heart of American politics 1. Example: How do we allocate scarce goods across a large population? 2. Choices breed conflict 1. Conflicting interests: social security, medical research, better roads, free education 2. Conflicting values: abortion, gay marriages 3. Conflicting ideas about allocating resources 4. James Madison talks about factions 1. Different groups with different preferences 1. Cross cutting – heterogeneous (overlap of ideas on issues) 2. Reinforcing – homogeneous 2. Americans’ preferences are reinforcing 1. Democrats want one thing on many issues and Republicans want another 2. Outcome is political polarization 1. Outcome of polarization: rich getting richer and poor getting poorer 1. Republican = rich 2. Democrats = poor 5. Politics are is how people attempt to manage such conflict 1. The process through which individual and groups reach agreement in a course of common or collective action – even as they continue to disagree on the goals that action is intended to achieve. 2. Successful politics almost always requires bargaining and compromise 1. Example: no compromise on immigration policy 3. The more people involved in the political process, and as the issues become more complex and divisive, unstructured negotiation generally fails. 4. We need effective political institutions (rules, procedures, judicial systems, congress) 5.
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