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Chapter 8 outline_Political Candidates and Campaigns

Chapter 8 outline_Political Candidates and Campaigns -...

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Chapter 8 outline Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns: Defining the Voters' Choice The political party is the one institution that aims to develop broad policy and leadership choices and then presents them to the voting public to accept or reject. This process gives citizens the opportunity, through elections, to influence how they will be governed. 1. Party Competition and Majority Rule: The History of U.S. Parties Party competition in America takes place between the Democratic and Republican parties. Competition between these two major parties narrows the choices of options to two and in the process enables people with different opinions to render a common judgment. In electing a party, voters choose its candidates, its philosophy and its policies over those of the opposing party. 1. The first parties in America originated from the rivalry between those who favored a strong national government that defended commercial interests (Federalists) and the supporters of states' rights and small landholders (Jeffersonian Republicans). 2. Emergence of grass-roots political parties during the Jacksonian era strengthened the power of popular majorities. 3. Dissention over the issue of slavery, resulting in the Civil War, ended nearly three decades of competition between the Whigs and the Democrats. 4. After the Civil War, the nation settled into a pattern of competition between the Republican and Democratic parties that has prevailed ever since. Durability of the two parties is due not to their ideological consistency but to their remarkable ability to adapt during periods of crisis and remake themselves with new bases of support, new policies and new public philosophies. The post Civil War era brought political change to parties known as "realignment." A party realignment disrupts the existing political order because a significant proportion of voters favored one party over the other. Realignment results in an enduring change in party coalitions that forces the government to take new policy directions.
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1. The Civil War realignment benefited the Republican Party, which became the dominant party in the larger and more populous North. It dominated national politics for the next thirty years. The Democratic Party developed its stronghold in the "Solid South." 2. From 1896 until the 1930s, the Republicans dominated national government. 3. The parties realigned again after the Great Depression of the 1930s. Democrats became the nation's majority party until 1972, and their political and policy agenda favored a significant social and economic role for the national government. It was during this period that the Democratic party became known as the party of the common people, of jobs and social security, while the Republican party became associated with business and wealthy interests.
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