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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 9
POLITICAL PARTIES 1 The Role of Political Parties in a The Democracy Democracy
s What are political parties? What political
– They recruit and run candidates for public office under the They recruit party label. party – They try to organize and coordinate the activities of They government officials under the party name. government s Many political scientists believe that parties are Many essential to democracy. essential
– The political party is seen by some as the main instrument of The political popular sovereignty and majority rule. popular – When political parties are working properly, they can be When essential tools of popular sovereignty. essential
2 How Parties and Majority Rule How Parties Majority Are Related Are
s s s s s Parties’ mobilizing activities can contribute to democracy by educating or simply politicizing people about politics. educating Elections create an incentive to include as many voters as possible, Elections with a majority being the optimal goal. with Parties try to broaden their appeal by running candidates from Parties many ethnic, racial, and religious groups. many Parties provide a way for the people to keep elected officials Parties responsive and responsible through competitive elections. responsive Parties can make majority preferences effective. 3 The Two-party System
s s s s Most nations have either one-party systems or Most one-party multiparty systems. multiparty Most Western democracies have multiparty Most Western systems. systems. Two parties have dominated the political scene in the United States since 1836. the Democrats and Republicans have controlled the Republicans presidency and Congress since 1860. presidency
4 History of the Two Party System
s s The first party system: Federalists versus Democratic The Federalists Republicans. Republicans Parties were created almost immediately, even though Parties the Founders were hostile to them in theory. the
– The Federalists became tainted by certain actions, The Federalists beginning with the Alien and Sedition Acts enacted to Alien repress dissent and opposition to Federalist policies. repress – The two-party system evolved into a one-party or no-party The two-party system by 1816, generally known as the Era of Good system Feelings. Feelings
5 Democrats Versus Whigs and the Democrats Westward Movement Westward
s The second party system: Democrats versus Whigs The Democrats Whigs
– A strong two-party system developed in the 1830s between strong two-party the Democrats (formerly the Democratic Republicans) and Democrats Democratic and theWhigs. the – The Democrats and Whigs were very different parties from The Democrats ere those in the first party system, brought about by a significant democratization of American life. democratization – The Civil War split the parties: the northern and southern The Civil wings of each party mirrored the split in the nation. wings 6 Republicans Versus Democrats Republicans and the Post-Civil War Period and
s From the Civil War to 1896: Republicans From Republicans and Democrats in balance in
– Following Reconstruction, Republicans and Following Reconstruction Democrats were somewhat balanced in national politics. politics. – Each party had a strong regional flavor 7 The Party System of 1896: The Republican Party Dominance Republican
– The late nineteenth century was a time of rapid economic The and social change; protest movements and third parties protest third developed. developed. – Republicans dominated American politics from the 1896 election until the election of 1932. election – After 1896, the rate of voter participation dropped sharply After and never fully recovered. and – The states of the deep South used intimidation and laws to The remove blacks from the electorate, eliminating the Republican Party as a factor in southern politics. Republican
8 The New Deal System: The Democratic Party Dominance Democratic
The New Deal party system grew out of the The New crisis of the Great Depression and favorable public reactions to government efforts to deal with the economic collapse. collapse. The party system underwent a realignment The party (1932-1936) from Republican to (1932-1936) Democratic dominance. 9 Democratic The Sixth Party System: Dealignment The and Divided Party Government and
The electoral coalition that formed the basis of The the New Deal party system began to seriously New deteriorate in 1968 and finally collapsed in 1994. 1994. Other changes starting in 1968 suggest the Other formation of a sixth party system stretching from 1968 to at least 1994. from
s s s Realignment means that a new party system has taken the place of the old because of a fundamental shift in the types of groups that support the parties. shift Realignments seem to be triggered by the transformation of structural factors. factors. Realignments occur when the old party system is unable to accommodate or solve problems that develop during rapid social, economic, and cultural changes. changes.
s s Some prefer the term dealignment to describe the Some dealignment increasing tendency of Americans not to claim any party identification at all. party Dealignment may be thought of as a transformation in the party system in which a previously dominant party loses preeminence but no new party takes its place. no 12 Why a Two-party System?
s Why does the United States have a two-party Why system when most Western democracies system have multiparty systems? have
– – – – Electoral rules Restrictions on minor parties Attitudes of the American public The absence of a strong labor movement 13 The Place of Minor Parties in the The Two-party System Two-party
s Minor parties have played a less-important role in the United States than in virtually any other democratic nation. any s In our entire history, only the Republican In Party has managed to replace one of the Party major parties. major
14 Minor Parties
s Types of minor parties: – Protest parties – Ideological parties – Single-issue parties – Splinter parties 15 The Politics of Minor Parties
s The role of minor parties: The minor
– Minor parties may articulate and popularize new ideas that are eventually taken over by one or both major parties. are – Minor parties may allow people with grievances to express themselves in a way that is not possible within the major parties. major – Because minor parties are not likely to win national Because elections, they are usually not as cautious as the major parties. parties. 16 The Parties as Organizations
s In most democratic countries, parties are fairly In well-structured organizations. well-structured
– Led by party professionals – Committed to a set of policies and principles. s They tend to have clearly defined membership They requirements, centralized control over nominations and financing, and discipline over party members who hold political office. party
17 Some Primary Characteristics of Some American Parties American
s The ambiguous nature of American parties
– American parties are composed of many diverse American and independent groups and individuals. and – Presidents cannot automatically count on the Presidents support of their own party. support – Vagueness of party membership – Decentralized organization of the two major parties Decentralized organization 18 The Primacy of Candidates
s American politics is candidate-centered American candidate-centered
– Candidates have independent sources of campaign Candidates financing, their own campaign organizations, and their own campaign themes and priorities. campaign – The party can do very little about nominees who oppose The party leaders and reject national party platforms and policies. policies. – Candidates are now almost exclusively nominated in Candidates primaries or grass roots caucuses, where the party organizations have little influence. organizations
19 Parties in Europe Versus Parties Parties in the United States in
s Contrast with politics in European countries
– People in most European countries vote for parties People rather than for individual candidates. rather – Independent candidates cannot force themselves on Independent the party through primaries or caucuses. the – In countries like Germany, the campaign is waged In between parties and their alternative programs, not between individual candidates. between 20 Party Goals Party
s Parties want to win elections, but each Parties component of the highly decentralized and decentralized fragmented party organizations tends to have its fragmented own goals. own s Party activists — the people who do the most Party important organizational work of the parties, such as fund-raising and serving as delegates to party conventions party
21 Party Adherents
s Party officeholders — above all, they want to retain their positions or attain higher office. office. s Party voters — reflect a diversity of views and goals. and s Party financial contributors — diverse in their goals. their
22 Ideology and Program
s s s An ideology is an organized set of beliefs about the An ideology fundamental nature of the good society and the role government ought to play in achieving it. government The Republican and Democratic parties are both broad The coalitions, seeking to attract as many individuals and groups as possible. groups There are strong pressures on the parties to be There ideologically ambiguous in order to win in winnerwinnertake-all, single-member-district elections.
23 Characteristics of Parties
s s s Each party has a core of supporters who are more Each ideologically oriented than the general public. ideologically The party system is less ideologically focused The compared to parties in other democratic countries, but still with significant differences between them. still The evidence indicates that the differences between The Democrats and Republicans are real, important, and enduring, and that the differences are becoming more distinctive. distinctive.
24 How Are the Parties Different?
s In the perceptions of the electorate. s In terms of who supports them. s In their political platforms. s In the positions taken by party activists. s In the policy decisions of In elected representatives. representatives.
25 Are the parties becoming more Are ideological? ideological?
s The Republican Party became more The Republican consistently conservative after the midconsistently 1970s. s The Democratic Party is less ideologically The Democratic coherent than the Republican Party. Republican 26 The Parties in Government
s The parties in government refers to government The officials who have been elected under the party’s label. label.
– To avoid tyrannical government, the Founders designed a To system of government in which power is so fragmented and competitive that effectiveness is unlikely. and – One of the roles that political parties play is to persuade One officials in the different branches to cooperate with one another on the basis of party loyalty. another 27 Divided Party Government
s s Divided party government occurs when the executive and legislative branches are held by opposing political parties. parties. Long-term party division between the presidency and Long-term Congress exaggerates the problems caused by the constitutional separation of powers. separation
– Divided government adds to the gridlock and paralysis that gridlock are built into the constitutional design of our system of government. government. – Divided party control can give rise to a state of perpetual conflict between the two branches. conflict
28 Parties in the Electorate
s Parties in the electorate refers to individuals who are supporters of the party. individuals s Partisanship is declining among the American electorate. American s Americans are less inclined to identify with Americans either of the parties than they were in the past. past.
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