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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Political Participation I. Introduction What makes Americas political party system unique? There is a dominant two party system, weak political parties, which deals with single- member districts which creates a disincentive if you are a third party, third parties do exist but are not as popular because they focus on one issue, such as the free soil party which opposed slavery and westward expansion, once those issues are addressed the major parties take a stance on that issue which kills the third parties, the only third party to ever sucessfully survive is the Republican party in the 1880s, both major parties tend to appeal to the mainstream and majority, both parties support policies like civil liberties and social security II. Party System & Partisan Changes over time A. Some Concepts: Realignment-the transition period from one period to the next between politcal parties B. Party Systems Jackson- insulates himself politcally by giving out jobs, got a huge turnout for voting, sought to limit the national government (Democrats vs. Whigs in Era of Good Feelings) New Deal (Democrats vs. Republicans) with Democratic rule- class-based alignment with parties where Democrats reach out to the poorer and underpriveleged, while the Republicans align with the wealthier class, due to the division between the northern and southern democrats, the rule was changed that a presidential nominee only needed a majority consensus (used to be 2/3) big change in 1932 Divided Government- people are split on various social issues going on at the time, and there is a shift from democrats to republicans on particular issues, there is a lot of split- ticket voting, and voteres will begin to choose leaders from both parties based on their individual issues, there are a variety of issues that shift peoples opinions, like the Vietnam War, MLKs assassination, and the election of Richard M. Nixon. From 1968- 2004, democrats have lost 7/10 elections, but from 1954-1994 the Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives III. Pros and Cons of Political Parties: What do they do? Cons: shortcomings to targeting the medium voter, and not as widespread of opinions, it creates a policy that conservative presidents may create liberal policies, they are only to win elections and there is less concern of the public good, and if parties are too powerful than it may go to the side of dictatorship, sometimes parties simply avoid issues like in the 19 th century with the issue of slavery, and it is hard to lay blame on somebody with such a divided and separated government Pros: it gives people an idea of some of the issues happening in the country, get more done with more people and easier to organize across the country, gives people an outlet to express their political views and mobilize voters, would be difficult to organize democracy without parties, identify social problems, synthesize publics demand for public policies Culture War I. Is there a culture war?Is there a culture war?...
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