American 101

American 101 - 10/10 Two Parties in American Politics...

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Very Liberal 10% Moderate Liberal 42% Conservative 48% 10/10 Two Parties in American Politics American politics has almost always been two-party Why? o Institutional effects Single member plurality districts Other requirements Issue absorption Maurice Duverger noticed in the 1950’s Countries with single member plurality districts tend to have two or three parties winning seats in the national legislature Countries with proportional representation tend to have five, six, or more parties. Logic behind Duverger’s Law Party will lose Distribution Party Vote Share o Over time, this should erode support for the liberal Party Ballot access o Major Party candidates: Automatic – Don’t have to file every year. [Serious] o How do you get your name onto the ballot
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o o Varies strongly by state OTHER PROBLEMS FACING THIRD PARTIES Candidate’s quality Quality here = skill at winning Not wisdom Not having good ideas There are exceptions Campaigns and Election o The process looks like this 1. Setting the stage a. Legal context b. Times 2. People can choose whether to enter the race 3. Candidates starts fundraising 4. Formal campaigning starts 5. People deicide whether to vote 6. People decide who to vote for 7. We elect someone Plan of attack o Break this down generally o Some stuff is specific to congressional or presidential race Setting the stage Two important parts of context o Legal 1. Method of election 2. Defining electorate 3. Defining the election process 4. Financing laws
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o Times 1. Whir have things been like today? 2. Scandals? Economy? Who’s retiring? Method of Election o Several types of elections in the U.S. o Plurality SMD (Single member district) o Plurality MMD (Multi member district) o Run off SMD or MMD (down South) o Proportional representation o Various weirdo o All are biased (cant’ be) o Other Distinction partisan vs. non partisan elections o Non partisan only means that no part labels appears on the ballot o Candidates are still usually affiliated with a party Defining the Electorate o Classic question in American democracy: who can vote? o Historically: expansion electorate o By 1820’s-1830’s “universal manhood suffrage” o Almost all adult white men could vote o Later extended to non-Anglos, women (civil rights) o Who elects each individual person? o Gerrymandering (more later) o Also city laws, commerce Election Process o The election process itself is determines politically o How do you get on the ballot o In what order do names appear o Mechanism/process of voting 1. Why electronic voting machines 2. Language type size 3. Over voters and under voters Campaigning Finance o Generally: 1. Donations are limited
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2. Spending is not limited a. Unless tied to optional public financing b. Government cant tell you that you have to stop campaigning o Specifically: see LGS o State elections regulated by state laws o People with many do better o Or do people who will do better get more money
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American 101 - 10/10 Two Parties in American Politics...

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