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Introduction to American Government. Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT

Introduction to American Government. Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT

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9 political parties 2 classes 9 political parties 2 classes Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter 9: Political Parties
  • What Is a Political Party? • Groups seeking to elect candidates, operate government, determine laws. 2
  • How are parties different from interest groups? IG‟s do not operate government, just influence it. Don‟t select political candidates, but support them. Focus on single issues.
  • Three Components of Political Parties
  • Functions of Political Parties Recruit, organize candidates Mobilize citizens to participate Simplify alternatives Provide opposition to party in power Peaceful transfers of power
  • Two Party, Minor Party, Multi-Party Systems America: Dominant two party system Republican and Democratic Parties
  • U.S. Minor (or third) Parties Personality led minor parties: don‟t last long Joseph Smith, Independent candidate, (1844) Theodore Roosevelt Progressive Bull Moose Party (1912) Ross Perot‟s Reform Party (1992)
  • Ideologically driven: last long Prohibition Party Libertarian Party Right to Life Party Green Party Natural Law party Socialist and communist parties
  • Third Party Influence  Never won presidency  Won: handful of congressional seats Two governorships Jesse Ventura, Reform Party, MN Lowell Weicker, Independent Party, CT  Senator Lieberman‟s Connecticut for Lieberman Party (2008)
  • Influence On Other Candidates  Perot, H.W. Bush, Clinton (1992) Perot won 20% of popular vote (19 million votes)
  • 2000 Presidential Race Ralph Nader (Green Party) George Bush (Republican) Al Gore (Democrat) Gore lost FL by few hundred votes Thousands vote for Nader
  • Third parties think Republicans and Democrats barely different
  • Most Other Countries Multiparty systems (Israel, Italy). Coalition governments needed to govern
  • The Voters
  • How Did You Choose? PARTY IDENTIFICATION Usually determined from childhood Your party affiliation? Who influenced that decision?
  • PARTISAN REALIGNMENT AND DEALIGNMENT Realignment “New and stable pattern of partisan loyalties” Caused by Critical elections Last Electoral Realignment o Great Depression (1932) o Republicans mishandled crisis o Non-traditional coalitions form for Democrats: · Black Americans · Organized labor · Southern Democrats · Working class, Catholic voters
  • Possible Realignment? 1980s Reagan Wins Two Terms 1994 Republican Takeover of Congress Bush Wins Two Terms Was this a realignment?
  • Two kinds of realignments Major party defeated, disappears, new one emerges Both parties continue, voters shift loyalty De-alignment Rejection of both parties; rise of independents
  • Parties In Government
  • Party Platforms Gun control Welfare Affirmative action Taxes Crime International relations Homeland security / war on terror Abortion School choice Marriage
  • The Formative Years: Federalists and Anti Federalists
  •  Parties not in new Constitution  Non-existent in GW‟s first election Formed between GW‟s 2nd and TJ‟s 1st term  Hamilton: Federalists, Jefferson Democratic-Republicans  America‟s First two-party system  Both wanted control of presidency, congress, states
  • Quarrel Between Federalist and Democratic Republican in Congress
  • Washington vs. Scholars  President Washington: Upset at party formation Farewell address: “nation would suffer by „…effects of party‟”  Scholars: Founding parties stabilized democracy Parties necessary institution Who is right?
  • Creation of Republican Party Federalist Party collapses (1816) Era of Good Feelings (1816-1830) Only Democratic-Republicans existed Competition between individuals, not parties.
  • Period of national purpose… desired unity Lull in partisan disputes James Monroe worked to eliminate parties altogether
  •  National 2 Party Rule: Whigs and Democrats (1830s & 1840s)  Whig Party disintegrates (1856)  Anti-slavery parties form, strongest is Republican Party. Northern Whigs join Republicans.  Democratic-Republican Party: pro-slavery party
  • National Conventions 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver; 2008 Republican National Convention, Minneapolis.
  •  Place where candidates are nominated  Composed of state delegates  State population and party support determine state‟s delegate numbers  Caucus or state primaries determine who delegate‟s are
  • 1976 RNC Convention, Kansas City Ford prevails over Reagan, 1,187 to 1070 1976 Reagan Speech at RNC Convention
  • 2012 Republican Primary Delegate Count
  • Modern Changes Primary Contests Primary contests select most delegates Candidate known before convention Lack of suspense -- declining viewership Coverage by major networks reduced Suggestions to do away with convention
  • Television Made conventions tightly scripted Each party presents best possible light Demonstrate united front Parties now avoid hashing out differences
  • Conventions Still Fulfill Important Functions Draft Party Platform Parties mature and grow Caucuses, receptions, breakfasts, etc… Energize activists Ticket emerges with poll bounce
  • 2008 DNC and RNC National Conventions RNC 2008 Convention DNC 2008 Convention
  • Manipulating the Votes of Voters: Gerrymandering Mapping districts for advantages Named for Elbridge Gerry, former MA governor… Designed district coincidently shaped like salamander Every 10 years states redistrict Party in power controls process Districts must be equal in population
  • Divided Government
  • One party wins presidency, other wins majority in one or both houses of Congress
  • Benefits Government works better Reason: Each party has opportunity to block most divisive measures proposed by other party Evidence: Four Points
  • Rate of growth of federal spending usually lower  Probability that major reform will last usually higher Liberties more insulated Prospect of major war is less
  • Probability that major reform will last: Reagan‟s tax laws largely survived Exception: Great Society programs (1960s)
  • Four wars in 20th century initiated by Democratic President and Congress   Iraq War initiated by Republican President and Republican Congress
  • Only long period of unusual fiscal expansion: Kennedy/Johnson Administration One party control in D.C. Brought Great Society & Vietnam War
  • Questions  What does it mean: Parties are a necessary evil?  Are teachers biased toward political parties? "We are slow to change our minds about things that matter to us or shift our loyalties." Do we ever?