• political party – a group of office holders, candidates, activists, and voters who identify with a group label and seek to elect to public office individuals who run under that label.• interest group – an organized group that tries to influence public policy
The Birth of American Political Parties• George Washington was unifying, no parties• Adams (Federalist) versus Jefferson (Anti-Federalists)• Federalists versus “Democratic- Republicans”
The Early Parties Fade (1824)• Democratic-Republicans become Democrats (Jackson)• Whigs (Henry Clay) become Republicans (Lincoln)
Democrats and Republicans: The Golden Age (1874-1912)• Two parties stable and dominant• political machine – a party organization that recruits voter loyalty with tangible incentives and is characterized by a high degree of control over member activity• Parties provided social services and entertainment to immigrants in urban areas, generating intense loyalty
The Modern Era• Government has assumed party functions of printing ballots, conducting elections and providing social welfare services• direct primary – the selection of party candidates through the ballots of qualified voters rather than at party nominating conventions• civil service laws – these acts removed the staffing of the bureaucracy from political parties and created a professional bureaucracy filled through competition
The Modern Era• issue-oriented politics – politics that focus on specific issues rather than on party, candidate, or other loyalties• ticket-split – to vote for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election• candidate-centered politics – politics that focus directly on the candidates, their particular issues, and character, rather than on party affiliation.
Realignment• party realignment – a shifting of party coalition groupings in the electorate that remains in place for several elections• critical election – an election that signals a party realignment through voter polarization around new issues
Three significant critical elections in U.S. history• Jefferson, Democratic-Republican, 1800, reaction against Federalists• Lincoln, Republican, 1860, slavery• Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat, 1932, depression
Secular Realignment• secular realignment – the gradual rearrangement of party coalitions, based more on demographic shifts than on shocks to the political system.• dealignment – a general decline in party identification and loyalty in the electorate – Fewer voters willing to profess party choice – Parties provide way to address irreconcilable differences
What Do Parties Do?• Mobilizing Support and Gathering Power – Leaders can mobilize support for policies – http://www.democrats.org/ – http://www.gop.com/• A Force for Stability and Moderation – Can bring together opposing groups • New Deal (African Americans & southern whites)• Unity, Linkage and Accountability – Individual liberty versus timely action
What Do Parties Do?• The Electioneering Function – Provide candidates – Balanced competition – Fundraising for campaigns – Media divisions, volunteers
What Do Parties Do?• Party as a Voting and Issue Cue – Benefits least informed and least interested voters• Policy Formulation and Promotion – national party platform – a statement of the general and specific philosophy and policy goals of a political party, usually promulgated at the national convention
What Do Parties Do?• Legislative Organization – Parties organize and operate Congress – Parties today are more unified in Congress
Crashing the Party: Minor Parties in the American Two-Party System• Tend to organize around neglected issues• Usually absorbed into one or the other major party
The Party Organization• National Committees – RNC and DNC (presidential campaigns) – Congressional campaign committees• Leadership – Chairman serves as spokesperson for party
The Party Organization• National Conventions – national convention – a party meeting held in the presidential election year for the purposes of nominating a presidential and vice presidential ticket and adopting a platform.• States and Localities – Most party structure is based in states and localities
Sources of Party Identification• party identification – a citizen’s personal affinity for a political party, usually expressed by a tendency to vote for the candidates of that party
Party Identification• Group Affiliations – Gender, race and ethnicity, age, occupation, religion • Women, African-Americans, Hispanics more Democratic • Old/young favor Democrats, middle Republicans • Executives, professionals, white-collar Republican; trial lawyers, educators, blue-collar Democrat • Democratic support drops with rise in income • White protestants Republican; Catholics/Jews Democrat
Interest Group Formation• social capital – the myriad relationships that individuals enjoy that facilitate the resolution of community problems through collective action.
What Do Interest Groups Do?• What Do Interest Groups Do? – Lobbying • lobbying – the activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group’s position • lobbyist – interest group representative who seeks to influence legislation that will benefit his or her organization or client through political persuasion
What Do Interest Groups Do? • Lobbying Congress – congressional testimony, letters, contributions, payments • Lobbying the Executive Branch – information, public opinion • Lobbying the Courts – sponsorship, amicus curiae briefs • Grassroots Lobbying – mobilize individuals to contact their representatives • Protests and Radical Activism – visible events, media attention
What Do Interest Groups Do?Election Activities • Candidate Recruitment and Endorsements – recruit, endorse and support candidates • Getting Out the Vote – get voters to the polls, education, registration • Rating the Candidates or Office Holders – candidate report cards • Political Action Committees – political action committee (PAC) – Federally mandated, officially registered fund-raising committee that represents interest groups in the political process.
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