Political parties


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Political parties

  1. 1. Intermediary Organizations GovernmentIntermediary Organizations Citizens/ the Public
  2. 2. Intermediary Organizations  Connect government and citizens  Several concerns with intermediary organizations  Accuracy of message transmission  Interest aggregation versus interest articulation  Direction of flow (of influence)  Who benefits?
  3. 3. Why Do Political Parties Form? Political parties seek to control the government by electing their members to office and thus by controlling the personnel of government. Political parties perform multiple functions to accomplish these aims.
  4. 4. Functions of Political Parties  Elections
  5. 5. Functions of Political Parties  Elections  Representation  Interest Aggregation  Finding a way to create ordered, clear positions from all the different opinions people hold.  Take public opinion and create a platform for advocacy.  What interests have Democrats come to represent? What interests have Republicans come to represent? Do all Democrats have the exact same opinions as the party platform? Republicans?
  6. 6. Functions of Political Parties  Elections  Representation  Interest Aggregation  Integration of New Concerns (click on links)  When the power of human cloning and stems cells explode in the scientific community in the early 1990s, the political parties do not have clear positions.  Republican platform has staked out an anti- embryonic stem cell research position to co-inside with their pro- life position  Stem cell research 2006 under Republican control  Despite integration, conflict within parties can continue to exist. See above clip.
  7. 7. Functions of Political Parties  Elections  Representation  Interest Aggregation  Integration of New Concerns  Political Socialization and Recruitment  Helping citizens understand and engage the political system  Recruiting members for office and other work in politics.
  8. 8. Third parties tend to compete (if weakly) against the two major parties in America, as they did in 2004. On occasion, third-party candidates can have a great deal of influence over ideas and electoral outcomes.
  9. 9. Periods of social flux, economic crisis, and uncertainty that the two main parties fail to address tend to produce a proliferation of third parties.
  10. 10. The Emergence of Third Parties, 1790s-1990s 0 5 10 15 20 25 1790-1800s 1810-1820s 1830-1840s 1850-1860s 1870-1880s 1890-1900s 1910-1920s 1930-1940s 1950-1960s 1970-1980s 1990s Era Number Source: Data from Immanuel Ness and James Ciment, eds., The Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000). See especially Table of Contents and Introduction, pp. xx- xxi. Data tabulated by author. Note: Indicates number of major third parties that emerged in each decade.
  11. 11. Although many movements have produced third parties throughout American history, third parties tend to be short-lived because  one of the two major parties adopts their issues;  the single-member plurality electoral system limits their opportunities for electoral success;  the periods of flux, the crises, and the uncertainties that produce them subside or are addressed by public policies.
  12. 12. Party Competition The notion that parties are “teams” that “market” their brand names to consumers in the electorate leads us to consider how Democrats and Republicans compete to control the government.
  13. 13. :  Most Americans are moderate  Party positions drive to the center to capture the MEDIAN VOTER In An Economic Theory of Democracy, Anthony Downs set forth a theory of party competition: MEDIAN VOTER THEROEM
  14. 14. Important institutional factors do encourage parties to sharpen rather than blur their differences.  Ideological appeals are more effective than moderation when it comes to fundraising and attracting campaign labor.  Competing in primary elections means that candidates must appeal not just to the median voter but also to the party base in order to win.
  15. 15.  The two parties must offer the public a meaningful choice.  The public must make an informed choice in an election.  The winning party must implement its program in government.  The voters decide in the succeeding election whether to reward or punish the party based on its performance. Responsible Party Theory
  16. 16. Party Decline According to political scientist V.O. Key, there are three key aspects of political parties:  party-in-the-electorate  party-as-organization  party-in-government
  17. 17. Party-in-the-electorate refers to voters’ attachments to and identifications with political parties.
  18. 18. To measure the party-in-the-electorate, political science surveys have developed a continuum of party identification based on the question, “Generally speaking, do you consider yourself a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or what?” Party identification has changed significantly over time and varies by demographic groups.
  19. 19. 2008 Gallup poll
  20. 20.  2008-2010
  21. 21. Party identifications (Democrat, Independent, Republican) serve as the “standing decisions” for voters that are not easily changed.  Voter attachments to parties has declined in the second half of the 20th century as the number of Independents has increased.  Party identifiers are less likely to vote a straight party ticket than in the past; they are more likely to reconsider their “standing decision.”
  22. 22. Party-as-organization refers to the formal party organizations and processes and to those aspects of political parties that assist and direct candidates seeking to win office in elections.
  23. 23. For much of the 20th century, party-as-organization declined.  Early in the 20th century, parties lost control over the nomination of candidates as the “direct primary” turned control of nominations over to voters.  Throughout the century, parties became less active and effective in running campaigns and mobilizing voters as individual candidates’ campaigns became primarily responsible for these activities.
  24. 24. Party-in-government refers to the ability of parties to structure and control the government.
  25. 25. In America, party-in-government tends to be weak compared to that of other similar democracies.  Divided Government  Party defecting in Congress
  26. 26. Party Resurgence In the last decades of the 20th century, there was a resurgence of partisanship in the United States, both in terms of party-as-organization and party-in- government. Resurgence of Party-as-Organization  Party organizations have stepped up the campaign and fundraising services they offer their candidates.  Party organizations provide their candidates with a party image or “brand name” on which they can run.
  27. 27. Resurgence of Party-in-Government  Partisanship in Congress has been on the rise since the 1980s.  Party politicians are more likely to view themselves as part of a party “team” than they have in the past.  Does the current government seem highly partisan or is it really “post-partisan”?