Grigsby slides 9

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Grigsby slides 9

  1. 1. Chapter 9Comparative Politics II Interest Groups, Political Parties, and Elections
  2. 2. Interest Groups• Any collection of people trying to influence government• Nonpublicly accountable organizations that attempt to promote shared private interests by influencing public-policy outcomes
  3. 3. Interest Groups Differfrom Political Parties• Goals • Parties acquire power through elections • Interest groups focus on specific issues rarely represented in government• Nature of memberships • Parties seek broad support • Interest groups have a narrower membership• Numbers • Rarely more than 10-12 parties • No limit on number of interest groups
  4. 4. Who Belongs?• Pluralist view - Multiplicity of groups - Varied interests - Optimistic view• Elite view - Majority from middle- and upper-classes - Domination by business-related interests - No organization by lower classes
  5. 5. Interest Groupsand Government• Interest groups presuppose an existing government worth trying to influence.• As government grows, so do interest groups.• Some interest groups take on government functions (corporatism).• The bureaucracy has become one of the biggest and most powerful interest groups of all.
  6. 6. Big Money• The single most important factor in interest group success • Danger: “the best Congress money can buy.” • Corruption (public office for private gain)• Soft Money • Contributing to parties and interest groups not directly working for a candidate’s election campaign. • “If you don’t give, you get no access.”• U.S. campaigns lengthy and costly
  7. 7. Political Action Committees (PACs)• Set up specifically to contribute money to election campaigns• Originally an idea of labor unions• Biggest spending from business• Bulk of contributions to incumbents
  8. 8. Interest Group Strategies• Approaching lawmakers• Approaching the administration• Approaching the judiciary• Appeals to the public• Demonstrations• Violent protest “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” -- Black radical H. “Rap” Brown
  9. 9. Finding a Balance Good of all vs. Good of particular groups There must be no “particular wills” to muddy and distort the “general will,” that which the whole community wants. -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  10. 10. Political Partiesand Party Systems
  11. 11. Political Party• Group seeking to elect office- holders under a given label Exist in almost all present-day societies, democratic or not Weak in U.S.
  12. 12. Functionsof Parties• Bridge between people and government• Aggregation of interests• Integration into the political system• Political socialization• Mobilization of voters• Organization of government
  13. 13. Parties inDemocracies• Centralization • Degree of control exercised by national headquarters• Setting government policy • Executive must work with legislative• Party participation in government• Financing the party • Dependence on interest groups
  14. 14. ClassifyingParties• Left (liberal)• Center-left• Centrist• Center-right• Right (conservative)
  15. 15. Party Systems• One-party • Totalitarian• Dominant-party • Opposition parties free to run, but rarely win• Two-party• Multiparty• Two-plus party• Fluid (or inchoate) party • New and unstable democracies
  16. 16. Parties andElectoral Systems• Single-member election districts • Where a simple plurality wins – Tends to produce two-party or two-party plus systems Proportional representation – Use multimember districts and assign parliamentary seats in proportion to the percentage of votes in that district – Encourages parties to split
  17. 17. Types of PartyCompetition• Moderate pluralism • Center-seeking • Parties become moderate, aiming for large block of votes in center of political spectrum Polarized pluralism – Center-fleeing – Parties become extremist, ignoring voters in center – Can cause political unrest and civil war
  18. 18. Just because you dont take an interest in politics,doesnt mean politics wont take an interest in you! Pericles - 430 BC (BCE)"Regarding Government:We call for the abolition of damn near everything; We call for drastic reductions in whats left;And we refuse to pay for any of it!" Platform synopsis by David Nolan, LP Co-founder
  19. 19. Elections
  20. 20. ElectoralSystems• Single-Member Districts • Electoral system that elects one person per district • “First past the post” – FPTP • Supports two-party system • Advantages • Inhibits the growth of extremism • Gives clear parliamentary majority to one party • Majoritarian system • Disadvantages • Losing parties get no representation
  21. 21. ElectoralSystems• Proportional Representation • Electoral systems based on multimember districts • Representatives elected by party’s percent of vote • Advantages • Legislature accurately reflects public opinion and party strength • Disadvantages • Often lead to multiparty systems • Greater instability than two-party system
  22. 22. Voter Turnout• Percent of those eligible who vote • U.S. peak in 1960 – 63% • Sweden, Germany, Italy – 90% U.S. turnout low historically Lower in U.S. than in other democracies
  23. 23. U.S. Nonvoting:The Debate• Low electoral participation means that many Americans are turning away from the political system.• Or, the decline may mean that Americans are basically satisfied with the system.
  24. 24. How DoPeople Vote?• Long-term variables • Party identification • Tendency to associate mentally with one party over may years • Easier to vote along party lines • Important element in electoral stability• Short-term variables • Cause a person to vote one way for one election, but not four years later. • “Morality factor” awakened by Watergate scandal • Economic conditions
  25. 25. ElectoralAlignment• Realignment • Major, long- term shift in party ID. Dealignment – Major, long-term decline in party ID
  26. 26. What WinsElections?• Modern elections • Rational choice manipulated by factors of personality and the mass media • “Keep it general, keep it happy, don’t mention parties, and smile a lot.”• Charisma• Retrospective voting• Candidate strategies
  27. 27. “Democracy: Thesubstitution of election bythe incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” -- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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