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    Political parties Political parties Presentation Transcript

    • Mini Unit! Political Behavior: Political Parties, Voting & Voter Behavior, The Electoral Process, Mass Media & Public Opinion, Special Interest Groups
    • Parties and what they do: • Political Parties – Group of people – Broad common interests – Organize to: • Win elections • Control the gov’t • Influence gov’t policies • Two major parties in the United States. – Republican and Democrat
    • How many parties? • One-party system – Authoritarian governments – Gain control through….? – Examples? – Theocracy – religious control • Multi-party system – France has 5, Italy has over 10 – Widely differing ideologies – CoalitionsCoalitions usually formed
    • Why do we have a two-party system? Historical Explanations… • People weren’t all ‘bout it, ‘bout it. – George Washington warned against, “baneful effects of the spirit of party.” – James Madison, “the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and…. Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”
    • Historical Explanations cont. • Ratification produced the first ones – ??? – Then you had Federalists (strong central gov’t) and now Democratic Republicans (strong state gov’ts). • The force of tradition – Simply accept it b/c that’s the way it has been.
    • Can third parties really compete? • The Electoral System – Single-member districts – Ballot obstacles – Financial troubles – USA is ideologically homogeneous • Do they impact politics? – Split votes and change outcome of elections – Promote unpopular or controversial issues • They first propose many ideas
    • Types of third parties • Single-issue – Historical ex: Free Soil Party • Ideological – Historical ex: Communist or Socialist Party • Splinter Party – Historical ex: Bull Moose Party
    • Political Parties
    • The organization of political parties • Talk about Federalism!!! – National, State, and Local branches thinly connected. • Select own officers and raise own funds. • Membership - Member or independent? • Local Party Organization: – Precinct – voting district, 100-1000’s of people • Don’t forget about Precinct captains, wards, and party county chairperson • State Party Organization: – State central committee and party state chairperson • National Party Organization: – National convention, national committee, party national chairperson
    • What do political parties do? • Recruiting candidates • Educating the public • Operating the gov’t • Dispensing patronage • Loyal opposition – watchdog • Reduction of conflict
    • How to nominate: • 1.) Caucus – Private meetings of party leaders; 19 states use • 2.) Nominating convention – Official public party meeting to choose candidates for office • Local to county, county to state • Political machines…. downfall
    • How to nominate: • 3.) Primary election – Direct primary – most used method • Election where party members select people to run in a general election • Closed, open and blanket primaries • 4.) Petition – Self-announcement (oldest) – Write-in candidates
    • The National Convention • Held once every four years in late summer. • Select Presidential and VP candidates. • Set agenda and platform. • Unify the party.
    • Election Campaigns • Keep your eyes on the prize… • When do campaigns begin? – End E-Day: • 1st Tues, after 1st Mon, in Nov., even # years. • Must win _____ electoral votes. – 538 electors = 435 reps + 100 senators + 3 Wash DC electoral votes. – Pay special attention to what states?
    • Campaign Organization • Strategy – Aggressive vs. low key – Themes or slogans – What issues stressed? • Campaign manager – run everything! • Use mass media: – TV – commercials, Internet, Radio, Magazines • Image…. Soooo important, look at Nixon v. JFK.
    • Financing a Campaign: Campaign Spending Amounts • 2004 – Pres and Cong candidates spend $3.9 billion – For what??? • FECA (Federal Election Campaign Act) – 1971, indep from exec branch, 6 members • 1.) Require timely disclosure of campaign finance data • 2.) Place limits on campaign contributions • 3.) Place limits on campaign expenditures • 4.) Provide public funding for several parts of Presidential election process
    • FEC – Federal Election Commission • 1974 amendment to FECA law. • Must keep record of campaign contributions. – Open to public • All contributions over $100 must be reported to FEC. • Gives Presidential candidates access to public funds. – 3rd parties can get it if they got 5% of the pop vote last election • 1976 – Supreme Court said limiting individual campaign contributions to candidates doesn’t violate 1st amend.
    • Disclosure Requirements: FYI • No person or group can make a contribution in the name of another • Cash gifts over $100 are not allowed! • No contributions from a foreign source • All contributions must be made through a single campaign comm. • Any contributions over $100 must have the source and date • $5000 has to be reported to the FECA no later than 48 hours after it was received.
    • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act • No person can give more than : • $2000 to a federal candidate’s general election campaign • $5000 to a PAC • $25,000 to a national party committee
    • Limits on Expenditures • Congress first limited spending in 1925 • In 1996, no major party contender could spend more than $30.6 million in preconvention • After the conventions, the limit for the contenders was $61.8 million • When Ross Perot ran in 1992, he had no limit because he used his own money.
    • Voters and Voter Behavior
    • The Constitution & Suffrage • Suffrage – the right to Vote…. • Electorate – the potential voting population – Who was the first? • What has restricted voting in the past: – Age, gender, race, literacy, property ownership, religion, language, grandfather clause, poll taxes, etc. • Once a State right, now a Fed Gov’t job
    • Five Stages of Suffrage • 1st – Religion/Property – Early 1800’s – religious qualifications disappeared. – Mid 1800’s – property ownership dropped, by this time nearly all white men could vote.
    • Five Stages of Suffrage • 2nd – Race – 15th amendment • 3rd – Gender – 19th amendment • 4th – Upholding voting rights – 1960’s Voting Rights Acts – No more discrimination!!! Like what…..??? – 23rd and 24th amendments
    • Five Stages of Suffrage • 5th – Age – 26th Amendment – What historical event was going on at this time, to make the national voting age lowered to 18?
    • Voter Qualifications in the States • 1 – Citizenship • 2 – Residence • 3 – Age (Set by Constitution) • 4 – Registration – National Voter Registration Act (1995) • Keep ballots at DMV, post office, state offices, etc.
    • Issues in Voting • Who can’t vote? – Mentally incompetent. – Convicted of a felony. – Dishonorable discharge from the military. – Duelists, vagrants, or polygamists. • Between 50-60% of the electorate votes. • Ballot fatigue – Less votes further down • Split ticket voting – Delivers blow to party identification
    • Who is MORE LESS likely to vote? Likely to vote? • Wealth – High income/occupational status. • Education • Age • Two-party competition • Strong party identification. • Younger than 35. • Not married. • Lower paying, less skilled professions. • If you live in the South or in a rural location.
    • The Ballot • A device by which a voter registers a choice in an election. – Done in each state by secret, many diff forms. • Office-group – Ticket-splitting • Party-column
    • Special Interest Groups Example: Tobacco and legislation
    • What is an Interest Group? • Group of people with common goals, try to organize and influence gov’t. – Ex: Christian Coalition, NRA, NEA, etc. – Bridge gap b/t citizen and gov’t.
    • Interest Groups vs. Parties • Interest Groups – Don’t nominate candidates. – Chiefly concerned with influencing policy. – Attempt to influence only those policies that directly affect their members. • Parties – Parties nominate candidates for office. – Chiefly concerned with winning elections. – Must concern themselves with the full range of policy issues.
    • Interest Group Functions • Strength in numbers… fair? • Why would you join one? – Economic self-interests, opinion, social • Stimulate interest in public affairs. • Provide useful, detailed information to Gov't officials. • Vehicles for effective political participation.
    • Types of Interest Groups: Groups based on economic interests • Business Groups • Labor Groups • Agricultural Groups • Professional Groups • Environmental • Public • What do they use to get their information out there and to the public? • PROPAGANDA
    • 8 Types of Propaganda • Spin – Interpreting a political event or statement from one point of view. • Plain Folks – Pretend to be a common person • “I am the worker’s friend.” • Bandwagon – Follow the crowed, be with the majority • “A is voting for X; so are B, C, and D. Why not you too?” • Labeling (name- calling) – Don’t discuss facts; just give the opposition a bad name. • “Un-American”
    • 8 Types of Propaganda • Glittering Generalities – Broad and vague statements. • “In the interest of peace and prosperity.” • Transfer – Use symbols to accomplish purposes for which they were not intended. • “Uncle Sam” • Testimonials – Endorsement by a celebrity. • Card stacking – Present only one side of an issue through distortion and juggling of facts. • “2 + 2 = 22
    • Lobbying • The Work of a Lobbyist – Hired by interest groups – Influence legislation • Present expert testimony • Use mass media • Grass-root campaigns – Shape legislation once passed • Lobby Regulation – False testimony and bribery – Congress requires them to register – Hard to enforce
    • Political Action Committees • Provide funds to interest groups. • Specifically formed to raise money. – Esp. for political candidates • Created after FECA and FEC passed – Loophole • Must register with gov’t 6 months before election. • Can give $5,000 directly to each candidate for an election. • In 2000 – PAC’s gave $42 million to Senate candidates and $123 million to House candidates.
    • Mass Media and Public Opinion
    • What is public opinion? • Ideas and attributes a significant number of Americans hold about gov’t and political issues. • Three signif factors: – Diversity – Communication – Significant numbers
    • How do we develop public opinion? • Political socialization – Family, home, schools, peer groups, social characteristics, mass media, etc. • Ideology vs. Issue
    • Measuring Public Opinion • Political party organizations (formed or forming) • Interest groups • Mass media • Letter writing • Electronic access • Straw polls – Biased, unreliable, and unscientific
    • Most reliable method…. Scientific Polling • Step one – Select a sample of the group to be questioned • Random & representative • 1,200-1,500 people • Step two – Present carefully worded questions to individuals in the sample • Step three – Interpret the results
    • Where does Mass Media fit?
    • Mass Media • All means for communicating information to the general public. – Like what??? • What role does Mass Media play in our gov’t? – Think of how the President uses it, • “Television has done as much to expand the powers of the President as would a constitutional amendment of the three branches of gov’t.” – J. William Fulbright, 1970 • News release, news briefing, press conference, media event
    • What role does it play in our gov’t? • Identifying candidates • Campaign advertising – Spot advertising • Keeping an eye on them… – C-SPAN (since 1986) • 1st amendment – Rights of access, shield laws, libel, fairness doctrine • Internet… how has this changed things???
    • “The people are the only censors of their governors…The only safeguard of the public liberty…is to give them full information of their affairs through the channel of the public papers and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people.” Thomas Jefferson, 1787