Background• Political parties were not around at the start of American politics, George Washington even warned against them• People quickly discovered that there was value in having a political organization, within 25 years parties became the norm.• Many parties have come and gone over time, but among the most popular were the Whig, Federalist, Republican, Democratic, & Progressive parties
Party Systems One-Party System Multi-Party System• Usually found in • The political system allows for dictatorships unlimited competing parties • It is common to have 5-10• Only 1 party exists, all popular parties capable of others are made illegal winning elections• Only political differences • Allows for a great deal of that exist are among the competition and choice for people party leaders • Also leads to greater conflict• No choice and no real with so many parties with political debate power
In Between: A 2 Party System The United States is one of only a few countries who use a 2 party system. • In these systems 2 major parties compete for power • Other parties usually exist, but have little power• These systems offer some choice, but often do not satisfy everyone
Third Parties• In a system like that in the US, 3rd parties often exist. While they rarely win big elections, they can serve many purposes and have a major impact in our politics.
Types of 3rd Parties1. Single Issue Party – Party that focuses only on one issue (Pro-Life, Environment, Etc.). They usually don’t last long term.2. Ideological Party – Focuses on attempting to change society overall. In the US these parties include Libertarian, Communist or Socialist parties.3. Splinter Party – These are made up of members of an existing party, who branch out for one reason or another. (Example: Tea Party) These are usually the most popular 3rd parties.
What do 3rd parties do?They rarely win, so why are they important??• They raise awareness about issues & force things to be talked about that otherwise wouldn’t (min. wage) • They can win small, local elections (city council, school board, etc.) • They can take votes away from major candidates and be the difference in an election (1992, 2000)
Why 3rd parties struggleMany 3rd parties have good ideas, but still havetrouble winning elections…why?• They have trouble raising $$ when people don’t think they can win• They must collect signatures and file papers to be put on ballots• We use a winner-take-all system, meaning that only 1 person can hold office. Other countries divide representation based on election results.
Party OrganizationPolitical Parties operate like a pyramid. National Party: Set the policy for all members, focus on national elections, and raise $$ State Parties: In all 50 states. Responsible to register members and attempt to win statewide elections Local Party Organizations: Thousands of local chapters help recruit members, work on campaigns at all levels, get out the vote, etc.
What do parties do? Political Parties serve 6 basic functions 1. Recruit Candidates to run for office 2. Educate the public on issues they feel are important 3. Help to operate the government (filling jobs, communicating, etc.) 4. Dispense Patronage (aka – handout favors) 5. Serve as a watchdog of the party in power6. Reduce Conflict: having 2 parties allows them to focus and work together, as opposed to 100’s of individuals trying to
American PoliticsPolitical Ideology: A persons most basicbeliefs about government, including its purpose, style, function, etc.
Choosing a Party• For many Americans this can be a difficult choice. In fact, a large % of people cannot choose a party & instead remain independent. But in an election, we must all choose who to vote for. Our political beliefs and opinions are formed over many years, and can change often in our lives.
Political Socialization The factors that help us form our politicalidentity are know as factors of socialization. 1. Family/Upbringing – earliest and largest influence, you develop ideas based on conversations at home 2. School – As you learn about history, government, and current events, you form opinions about them
Political Socialization3. Friends & peers – Through discussions with friend, co-workers, neighbors you gather information and areexposed to viewpoints that help4. Personal Characteristics – Age, Race, Gender,Occupation, Income, Location all have an impact5. The Media – People are heavily influenced by whatthey see & hear on the news, online, or in other forms ofmedia. For many people, they use this as their #1 sourceof information.
Political Ideology THE LEFT WING VS. THE RIGHT WINGRadicals: Liberals: Moderates: Conservatives: Reactionaries:Far Left wing, Left of center, Can identify Right of center, Far right wing,want major liberals tend to with both they embrace Want to “gochanges fast! think that liberals and tradition and back to theOften want to government conservatives, are hesitant to way thingsoverthrow should be depending on make changes were” Will usegovernments & active in the issue. without good violence andchange the peoples lives & Allow for reason. When authority towhole system has a change, but they make restore and responsibility with limits. changes it is maintain order to its citizens. Usually usually slow, as they see it Want to see tolerant of cautious. changes, but other views, Typically want within the vote government to rules. unpredictably be small and limited.
Political Ideology & Parties THE LEFT WING VS. THE RIGHT WINGRadicals: Liberals: Moderates: Conservatives: Reactionaries:Communists, Democrats, Republicans & Republicans, Nazi Party, KKKSocialists, Green Party, Democrats… Libertarians,Anarchists Reform Party Independents TEA Party Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, Greens, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Tea Party, Libertarians, KKK, Nazis
The Democratic Party• Oldest Political Party in the US, dating to 1792• Symbolized by the Donkey• Famous Democrats: Thomas Jefferson (1st Dem. To be President), FDR, JFK, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama
Philosophy of Democratic Party• Democrats are often described as “Left Wing” because they tend to be more liberal in their beliefs.• This means that they actively pursue change, often times significant change• Focus on equality, working for common good• See a large role for government in taking care of and providing for citizens through programs such as healthcare, welfare, environmental issues, etc.
The Republican Party• Also known as the GOP (Grand Old Party)• Created as a 3rd opposing slavery in the 1850’s• Symbolized by the Elephant• Famous Republicans: Abraham Lincoln (1st Rep. President), Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, The Bush Family
Philosophy of the Republican Party• Republicans are usually “Right-Wing” or Conservative• They generally believe government should be smaller, providing only a few needed services• Reluctant to make major changes• Tend to be more supportive of the individual & individual choice rather than the common good
THE PARTIES ON THE ISSUE Dem. Position Rep. Position ISSUES Raise taxes on Cut taxes for all wealthy, cut or people and on maintain tax amounts businessesEach party has a written on middle class or Abortion Taxesplatform, or statement of poortheir position on major issues. Pro-Choice Pro-LifeIt is important to know thatthese are just generalizationsabout the parties, not every Place more Less restrictions on Controldemocrat or republican restrictions on guns/gun owners Gun guns/gun ownershipshares the same beliefs.Many of these issues are Against Supportcomplicated, and there may Penalty Deathbe several opinions within theparties themselves. It is alsocommon to see a republican Support most of Place more rules and Programsshare beliefs with a democrat these and making limits on these Welfareon certain issues, and vice sure they are programs to cutversa. available long term down costs
It is also important to know that the parties positions are alwaysTHE PARTIES ON THE evolving and changing with the needs and opinions of America & ISSUES Americans. The Goal is always to WIN ELECTIONS!ISSUE Dem. Position Rep. Position Usually slower to use military, Quicker to support military want support from other action, willing to usually spendMilitaryForce countries, willing to cut spending large amounts of $$ on the on military military Allow a way for illegal immigrants Treat illegal immigrants as Environment Immigration to gain citizenship, make it easier criminals. Supportive of to become a citizen building a fence along US/Mexico border More rules to protect Less rules, ok to drill offshore or environment. Against offshore anywhere else in US drilling for oil or drilling in Alaskavs. Workers Support more rights for Anti-Union, less rules forBusiness workers/unions. Higher taxes on businesses to follow business and more rules for them to follow
Party Membership Democrats Republicans• Low Income • Wealthy• Union Members/Blue Collar • Business Owners/CEO’s Workers • Men• Environmentalists • People who identify• Minorities themselves as religious• Women • Military members• Younger voters• Urban Areas • Older voters• Northeastern & West Coast • Rural/Suburban areas States • Western & Southern States
45Party Membership 40 35The largest party in the 30US is the DemocraticParty with 42 million 25members, republicansclaim 30 million, and 20independents make up 1524 million people. 10Both parties have seen 5huge dropoffs inmembership since 2008. 0 Democrats Republicans Indpendents
How Americans See Themselves Political Party Political Ideology Democrats Republicans Liberal Conservative Independents Other Moderate Other 12% 4% 21% 31% 35% 40% 27% 40%
Red (Republican) vs. Blue (Democratic) States
Other Options• There are technically about 50 political parties in the US you can join. Among the most popular:• Green Party – A liberal political party with a heavy emphasis on the environment and on equality and fairness• Libertarian Party – A conservative party focusing on eliminating most government services and cutting taxes• Tea Party – Technically not a party, this is a splinter of the Republicans focusing on returning the party to its small government, low spending/low tax roots. Has gained tremendous popularity and influence in the last 4 years
The Primary Process• In order to choose candidates for political office, the parties use a series of elections to determine who gets the nomination.• Candidates are nominated though either a primary election or a caucus• Presidential candidates compete state by state for points, known as delegates.
The Primary Process Caucus Primary• Older method, less common • More common type, like a of the 2 normal election, but you• Party leaders meet only choose people from 1 privately, debate, and then party choose the candidates they • Open Primary – You can pick want to support which party to vote for on• This is done in election day towns, counties, districts, a • Closed Primary – You must nd statewide be a registered party member to vote
Earning the Nomination• After the primary season (spring), the parties call a nominating convention in late summer to officially award the delegates• Some states award all their delegates to the winner, while other divide theirs based on the voting totals (by county, district, or %)• The winner earns the nomination, picks a VP and gives a speech to the party faithful