Govt 2306 ch_4
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Govt 2306 ch_4 Govt 2306 ch_4 Presentation Transcript

  • Political PartiesGOVT 2306Chapter 4
  • Party Structure Political Parties – a combination of people and interests whose primary purpose is to gain control of government by winning elections Organization  The major two parties are organized at the: national, state, county, and precinct levels  Each majority party is loosely organized  Gives the states and local party organizations opportunity to decide their positions on party issues  The Texas Election Code mandates that the two major parties are similar in structure
  • Party Structure
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  Conventions and primaries conducted by the parties  Precinct Conventions – open to members of the party who have voted earlier in the day at the first primary or in early voting  Occur every even-numbered year on the first Tuesday in March  Usually are held 30 minutes to 2 hours after the polls close that evening  Delegates and alternates are selected to attend the next higher party convention with resolutions to consider for the party platform
  • Precinct Level
  • McLennan County Precinct Map
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  County and District Conventions  Delegates and alternates selected at the precinct level meet at the county or district convention  (If there is more than one senatorial district in the county, there will be a separate convention for each district)  Counties such as Harris, Dallas, and Bexar are good examples  State law requires that both conventions occur the 3rd Saturday after the precinct conventions  Typically, 11 days after the primary election  At this convention, delegates and alternates are selected to attend the state convention, taking the approved resolutions with them
  • County/District Level
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  State Conventions  In June of even-numbered years, each Texas political party must hold a biennial state convention  At the convention, delegates: select the state party chair, vice chair, and members of the state executive committee  They also draft a party platform and recognize nominees selected in the primary elections  If it is a presidential year, state convention delegates also select delegates and alternates to attend the national convention and potential members of the Electoral College  In the 2008 election, Texas was allowed 34 electoral votes (equal to the number of members in U.S. Congress – 2 Senators and 32 Reps.)
  • State Level
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  Selection of National Convention Delegates  Selection depends on their support for particular candidates for the party’s presidential nomination  Selection is done either by primary or caucus  In a primary, rank-and-file party members can vote directly for the presidential candidates of their choice  Primary voting is done at the precinct level  In a caucus, party members choose national convention delegates who either pledge to support a particular presidential candidate or remain uncommitted  Caucus – selection of candidates by an informal committee of party leaders
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  Democratic Selection  Texas Democrats combine the two delegate-selection plans in a primary- caucus in a process known as the “Texas Two-Step”  Presidential candidates are awarded delegates to local and state conventions in proportion to the number of their supporters in attendance  National delegates include those selected by state senatorial district, those selected on an at-large basis, and superdelegates  Superdelegate - Unpledged party official or elected official who serves as a delegate to a party’s national convention  In 2008, Texas sent 192 pledged delegates and 34 unpledged “superdelegates”  98 for Obama, 94 for Clinton  The “Texas Two-Step” has become rather controversial in recent years  Essentially, Democrats have to “vote twice” for their candidates  Once at the primary and once again at the caucus  2008 - Roughly 2.9 million voted at the primary level; less than 1/3 (roughly 1 million) voted at the caucus
  • Party Structure Temporary Party Organization  Republican Selection  The Republican Party selects national delegates from the results of the presidential preference primary  A primary in which the voters indicate their preference for a person seeking nomination as the party’s presidential candidate  Some delegates are chosen by congressional district caucuses (3 from each district in 2008)  Others are chosen on an at-large basis by the entire convention  Any presidential candidate who wins more than 50% of the popular vote in the primary in a particular congressional district or statewide is entitled to all of the district or at-large delegates
  • Party Structure Permanent Party Organization  At the national level, the permanent organization is the national committee  In Texas, the precinct chairs, together with the county, district, and state executive committees, comprise the permanent organization of the state parties  Precinct Chair  In each precinct, a chair is elected in the primary for a 2 year term  Chairs are charged with registering and canvassing voters within the precinct, distributing candidate literature and information, operating phone banks within the precinct on behalf of the party and its candidates, and getting people to the polls.  A precinct chair is an unpaid party official who also arranges for the precinct convention and serves on the county executive committee
  • Party Structure Permanent Party Organization  County and District Executive Committees  The county chair and precinct chairs from within the county are members of the county executive committee  They conduct primary elections and arrange for the county and district conventions  State Executive Committee  At the state convention, one man and one woman are selected from each of the 31 senatorial districts for membership on the state executive committee  These 62 members, plus a chair and vice chair, are responsible for raising money to operate the state headquarters and maintain good relations with the national committees  Add-on members are permitted to represent certain groups within the party
  • Political Ideology Since the 1930s, the terms liberal and conservative have mean more to Texan voters than the names of political parties  The definitions have changed with time and circumstances In Texas, because of the influences of the individualistic and traditionalistic cultures, both Democrats and Republicans tend to be conservative  The Republican Party in Texas is dominated by right-wing conservatives  The Democratic Party is influenced (but not dominated) by left- wing liberals
  • Political Ideology Conservatism  The conservative philosophy centers on a belief that an absence of excessive governmental regulations on social and economic matters is needed  Conservatives believe that good society derives from the sum of the best efforts of individuals (largely unaffected by external governmental restraint)  Basically, people reach their full potential and good society remains as long as government is largely out of the picture  Social or religious conservatism adds to this desire to reserve some social developments of the part half-century  Advocates a virtual ban on abortion  No special protection for homosexuals  Restoration of prayer in public schools  The Tea Party movement is a modern reflection of the conservative movement
  • Political Ideology Liberalism  Liberals believe government should regulate the economy to more equitably distribute wealth.  Furthermore, they believe the free market cannot be depended on to produce a sufficiency of public goods  Including education, transportation, and various human and social services  Support for these positions are not as strong in Texas they are in the West and Northeast.
  • Political Ideology Comparing the two sides by issue  Abortion  Bilingual Education  Capital Punishment  Energy  Environmental Protection  Health Care  Immigration  School Vouchers  Social Security  Voter Registration
  • An Overview of Texas PoliticalHistory 1840s to 1870s – Origin of the Party System in Texas  From annexation to secession, Texas politics were largely based on pro-Houston and anti-Houston factions  Pro-Houston factions were nationalistic  Anti-Houston factions were for states’ rights and achieved secession during the Civil War  This group controlled politics throughout the war  During Reconstruction, Republicans controlled the state until they were ousted in the 1873 election  Ushered in a period of “Redemptive Reconstruction” where Democrats slowly regained control of the state after Texas was readmitted to the Union
  • An Overview of Texas PoliticalHistory 1870s to 1970s – A Dominant One-Party System  During this period, Texas and other former Confederate states had a one-party identity in which the Democratic Party was strong and the Republican Party was relatively weak  During the first half of the 20th century, Democrats had virtual control of Texas’ state government, with only a handful of Republicans winning local offices or seats in the House of Representatives  This began to change in the 1950s as conservative Democrats began to vote for the Republican Party  Gov. Shivers and the Tidelands controversy in the early 1950s  Taxation and Industrial growth disputes throughout the 1950s  In 1976, the shift to the Republican Party neared completion as Ronald Reagan drew thousands of conservative Democrats into the first Republican presidential primary  By 1980, the shift was essentially complete
  • An Overview of Texas PoliticalHistory 1970s to 1990s – An Emerging Two-Party System  Republicans continuing their political gains, electing governors in 1978, 1986, 1994, and 1998, and another senator in 1993.  By 2000, they controlled all statewide executive and judicial offices  Texas became a two-tiered, two-party state, with Republicans holding most statewide offices  Democrats held most local offices and the House of Representatives  George W. Bush won 70% of the vote in his reelection to the governorship in 1998  He also had strong Democratic support
  • An Overview of Texas PoliticalHistory 2000 to 2010 – Republican Dominance  Republicans swept the 2000 elections  George W. Bush received 60% of the state’s presidential vote  Republicans controlled all except the House of Representatives at the state level  In 2002, Democrats fielded what they believed was a strong ticket with ethnically diverse candidates  However, Republicans swept the 2002 elections, enlarging their Senate majority from 1 to 7 seats  They also gained a 88-62 majority in the House of Representatives
  • An Overview of Texas PoliticalHistory 2000 to 2010 – Republican Dominance  In 2004, Republicans gained a majority of Texas congressional seats  They also won all statewide elections and picked up roughly 200 more county and district-level offices  In 2008, Barack Obama became the second Democratic presidential candidate in U.S. history to be elected without carrying Texas  Bill Clinton was the first  Other Democrats in Texas did well on the local and district-level
  • Electoral Trends Over the last 20 years, competition between Texas’s Democratic and Republican parties has brought more women, Latinos, and African Americans into the state’s political system  Party politics in Texas have become increasingly more competitive and more nationalized  Political scientists are split on whether Texas is experiencing a dealignment or realignment  Option 1 – Dealignment: people leave the Democratic Party to become independents (and then tend to vote Republican)  Option 2 – Realignment: a large-scale shift from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party  To further complicate this question, straight-ticket voting has declined in Texas
  • Electoral Trends Third Parties  American commonly apply the term third party (or minor party) to any political party other than the Democratic or Republican Party  A number of third parties have been active throughout Texas’ history  Greenback (1880s)  Populist Party (1890s)  Socialist-Labor (1895 – 1915)  Progressive Party (1900s-1920s)  Socialist (1910s)  Prohibition (1910s – 1930s)  La Raza Unida (1970s – 1980s)  Green Party (1990s – present)  Ross Perot’s Reform Party (1990s – present)
  • Electoral Trends Independents  The term independent applies to candidates who have no party affiliation  Their success is less likely as they usually lack a comprehensive campaign organization and fundraising abilities  One of the most notable in recent years is Richard S. “Kinky” Friedman