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Interest groups and political parties


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Published in: News & Politics

Interest groups and political parties

  1. 1. <ul><li>A federal system is a system in which: </li></ul><ul><li>a) Authority and sovereignty are retained at the top of the political ladder (one level of government) </li></ul><ul><li>b) There are two levels of government, yet sovereignty remains in the hands of the states or provinces (loose association of provinces or states) </li></ul><ul><li>c) There are two levels of government of rather equal jurisdiction </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>In parliamentary systems , the symbolic and managerial functions of the executives are in the hands of: </li></ul><ul><li>one person? </li></ul><ul><li>two individuals? </li></ul><ul><li>More than two? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Pluralism: <ul><li>Multiple, competing elites determining public policy through bargaining and compromise </li></ul><ul><li>Individual choice and rationality: rational individuals will act upon their self-interests </li></ul><ul><li>Accordingly, people join interest-groups because they know that it is in their interest to do so </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals know that they will be better represented and have more political influence if they join a group </li></ul>
  5. 5. Interest groups and Political Parties <ul><li>The formal government is not enough to represent all public opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Interest groups and political parties are two instruments to supplement the formal structures </li></ul><ul><li>Process of political demands/communicating public beliefs, attitudes, and values </li></ul><ul><li>Share significant characteristics, yet are relatively different </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Politics as “who does what and who gets what” in a society </li></ul><ul><li>Political process and outcome are not simply the result of a majority rule, but instead of group competition and conflict </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ex Uno, Plures” </li></ul>
  7. 7. INTEREST GROUPS: <ul><li>Collections of individuals who share common beliefs, attitudes, values, or concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Shared concerns: nuclear weapons, gun control, air/water pollution, wages, gender equality, to more trivial concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals in the group believe they can win something out of it </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Interest groups are able to communicate their opinion more effectively than individuals themselves (national Riffle Association; American Medical Association) </li></ul><ul><li>Formal representatives cannot represent their constituents on all the issues that interest them </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: the NRA will provide an alternative representation structure for these people to voice their concern and act </li></ul>
  9. 11. Anti-smoking laws?
  10. 12. <ul><li>Interest Group Pressure Group </li></ul><ul><li>Used interchangeably? </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure group: subset of interest-group organized for the aim of political lobbying </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure groups support any candidate who will pledge to support their cause </li></ul>
  11. 13. “ Why the French Love their Farmers” Gordon, de Boisgrollier
  12. 14. <ul><li>Importance of the French farming lobby in France: impact in international and European economic decisions (tariffs and PAC) </li></ul><ul><li>3.6% of the French population/20% 20 years earlier </li></ul><ul><li>Unions and protests through the FNSEA and the Confederation Paysanne (role of Bové) </li></ul><ul><li>Support of most parties and of president Chirac </li></ul><ul><li>Wide support of the population (gastronomic traditions, attachment to non-genetically modified and fresh products, and suspicion towards globalization) </li></ul><ul><li>Attachment to rural traditions and need to preserve farms and farmers </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>Interest groups Political Parties </li></ul>
  14. 16. POLITICAL PARTIES <ul><li>Permanence/level of organization </li></ul><ul><li>INTEREST POLITICAL </li></ul><ul><li>Breadth of issues </li></ul><ul><li>GROUP PARTY </li></ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul>
  15. 17. Where do parties come from? <ul><li>Factions/groups of legislative supporters (T. Jefferson and the Democrats/ Hamilton and the Federalists) </li></ul><ul><li>Labor movements: party seeking to influence labor policy (interest-group) and take political control </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: the British Labor Party was originally an interest group </li></ul><ul><li>National Liberation movements </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: India’s Congress party </li></ul>
  16. 19. Variance and Number of Political Parties <ul><li>Ideology </li></ul><ul><li>Political culture </li></ul><ul><li>Electoral laws </li></ul><ul><li>Party-systems (from unique to multiple parties) </li></ul><ul><li>Mass/cadre parties </li></ul>
  17. 20. System of Voting Representation? <ul><li>Single-member district? Leads to stability and encourages the development of two-party systems, hides minorities and often generates situations where minorities do not have any representation </li></ul><ul><li>Proportional representation? Facilitates multipartism, ensures that everyone has representation, yet can lead to instability </li></ul>
  18. 21. Internal Party Organization: <ul><li>Highly unified / divided (coalition of factions) </li></ul><ul><li>“Democratic organizations” allowing for intra-party competition / undemocratically structured and centered around the personality of the party leader (ex.: Front national around the personality of Le Pen) </li></ul>
  19. 22. Role of Parties <ul><li>Individual party organization </li></ul><ul><li>Political system </li></ul><ul><li>Number of party </li></ul><ul><li>Degree of party discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Ideology </li></ul><ul><li>Constituency </li></ul>ROLE OF PARTY
  20. 23. Functions of Political Parties: <ul><li>Generate political leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Help organize political groups </li></ul><ul><li>Shape and transmit political demands to the government </li></ul><ul><li>Reference and guiding point to the part of the electorate unaware of the complex political world (labeling) </li></ul><ul><li>Political development and recruitment (regeneration of the political arena) </li></ul><ul><li>Framework to mobilize the electorate (get out the vote and participation) </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute to the national unification of the country </li></ul>
  21. 24. What do elections do? Influence parties by sending them a message (feedback) Educative function Provide legitimacy For the government (representation) Influence policies by selecting individuals that will exercise power Create governments Offer the public choice among parties, candidates, governments, policy preferences Choosing Representatives PURPOSE OF ELECTIONS
  22. 25. ELECTORAL SYSTEMS <ul><li>Degree of choice between parties and candidates (Who and what parties can be elected?) </li></ul><ul><li>Who can vote? </li></ul>
  23. 26. <ul><li>What Parties? </li></ul><ul><li>Open/Highly No choice </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive </li></ul><ul><li>System </li></ul><ul><li>Italy Singapore Kenya </li></ul><ul><li>Austria Tanzania (one party) </li></ul>
  24. 27. <ul><li>What Candidates? </li></ul><ul><li>Choice No Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Israel USSR </li></ul>
  25. 28. Types of Election: <ul><li>1) Competitive </li></ul><ul><li>2) Dominant-party </li></ul><ul><li>3) Candidate-choice </li></ul><ul><li>4) Acclamatory </li></ul>
  26. 29. 1) Competitive <ul><li>Choice between different parties (from 2 to over 12) </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, voter can have choice of candidate (Japan) or not (UK) </li></ul>
  27. 30. 2) Dominant-party elections: <ul><li>Have the choice on paper between several parties, yet not in reality (no free election). Reasons: </li></ul><ul><li>Intimidation process when vote is not anonymous (Haiti) </li></ul><ul><li>Fraud or corruption keeping the dominant party on power (Philippines under Marcos; 1988 Mexican elections?) </li></ul><ul><li>Ability of the dominant party to present itself as the best voting alternative, for instance through nationalist propaganda (the Congress Party of India) </li></ul>
  28. 31. 3) Candidate Choice: <ul><li>One permissible political party </li></ul><ul><li>Choice between several candidates among the same political party </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: In Kenya, choice is possible only among the several candidates of the Kenyan African National Union Party (KANU) </li></ul>
  29. 33. 4) Acclamatory Elections: <ul><li>No choice between parties and political candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: 1,500 members of the Supreme Soviet ran uncontested, selected by the Communist Party </li></ul>
  30. 35. Legal Constraints Affecting Electoral Behavior: <ul><li>Some regimes outlaw opposition parties </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations about who can be a candidate: </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: age criterion for candidacy (25 for the House and 30 in the Senate); residency requirement; gender, race, or ethnicity requirements… </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations about how campaigns are to be run: </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: fund-raising and campaign advertising rules </li></ul><ul><li>Which parties can compete: </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: minimum number of individuals needing to sign a petition; monetary deposits needed from parties before elections; deadline to respect for participating (rules aiming at discouraging “non-realistic” parties) </li></ul>
  31. 36. Legal Constraints Regarding Who Can Vote: <ul><li>Age requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Registration requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Residency requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy requirement (minimum or rigorous) </li></ul><ul><li>Ex.: was in use in the Southern states to prevent Afro-American voters to vote </li></ul><ul><li>Gender, group, ethnic, or religious factors in use still in several countries to deter certain parts of the population to vote </li></ul>
  32. 37. Political Parties: Empty Vessels? <ul><li>Are political parties in decline? </li></ul><ul><li>Moving towards the ideological center (no clear ideological differences any more) </li></ul><ul><li>Media tend to play some of their role in terms of informing the population </li></ul><ul><li>Rise of interest-groups connected to the growing importance of single-issues </li></ul><ul><li>Diminution of party-members </li></ul>