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Political Parties


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Published in: News & Politics

Political Parties

  1. 1. Political Parties Michael P. Fix
  2. 2. What is a Political Party?
  3. 3. Political Parties Defined <ul><li>There is no single definition of political parties on which scholars can agree. </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the debate on this has to do with party goals. </li></ul><ul><li>In US, state governments largely control legal definition of parties </li></ul>
  4. 4. Political Parties Defined <ul><li>Pragmatic Party Model </li></ul><ul><li>Parties are organizations that sponsor candidates for political office under the organization’s name in hopes of controlling the apparatus of government </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible Party Model </li></ul><ul><li>Parties are organizations that run candidates to shape the outcomes of government </li></ul>
  5. 5. Political Parties Defined VS. How do parties and interest groups differ? Images from
  6. 6. Political Parties Defined How do parties and interest groups differ? <ul><li>Only Political Parties nominate and run candidates for office under their label. </li></ul><ul><li>Political Parties focus on a platform – a broad range of issues over which they have a position. </li></ul><ul><li>Political Parties are “quasi-public institution” and are accountable to state and local laws. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Party Functions
  8. 8. Party Functions <ul><li>Organizing the Election Process </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating Voter Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Recruiting Candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Screening Candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Helping Candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing a Complex Government </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregating Interests </li></ul><ul><li>Educating Citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring Accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Social Functions </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting Civic Performance </li></ul>
  9. 9. Party Roles
  10. 10. The Components of Political Parties Party-In-Government Party-in-the-Electorate Party Organization The Tripartite View of Parties
  11. 11. Party-in-Government All of the elected officials serving under a party’s banner
  12. 12. Party-in-the-Electorate Every citizen who attaches him or herself to a political party
  13. 13. Party Identification and Voting <ul><li>In some countries party membership is formal (e.g. Great Britain): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members must officially join </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members must pay dues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members must attend local party meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members get to vote on party leaders and determine party platform </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Party Identification and Voting <ul><li>In the U.S. party membership is a more ambiguous and fluid concept: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No formal requirements to membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No formal requirement to change parties </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Party Identification and Voting <ul><li>2 Ways of Measuring Party ID in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Identification </li></ul><ul><li>Party enrollment </li></ul>
  16. 16. Party Identification and Voting
  17. 17. Party Identification and Voting Straight-Ticket Voters Voters who support candidates of the same party in every election. Split-Ticket Voters Voters who support candidates of different parties in the same election or from one election to the next.
  18. 18. Primary Elections
  19. 19. Party-as-Organization The formal apparatus of the party, including party headquarters, offices, and leaders
  20. 20. Layers of the Party System
  21. 21. National Party Committees DNC Chair Tim Kaine RNC Chair Michael Steele
  22. 22. Party Machines Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, Jr. in front of an image of his father, one of the most powerful party boss in U.S. history.
  23. 23. Party Systems
  24. 24. Party Realignment A “partisan realignment” takes place when a large number of voters do not return to their party in the next election
  25. 25. Party Systems <ul><li>1 st Party System (1790s-1824)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd Party System (1824-1860)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>3 rd Party System (1860-1896)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>4 th Party System (1896-1932)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>5 th Party System (1932-?)‏ </li></ul>
  26. 26. Party Systems 1 st Party System (1790s-1824)‏ Federalists (Gone by 1812)‏ Democratic-Republicans
  27. 27. 1 st Party System The Whiskey Rebellion in 1784 was one of the key events that led to the development of the first two party system.
  28. 28. Party Systems 2 nd Party System (1824-1860)‏ Whigs Democrats
  29. 29. 2 nd Party System Image from Partisan Realignment over slavery and immigration led to the end of the 2 nd party system.
  30. 30. Party Systems 3 rd Party System (1860-1896)‏ Democrats Republicans
  31. 31. 3 rd Party System Images from
  32. 32. Party Systems 4 th Party System (1896-1932)‏ Democrats Republicans
  33. 33. 4 th Party System Images from
  34. 34. Party Systems 5 th Party System (1932-?)‏ Democrats Republicans
  35. 35. What about 1968? Image from
  36. 36. Minor Parties
  37. 37. Third Parties in the U.S. System Ideological Parties Protest Parties Single-Issue Parties Splinter Parties
  38. 38. Ideological Parties Ideological Party Third party that exists to promote an ideology rather than to win elections In nearly every US presidential election this century the socialist parties have fielded a candidate. Image from
  39. 39. Protest Parties Protest Parties Third party that arises in response to issues of popular concern which have not been addressed by the major parties William Jennings Bryan of the Populist Party did not win the presidency in 1896, but he came very close
  40. 40. Single-Issue Parties Single-Issue Party Third party formed around one particular cause Image from
  41. 41. Splinter Parties Splinter Party Third party formed by a dissatisfied faction of a major party Strom Thurmond (left) was a States’ Rights Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1948. The party formed in protest to the civil rights plan in the Democratic Party platform
  42. 42. Why Do Minor Parties Fail? <ul><li>Winner-Take-All Electoral System </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Access to the Ballot </li></ul>
  43. 43. Why Do Minor Parties Fail? <ul><li>Cultural Consensus </li></ul><ul><li>There is little support in the American political culture for avowedly fascist, communist, authoritarian, or other antidemocratic parties </li></ul>
  44. 44. Twentieth-Century Third-Party Presidential Votes