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Political Parties in America

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Political Parties in America Re: admin questions, I need to see: Taylor Sims Jonathan Lin For tomorrow . . . www.3pc.net - party matchmaker Madison s Factions By ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Parties in America


1
Political Parties in America
  • Re admin questions, I need to see
  • Taylor Sims
  • Jonathan Lin

2
For tomorrow . . .
  • www.3pc.net - party matchmaker

3
Madisons Factions
  • By a faction I understand a number of citizens,
    whether amounting to a majority or minority of
    the whole, who are united and actuated by some
    common impulse of passion, or of interest,
    adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to
    the permanent and aggregate interests of the
    community.
  • Complaints are everywhere heard . . . That the
    public good is disregarded in the conflicts of
    rival parties . . .

4
What are political parties?
  • Remember political participation
  • Influence government policy by
  • Affecting choice of government personnel and/or
  • Affecting choices made by those personnel
  • Parties
  • Organized groups
  • Affect choice of government personnel by fielding
    candidates
  • Affect choices made by those personnel by
    creating norms of reciprocity and group
    identification

5
Three meanings of parties
  • Party organizations
  • Parties in government
  • Parties in the electorate

6
Parties as linkage institutions
Govt. Officials
Party Organization
Electorate
7
Party Myths
8
Myth 1 Parties are monolithic
  • Reality Party membership is quite diverse
  • Example 1850s, Republican party catered to
    anti-slavery interests and commercial interests
    (focus on transportation infrastructure, etc.)
  • Example Modern Republican party draws from
    socially conservative Christian population and
    economically conservative business interests

9
Myth 2 Parties are static
  • Reality Parties vary over time, in terms of
    issue positions and membership
  • Example Democratic party dominated the white
    south until the middle of the 20th century, when
    civil rights issues drove white southerners to
    the Republican party
  • Example 19th century Democrats emphasized
    states rights, limited federal spending, and
    literal interpretation of Constitution

10
Origins of political parties
  • Madisons fear of factions
  • BUT, weve had parties from the beginning why?
  • People naturally form groups (The latent causes
    of faction are thus sown in the nature of man . .
    . .)
  • Parties are useful
  • To us
  • To elites

11
What Do Parties Do?
12
Parties as linkage institutions
  • Act as a bridge between electorate and elites
  • Provide benefits to both groups

13
Candidate Benefits From Party Organizations
  • Campaign resources
  • Information
  • Issues
  • Electorate
  • Guidance
  • Money

14
Candidate/Leader Benefits From Parties in
Government
  • Signal of similarity
  • Group loyalty/trust
  • Shorthand for talking to voters
  • Voting on issues cue
  • Issue support

15
What do we, the voters, get from parties?
16
Benefits to Voters
  • Cue to candidate positions heuristics
  • Reliable information about issues
  • Easy way to give money
  • Participation clearinghouse

17
What is party identification?
  • Individual voters psychological ties to one
    party (I am a __________)
  • NOT the same as ideology
  • Formed early (often inherited from parents),
    rarely changes in later life
  • Strength of party identification
  • Name only
  • Loyal voter
  • Party activists

18
Importance of party in the electorate
  • Parties draw their strength from mobilization of
    voters
  • Shifts in electorate support (electoral
    realignment)
  • Identity of major parties
  • Issue focus of major parties
  • Decline in party identification (dealignment)
  • may reduce government efficiency
  • lead to divided government

19
In sum . . .
  • Parties and party labels provide information to
    candidates, politicians, and voters
  • Not surprising, then, that parties have endured
  • What has changed?
  • Identities and positions of parties
  • Strength of parties

20
Party Strength and Americas Two Party System
21
Parties as Linkage Institutions How Strong Is
the Bond?
Govt. Officials
Party Organization
Electorate
22
Strong Parties
  • Have a lot of control over candidates and
    officials claiming the party identity
  • steering their policy positions
  • fostering a sense of mutual obligation and unity
    among the party in the government
  • Directly and powerfully involved in mobilizing
    the electorate

23
Weak Parties
  • Candidates who ally themselves with the party
  • do not necessarily share any common policy
    objectives or ideological values
  • do not necessarily feel a sense of obligation and
    loyalty to one another
  • Political parties have very little influence over
    the electorate
  • unable to mobilize voters
  • not able to get voters to vote down party lines

24
History of Party Strength
  • Late 1800s Birth of Political Machines
  • Patronage
  • Emphasis on strength of party organizations
  • Progressive Movement Reforms
  • Literacy tests
  • Direct primary
  • Civil Service
  • Undermined patronage system

25
History of Party Strength
  • Mid 1900s Decline of Party Organizations
  • Party in electorate and parties in government
    still strong
  • Parties divided along natural social cleavages

26
History of Party Strength
  • Modern era Parties relatively weak
  • Party organizations not as strong
  • Party loyalties in government and electorate
    slipping, too
  • More split-ticket voting
  • BUT maybe rallying
  • Finding a new niche
  • Shifting emphasis from putting politicians and
    voters together, to putting politicians and money
    together

27
Arguments for a weak party system
  • Graft and corruption
  • Censoring political agenda
  • Party loyalties may detract from the job of
    representation

28
Arguments for a strong party system
  • Better voter heuristic
  • Limit finger pointing gt Group accountability
  • Longer-term view of politics

29
Americas Two-Party System
30
Overview
  • Why do we have a two party system in the U.S.?
  • If they cannot win national offices, what roles
    do third parties play in our system?

31
Why a two party system?
  • Sociological explanation
  • Parties reflect underlying social cleavages
  • Not satisfactory
  • Why dont U.S. parties reflect various
    combinations of social issues?
  • Why dont U.S. parties reflect diverse economic
    and ethnic interests?
  • Institutional explanation
  • Electoral laws determine how many parties can be
    viable
  • Social cleavages only lead to splintering of
    parties when electoral laws are sufficiently
    permissive

32
Electoral laws the geography of voting
  • Single-member districts
  • Electorate is divided up so that each seat in
    government is associated with a particular
    district
  • That district elects only one representative
  • Multiple-member districts
  • Electorate may or may not be divided into
    districts
  • Even if electorate is divided into districts, the
    districts elect more than one representative

33
Single-Member Districts in Quadria
1
1
1
1
34
Multiple-Member Districts in Quadria
4 Reps
35
Electoral laws three systems for choosing
winners in elections
  • Plurality system (also called first past the
    post)
  • Run-off majority voting
  • Proportional representation

36
Multiple-Member District w/ Proportional
Representation
  • Four representatives for district
  • Single election for parties
  • Example
  • Greens win 50 of vote
  • Communists win 25 of vote
  • Socialists win 25 of vote

37
What we have in the U.S.
  • Single-member districts
  • Plurality elections (first past the post)

38
Duvergers Law
  • Election systems that rely on single-member
    districts and plurality (or first past the post)
    voting systems favor a two party system
  • Why?
  • People are strategic
  • The real competition is between the top two
    candidates, so voting for anyone else is a waste

39
Spatial Model of Duvergers Law
ME
Reps
Green Party
Dems
40
Duvergers Law
  • Election systems that rely on single-member
    districts and plurality (or first past the post)
    voting systems favor a two party system
  • Election systems with multi-member districts and
    proportional representation allow for multiple
    parties to thrive

41
BUT
  • Some countries have single-member plurality
    electoral systems but multiple parties (Canada,
    India)
  • Some countries have multi-member districts and
    proportional representation but very little party
    competition (Australia, Austria)

42
Melding Sociological and Institutional
Explanations
  • Two party systems arise from either
  • Single-member plurality systems OR
  • Homogenous population (like Australia and
    Austria)
  • Multi-party systems arise under these
    circumstances
  • When the electoral system is multiple-member/propo
    rtional AND the populace is fragmented
  • When the two parties become too removed from the
    electorate so people start voting in expressive
    ways
  • When the heterogeneity in electorate is
    geographically defined, so you have a whole bunch
    of small two-party systems (Canada)

43
Bottom Line
  • Social factors and election rules both matter
  • Given our social structure (social cleavages not
    tied to geography) and our rules, U.S. tends to
    have a two-party system

44
But people still vote for third parties . . .
  • People who vote for third parties often look
    like people who dont vote at all
  • Alienation
  • Indifference
  • Except that third-party voters have stronger
    sense of civic responsibility
  • Third party voting is expressive

45
What do third parties do?
  • Win local and state office
  • Force the major parties to move to capture the
    lost votes
  • Get issues on the agenda through media coverage
    and public awareness
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