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Chapter Eleven Political Parties


Chapter Eleven Political Parties Instructor: Kevin Sexton Course: U.S. Political Systems Southeast Missouri State University – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter Eleven Political Parties

Chapter ElevenPolitical Parties
Instructor Kevin Sexton Course U.S. Political
Systems Southeast Missouri State University
What Is A Political Party
A group of individuals with common beliefs,
values and opinions that band together to affect
public policy by attempting to get their
members elected to public office.
  • How they work
  • Political Parties attempt to effect public
    policy by getting their members elected
  • to public office.
  • Interest Groups attempt to effect public policy
    without getting their members
  • elected to public office.
  • Who their members are
  • Political Parties are INCLUSIVE
  • Interest Groups are EXCLUSIVE

The Parties In Different Contexts
  • Political Parties in the United States can
    actually be described as three different
  • types of organizations, depending on the CONTEXT
    of the party being discussed.
  • What I mean by CONTEXT is where is the party
    doing its work. There are three
  • Particular PLACES or CONTEXTS in which parties
  • The three CONTEXTS or PLACES are
  • The Party in the ELECTORATE
  • The Party in the GOVERNMENT
  • The Party as an ORGANIZATION

Roles of Political Parties(These are not in your
  • Recruit Candidates
  • Nominate Candidates
  • Mobilize Voters
  • Contest Elections
  • Form Governments
  • Coordinate Policies across independent units
  • of government
  • 7. Provide Accountability

Brief History of Political Parties in the United
The history of political parties in the U.S. can
be broken down into 6 eras.
To understand the concept of different eras we
need to look at a series of terms and concepts.
  1. Party Alignment
  2. Critical Election
  3. Realignment

1st and 2nd Party Eras
1st Era (Jeffersonian)
  • Barely recognized as a party era.
  • Because not many people involved in the
    political process
  • Nomination of presidential and vice-presidential
    candidates controlled
  • by a congressional caucus.

Critical Election 1828
2nd Era (Jacksonian)
  • Introduced use of the National Nominating
  • First time a party was based on mass
  • Democrats and Whigs were primary parties.
  • Economics and Territorial Expansion were basic
    issues of the day.
  • Democrats splintered as northern and southern
    members could not agree
  • on a candidate.
  • Both nominated a candidate (combined they got
    60 of the pop. vote).
  • Abe Lincoln won the election with 40 of the
    pop. vote.

Critical Election 1860
3rd and 4th Party Eras
3rd Era (Civil War and Reconstruction)
  • Parties gained great levels of control over the
    political process.
  • Party Machines are the model of the day.
  • i.e. Tammany Hall (NYC)
  • Candidates continued to be nominated by the
  • Only popular choice came after the party
    nominated the individuals.

Critical Election 1896
4th Era (Industrial Republican)
  • Progressive reforms weaken party control.
  • Australian Ballot
  • Direct Primary
  • Pendleton Act

Critical Elections 1932 1936
5th and 6th Party Eras
5th Era (New Deal)
  • Dominated by the Democrats.
  • Because they were able to bring together the
    common man.
  • Repeal of the Democrats 2/3rds rule allowed the
    Democratic Party
  • to eventually nominate more pro-civil rights
    candidates for president.
  • Democrats become the new party of the blacks.
  • Solid Democratic south became a Solid Republican

Critical Election 1968
6th Era (Divided Government)
  • Neither party has had dominant control during
    this period.
  • Republicans dominated the presidential races,
    but Democrats rarely lost
  • control of the House or the Senate.
  • It has been suggested that parties have become
    so weak they cannot
  • become powerful enough to force a realignment
    to create a new party era.

Two Party System
It is true that we have a TWO-PARTY system. Why
do we have a two-party system? Is it required in
the Constitution?
NO. We have a TWO-SYSTEM because of the way we
chose/elect the elected officials in this
Our elected officials are selected through a
process that is known as a Single-member,
Simple Plurality (SMSP) System
SMSP Electoral System
  • Each election that is held has ONE winner that
    is elected to represent
  • the whole district.
  • also known as winner takes all.

Simple Plurality
  • The winner of the election is the candidate that
    receives a plurality
  • of the votes cast.
  • Majority is 50.1 of the votes cast.
  • Plurality is getting more votes than anyone else.

Proportional Electoral System
Many democracies select the members of the
national legislature based on the following
  • Multiple-Member Districts
  • More that one winner in each district.
  • Winners are based on the percent of the
  • popular vote that each party receives.

Side by Side Comparison of theSMSP
Proportional Electoral Systems
Party A ---- 30 of votes cast Party B ----
40 of votes cast Party C ---- 10 of votes
cast Party D ---- 20 of votes cast
Party A ---- 31 of votes cast Party B ----
33 of votes cast Party C ---- 36 of votes cast
One person will represent the district.
10 people will represent the district.
Candidate from Party C is the winner.
  • 3 individuals from Party A win.
  • 4 individuals from Party B win.
  • 1 individual from Party C win.
  • 2 individuals from Party D win.

That candidate won more votes than any other
Which System discourages THIRD PARTIES? WHY?
Third Parties
  • As the previous slide shows, Third Parties have
    very little
  • legitimate chance of winning elected office in
    this nation.
  • There are sporadic instances where a Third Party
  • might win a local office.
  • But with the exception of Gov. Ventura, in
    Minnesota there have
  • not been many other Third Party candidates that
    have won a
  • state or national office.

If this is the case, why do Third Parties exist?
Most Third Parties that provide any true impact
are short lived.
This is because any Third Party that attracts
significant popular support (votes) will have
major parts of their platform co-opted by one
or both of the major political parties.
i.e. Ross Perot Ralph Nader
Strength of Parties in the U.S.
  • Key events have reduced the power of political
    parties in the U.S.
  • Civil Service Reform
  • Open Primary
  • Australian Ballot
  • Increased Mobility of the Population
  • Technological Advances

From the mid-1980s the national party
organizations have seen An increase in their
influence over campaigns, but not an increase In
their influence over candidates. Elections have
become more candidate-centered and less
Candidate- Versus Party-CenteredPolitics
In past years individuals in the U.S. looked very
closely at What party a candidate belonged to. If
they belonged to their party that is the
person they voted for. Straight Party Voting
was common.
Voters have begun looking more closely at the
individual candidates in an election, and
assessing the values and abilities of the
candidates. Split Ticket Voting is more common
Parties have therefore become less
powerful And We continue to see Divided Government
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