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Participation and voting

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Title: Participation and voting


1
Participation and voting
  • Chapter 7

2
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3
Democracy Political Participation
  • Democratic ideal is government run by the
    people
  • Difficulty lies with definitions of how much and
    what kind of participation needed
  • Direct democracy versus democracy carried out by
    representatives
  • Elections are necessary for democracy, but do not
    ensure democracy

4
Political Participation
  • All citizen activities that attempt to INFLUENCE
    governments structure, selection of officials,
    or policies
  • Conventional participation
  • Unconventional participation

5
Unconventional Participation
  • Can range from protest marches to

  • terrorist activities
  • Bloody Sunday March from Selma, AL, to
    Montgomery, AL in 1965
  • 1995 bombing of Oklahoma Citys Federal Building
    by Timothy McVeigh
  • Terrorist attacks on New York City and
    Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001

6
Unconventional Participation
7
Support for Unconventional Participation
  • Boston Tea Party in 1773 first of many violent
    protests
  • Most Americans not willing to participate in
    unconventional political activities
  • Sometimes difficult to define which activities
    fall under heading of unconventional political
    participation

8
Figure 7.1What Americans Think Is Conventional
Behavior
9
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10
The Effectiveness of Unconventional Participation
  • Unconventional participation is not always
    successful, even when violent
  • Direct action appeals most to persons who
    distrust the political system and have a strong
    sense of political efficacy
  • Participation also depends on an individuals
  • group consciousness
  • Americans about as likely to participate as
    citizens of other nations

11
The Effectiveness of Unconventional Participation
12
Conventional Participation
  • Practical test for democracy can citizens
    influence policies by acting through its
    institutions?
  • Two major categories for conventional
    participation
  • 1) Supportive behavior
  • 2) Influencing behavior

13
Compared with What? Popular Participation in
Politics
14
Supportive Behavior
  • Actions that express allegiance to country and
    government
  • Require various levels of effort
  • Sometimes actions an individual sees as
    supportive actually suppress democracy

15
Influencing Behavior
  • Some types of behavior seek benefits others have
    broad policy objectives
  • Particular benefits - those that benefit self,
  • immediate family, or friends
  • Very common at local level, especially
    contacting behavior may require little
    initiative
  • More common with those of higher socioeconomic
    status
  • Sometimes done quietly

16
Influencing Behavior continued
  • Campaign contributions also on this list
  • Broad Policy Objectives activities that
    influence selection of government officials and
    policies
  • Also require different levels of initiative
  • Voting, running for office, holding meetings,
    working on campaigns, attending hearings, or
    using the court system

17
The Twitter Revolution
18
Influencing Behavior
  • Citizens who want to participate can do so via
    the Internet
  • Comment on proposed rules and regulations at the
    Federal Register site http//www.gpoaccess.gov/f
    r/
  • Track economic stimulus funds at
    http//www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx
  • View congressional voting records
    http//www.govtrack.us/ or http//www.thomas.gov/
  • Many other political sites available for wide
    range of interests

19
Influencing Behavior
20
Conventional Participation in America
  • Usually only those with a stake in the outcome
    take initiative to participate in Congressional
    or administrative hearings
  • Most common form of political behavior is voting
  • Rate of voting is voter turnout
  • U.S. voter turnout low compared to other
    industrialized democracies

21
Participating Through Voting
  • Electoral process heart of democratic government
  • Rules for suffrage, or franchise, and rules for
    counting ballots and electoral systems define
    process
  • Who can vote
  • How much each vote counts
  • How many votes needed to win
  • No nation has universal suffrage

22
Expansion of Suffrage
  • U.S. first to hold mass elections, but suffrage
    limited by states
  • Initially only landowners or taxpayers
  • By 1850s, all working-class males
  • Suffrage for blacks and women took longer

23
The Enfranchisement of Blacks
  • Even with passage of Fifteenth Amendment after
    Civil War, some states resisted
  • Poll taxes, literacy tests, white primary, and
    violence all deterrents
  • Supreme Court rulings supporting black suffrage
    began with Smith v. Allwright (1944) later
    Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections
    (1966)
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

24
Figure 7.2Voter Registration in the South, 1960,
1980, and 2000
25
The Enfranchisement of Women
  • Women could not vote anywhere in world until 1869
  • First to grant women vote in U.S.
  • Wyoming Territory in 1869
  • Equal Rights Party formed in 1884
  • Women gained national right to vote in 1920 with
    Nineteenth Amendment

26
The Fight for Womens Suffrageand Against It
27
Evaluating the Expansion of Suffrage in America
  • Last major expansion was
  • 26th Amendment in 1971
  • Lowered voting age to 18
  • Though process towards generally universal
    suffrage slow, U.S. still ahead of many other
    countries, including other democracies

28
Voting on Policies
  • Political power comes with suffrage
  • Progressivism flourished from 1900 to 1925
    proposed several electoral changes
  • Direct primary
  • Recall
  • Referendum
  • Initiative
  • Not clear if these opportunities improve policies
    made by elected representatives

29
Figure 7.3Westward Ho!
30
Voting for Candidates
  • Serves democratic government two ways
  • Voters can choose candidate they think will best
    represent their interests
  • Voting allows citizens to re-elect candidates or
    vote them out of office
  • U.S. government has few elected officials
    compared to state and local governments
  • U.S. has more frequent and varied elections than
    any other country in the world but lower voter
    turnout than many

31
Explaining Political Participation
  • Political participation can be
  • Conventional or unconventional
  • Require little or require much initiative
  • Serve to support government or influence its
    decisions
  • People who participate in one way may not
    participate in others

32
Patterns of Political Participation Over Time
  • Generally, Americans participation is stable
    over time
  • Socioeconomic status a good indicator of most
    types of participation
  • Income
  • Education (most important)
  • Occupation
  • Age, race, and gender also important

33
Figure 7.4Effects of Education on Political
Participation
34
Low Voter Turnout in America
  • Difficult to explain decline in voter turnout in
    America
  • 26th Amendment (younger voters tend not to vote)
  • Belief that government no longer responsive to
    citizens
  • Change in attitude about political parties
  • Register to vote at Rock the Vote
    http//www.rockthevote.com/

35
Figure 7.5The Decline of Voter Turnout An
Unsolved Puzzle
36
U.S. Turnout Versus Turnout in Other Countries
  • Differences in voting laws and administrative
    machinery affect voter turnout in the U.S.
  • Tuesday Election Day not a public holiday
  • Burdensome registration procedures
  • Political parties not tied to certain groups
  • Most elections not particularly competitive
  • Large number of elections and candidates means
    difficult for voters to educate selves

37
Participation and Freedom, Equality, Order
  • Participation and freedom key in
  • normative theory
  • Citizens free to participate when and how they
    want (or not)
  • Citizens free to use personal resources
  • to pursue any legal means to influence
    government decisions

38
Participation and Freedom, Equality, and Order
  • Participation and equality requires that each
    citizens ability to influence government be
    equal to every other citizen
  • Differences in resources should not matter
  • Elections serve ideal of equality best
  • Groups can band together to increase influence

39
Participation and Freedom, Equality, Order
  • Relationship between participation order is
  • complicated
  • Some types of participation promote order
    others, disorder
  • Political system more threatened by
    unconventional participation
  • 26th Amendment effort to bring order to
  • Vietnam War protests

40
Participation Models of Democracy
  • Elections implement democracy by allowing
    citizens to choose among candidates and issues
  • Elections socialize political activity
  • Elections institutionalize access to political
    power
  • Elections bolster the states power and authority
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