POLITICAL SCIENCE DISCUSSION INITIAL POST

Ch_9_PoliticalParties.pptx

Political Parties
Chapter 9

Role of Parties
Functions of political parties
Credible check on opposition
Promote different ideas and candidates
Responsible party model
A proposal for party reform
Emphasizes cohesive party positions
Presents voters with a clear set of choices
Allows members’ voices to be effectively incorporated into party positions on issues
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POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTORAL POLITICS
Parties fulfill different roles for different actors.
Parties simplify voters’ electoral choices.
Parties help candidates gain political power.
Parties provide elected officials with a common set of principles that help them govern.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Role of Parties
V.O. Key Jr. three primary roles of political parties
Finding, supporting, and nominating candidates for office
Decentralization of parties
National and state party leadership
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Recruiting and Supporting Candidates
Recruitment
The process through which political parties identify potential candidates
Nomination process
Support of party delegates
Presidential primary elections
Open or closed primaries
Caucus
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Recruiting and Supporting Candidates
Front-loading
National conventions
Superdelegates and awarding delegates
Effectiveness of parties
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Parties as Labels
Serve as informational shortcuts
Difference between political ideology and party identification
Changing identification with political parties
Split-ticket voting
When a voter chooses a candidate from one party for one office and a candidate from a different party for another position on the ballot
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Defining Features of Parties in Government Today
Party platform
A set of positions and policy objectives that members of a political party agree to
Gridlock from political polarization
Disinterest in cooperation, focus on criticizing opponents
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Party Ideology
Today the Democratic and Republican parties are far more ideological than in the past.
This polarization has been driven by interest-group and party elites and is reflected in a more ideological voting public.
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Two-Party Dominance
Party systems
Periods of stability of the composition of political parties and the issues around which they coalesce, brought on by shorter periods of intense change

Two-Party Dominance
Four factors led to the U.S. two-party system.
United States employs a single-member district or winner-take-all system in elections.
Americans downplay class or ethnic differences, reducing the attraction of parties that target specific groups.
State laws make it difficult for new parties to gain access to the ballot.
Public financing of campaigns favors established parties.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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America’s Electoral System Leads to Two-Party Dominance
Single-member plurality system
A candidate must win the most votes in a state or district in order to be represented in government
Allows the largest politically cohesive groups to elect almost every office
Proportional representation systems
Parties are represented in government according to their candidates’ overall share of the vote
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Two-Party Dominance
Realignment
A major shift in allegiance to the political parties that is often driven by changes in the issues that unite or divide voters
Critical election
A major national election that signals a change either in the balance of power between two major parties or the emergence of a new party system
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Two-Party Dominance
The periodic changes in the strength, composition, and direction of parties are known as realignments.
Scholars’ differing theories as to the causes for realignment include generational changes, critical elections, and transforming events.
Dealignment is a competing theory that asserts that both parties are losing their relevance and that the American voter is indifferent to the major parties.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Challengers to the Two Major Parties
Third party
A political party operating over a limited period of time in competition with two other major parties
Focus on a single issue neglected by major parties
2000 election: Ralph Nader
Work from major parties to discourage third-party candidates
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Challengers to the Two Major Parties
Third parties or independent candidacies usually arise in periods of great change or crisis.
Splinter parties break away from one of the major parties.
Ideological parties are committed to an ideological position different from most voters.
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Challengers to the Two Major Parties
Single issue or candidate parties arise around an issue or a strong personality.
Obstacles for these parties and candidates include getting on the ballot, organizing supporters, and generating sufficient funding.
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Party Organization
Each party has a national committee made up of members from each of the state parties.
In recent years, fundraising has been one of the primary functions of the national committees.
The national committee is also an important source of information and expertise.
National party platforms often reflect the priorities of interests groups rather than the average party supporter.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Party Organization
Each party maintains organizations to elect candidates to the House and Senate.
State parties have organizations somewhat parallel to national parties.
National and state organizations often integrate their party activities.
State parties have become more professionalized and have improved their ability to raise money.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Party Organization
Local party organizations have declined in importance, but many still recruit candidates and organize and run campaigns for local offices.
The level of organization that comes closest to the voter is the precinct—the area serving as a polling district for a part of the population.
© 2015-2016 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Ch_10_CampaignsAndElections.pptx

CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS Candidates and Voters in an Era of Demographic Change
Chapter 10

Safeguarding the Election System
Framers did not want the system to be “too democratic”.
Built roadblocks to slow down the transmission of the “passions of the people” into public policy.
Senators initially chosen by state legislatures rather than election by the people.
Complicated process to elect presidents that goes way beyond pure democracy or direct election.
Safeguard against factions – separation of powers and checks and balances system.
Time, place and manner of elections is the prerogative of the state under the constitutional system.

Functions of Elections
Elections are the key way in which Americans keep their elected officials in line.
Threat of voting out incumbents.
Retrospective voting – voting based on past performance of incumbent.
Elections help define or change the national agenda as candidates respond to growing electoral and political power of voters whose agenda-setting preferences may not have been as thoroughly noticed or considered.
Elections give legitimacy to laws passed and public policies enacted in the minds of Americans.
Participation in electoral system may serve to remind Americans of their rights and liberties and the need to protect them.

POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTORAL POLITICS
Parties fulfill different roles for different actors.
Parties simplify voters’ electoral choices.
Parties help candidates gain political power.
Parties provide elected officials with a common set of principles that help them govern.

POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTORAL POLITICS
Four factors led to the U.S. two-party system.
United States employs a single-member district or winner-take-all system in elections.
The Atlantic Video: Why Can’t Third Parties Take Off?
Americans downplay class or ethnic differences, reducing the attraction of parties that target specific groups.
State laws make it difficult for new parties to gain access to the ballot.
Public financing of campaigns favors established parties.

THIRD PARTIES AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDACIES
Third parties or independent candidacies usually arise in periods of great change or crisis.
Splinter parties break away from one of the major parties.
Ideological parties are committed to an ideological position different from most voters.

CANDIDATES AND ELECTORAL POLITICS
Candidates devote a large part of their time to raising money.
Sources of campaign funding include private donors, political action committees, the Internet, and sometimes the candidate.
Major campaign expenses include advertising, polling, market research, hiring staff, and renting a headquarters.

What Money Buys
Largest campaign expenditure is on media time on television, radio, in print and in social media.
Use of negative campaign ads is rising and some experts believe they actually serve a purpose.
Efforts to mobilize voters or potential voters – Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts cost money.
Candidates (particularly incumbents) must have sizable war chest to discourage challengers.

Campaign Contributions in National Elections
American national elections are rather unique among democratic nations because they occur at fixed and regular schedules.
In national campaigns, money can be used to purchase advertising, mobilize voters and supporters, and discourage potential challengers from entering a race.
Certain federal efforts to control or restrain campaign finance have been found to be constitutionally permissible, while others have been modified or rejected.

Can Campaign Contributions Be Regulated?
Long struggle between activists, the Supreme Court and the federal government
Federal Election Campaign Act & Federal Election Commission established in 1970s
New oversight and limits on campaign contributions and spending.
Buckley v. Valeo – Congress upholds constitutionality of restrictions on campaign contributions by individuals.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) 2002
Stricter limits on campaign contributions
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Struck down portions of BCRA by ruling that independent, uncoordinated political speech by corporations during political campaigns is protected speech under 1st Amendment.
Growth of “Super PACs” with unlimited spending power

Elections
Primary elections allow voters to choose who will lead their parties in the general elections.
Different types (e.g. open, closed, top two)
General elections decide on the person that will ultimately serve in office

GETTING ELECTED
The electoral environment is somewhat different in midterm elections.
Draw fewer voters than presidential elections.
Only the most committed partisans are likely to vote in midterm races.
President’s party usually loses seats in Congress during midterm elections.

GETTING ELECTED
Getting elected to Congress requires considerable resources of time and money.
This means wealthy individuals are much more likely to run for office.
Candidates are probably more aware of the needs of wealthy donors than those of average voters.

GETTING ELECTED
Incumbents are extremely difficult to unseat.
Enjoy fundraising advantages over challengers
Have greater visibility and name recognition
Enjoy free mailing (franking) privileges
Can get free media exposure by sponsoring legislation
Can offer specific help (casework) to constituents

Congressional Campaigns: The Role of Constituency and Incumbency
Congressional incumbents possess many advantages in seeking reelection, which often drives credible challengers to wait for an open seat election.
The rules of congressional elections vary by state, and these differences can affect candidate strategies.
The re-drawing of congressional district lines, typically following a census, can be a very political process in state politics, and can have significant electoral consequences.
Occasionally, the process of redistricting is designed to benefit certain groups of voters, such as those of minority racial or ethnic identity.
GERRYMANDERING!

APPORTIONMENT
Apportionment is the process of determining the number of Congressional representatives for each state using Census data
The Constitution prescribes reapportionment, or reallocation, of seats in Congress every 10 years on the basis of the latest census.
Population within each district must be relatively equal.
Number of seats is fixed (435), so some states gain seats while others lose seats.
For a state (like Texas) to get new Congressional districts, another state (like Michigan) must lose Congressional districts.

REDISTRICTING
Redistricting involves states’ redrawing of the electoral boundaries for Congressional seats following each Census
When districts are redrawn to create a partisan advantage, the process is called gerrymandering.
Citizens can sue to prevent redistricting that gives one group an unfair advantage.
Majority–minority district: A district in which voters of a minority ethnicity constitute an electoral majority within the electoral district.
Majority-minority districts are made by fitting together pockets of minority populations to enhance the chances of electing minority candidates.
Supreme Court ruled that race cannot be the sole factor used in redrawing district boundaries.
Can lead to malapportionment where districts are not representative of population.
Interactive Redistricting Map Measuring Gerrymandering

Ch_11_InterestGroups.pptx

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