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American Government and Politics Today

American Government and Politics Today

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American Government and Politics Today

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  1. American Government and Politics Today Chapter 8 Political Parties

  2. What is a Political Party? • Definition: a group of political activists who organize to win elections, to operate the government, and to determine public policy. • Parties versus interest groups • Parties control • IG influence

  3. Functions of Political Parties • Recruit candidates to run for elective offices at all levels of government • Mobilize citizens to vote and participate in elections • Bear the responsibility of operating government at all levels • Providing organized opposition to the party in power is an essential role for a party that does not control one or another branch of the government.

  4. History of Political Parties • The Formative Years: Federalists and Anti-Federalists • The Era of Good Feelings • National Two-Party Rule: Whigs and Democrats • The Civil War Crisis • The Post-Civil War Period • “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” • The Triumph of the Republicans

  5. History of Political Parties • The Progressive Interlude • The New Deal Era • An Era of Divided Government • In the years after 1968, the general pattern was often a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. • 2000 Presidential Election (Red state-blue state)

  6. Election 1896 p. 257

  7. Election 2004 p. 259

  8. The Two Major Parties Today • The parties’ core constituents • Economic beliefs • Recent economic convergence? • Republican and Democratic Budgets • Democrats have the reputation of supporting the less-well-off, and Republicans the prosperous.

  9. p. 261

  10. The Three Faces of a Party 1-The people who identify with the party or who regularly vote for the candidates of the party in general elections 2-Party organization • National • Convention delegates • National Committee • National Chairperson

  11. Three Faces of a Party (cont.) • State party organization • Local (grass roots) organization • Patronage and City Machines • Local Party Organizations Today • 3-The Party in Government • Divided Government • The Limits of Party Unity • Party Polarization

  12. Questions for Critical Thinking • Do democratic governments need political parties? If a democratic government has political parties, will the structure always be a two-party system? What factors impact how many political parties will exist? • Is party identification a major factor for voters in presidential elections?

  13. Why Has the Two Party System Endured? • Often, on major issues confronting the country there have been two clear sides. This duality helped to initiate a two-party system and has maintained this system through the present. • Political socialization and practical considerations • The Winner-Take-All Electoral System • Presidential Voting • Popular Election of the Governors and President • Proportional Representation • State and Federal Laws Favoring the Two Parties

  14. The Role of Minor Parties in U.S. Politics • Ideological Third Parties • Splinter Parties • The Impact of Minor Parties • Influencing the Major Parties • Affecting the Outcome of an Election

  15. Most Successful Third Party Campaigns. P. 274

  16. p. 275

  17. Mechanisms of Political Change • Realignment: a process in which a substantial group of voters switches party allegiance, producing a long-term change in the political landscape. • The Myth of Dominance • The Myth of Predictability • Is Realignment Still Possible? • Dealignment: a major drop-off in support for the parties. • Independent Voters • Not-So-Independent Voters • Tipping

  18. Party Identification: 1937-Present p. 279

  19. Questions for Critical Thinking • Why is it difficult for independent candidates or minor party candidates to get elected to Congress? • What inferences can be made about the voting population through the closely divided elections of 2000 and 2004?