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POLS 21

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POLS 21

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  1. POLS 21 Political Parties “Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life rafts.” —Eugene McCarthy

  2. Two Opposing Views Parties are dangerous and divisive Parties are absolutely indispensible

  3. “The rise of political parties is indubitably one of the principle distinguishing marks of modern government. The parties, in fact, have played a major role as makers of democratic government… Political parties created democracy, and… modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of parties.” —E.E. Schattschneider vs. “[The spirit of party] serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the Public administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one party against another, foments occasional riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.” —George Washington

  4. There is no constitutional sanction for political parties. Many of the nation’s early leaders were openly hostile to the very idea of parties. Still, most political scientists embrace political parties as an essential component of American government. Are political parties good or badfor democracy?

  5. Parties provide a short-hand cue for voting Parties mobilize support and aggregate power Parties promote stability Parties provide for unity, linkage and accountability Parties recruit, train, and fund political candidates Parties formulate public policy Parties promote civic virtue Political Parties What functions do they perform?

  6. Party-in-government Party-as-organization “Tripartite” view of American political parties Party-in-the- electorate

  7. The Responsible Party Model Notice that each of these questions presents a TESTABLE HYPOTHESIS. Does the “responsible party model” work in practice? • Parties have a clear platform of issue positions. • All candidates run for election on the basis of their party’s platform. • Voters cast ballots based on the issues presented in the platform. • Once elected, the majority party enacts their platform • Voters hold the majority party accountable for the outcome.

  8. But… • Do parties have clear issue positions? • Do voters accurately understand party differences? • Do campaigns focus on parties and issues, or candidates? • Do candidates run as party members, or as individuals? • Do voters hold elected officials accountable for outcomes?

  9. The American Two-Party System The institutional explanation • Duverger’s Law • The Electoral College • Ballot access restrictions • Campaign finance laws • Downs and the median voter model • Voter socialization Historical and cultural explanations

  10. What do these terms mean? • Liberal[lib-er-uh l] : Open-minded or tolerant, especially free and not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc. • conservative[kuh n-sur-vuh-tiv] : Disposed to preserve existing conditions, and institutions, or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

  11. X

  12. Political Ideology A Working Definition • LIBERALISM: Values cultural diversity, government programs for the needy, public intervention in the economy, and individuals’ right to a lifestyle based on their own social and moral positions. • CONSERVATISM: Belief in reduced government spending, personal responsibility, traditional moral values, and a strong national defense. LIBERAL MODERATE CONSERVATIVE Is a single dimension really adequate?

  13. Government Control Social and political conservatives favor broad government regulation of individual behavior CONSERVATIVE STATIST SOCIAL POLICY CENTRIST LIBERAL LIBERTARIAN Social and political liberals favor limited government regulation of individual behavior Government Control Freedom ECONOMIC POLICY Economic conservatives favor fiscal responsibility and limited government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business Economic liberals favor spending and broad government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business

  14. Government Control Social and political conservatives favor broad government regulation of individual behavior “These days, you can’t be too careful. I think we need to spend a lot more money on the national security. I wish there was a police officer on every corner! The police could search my car all they want, since I don’t break the law. I also think the government should crack down on the media—their reporting gives our enemies an inside look at all our military preparations.” “I really don’t care what other people do in their free time, as long as they don’t bother me. I sure don’t like it when the government tells me what to do with my money or in my own home—I’m certainly not going to turn around and do the same thing to my neighbors.” “I worked my way up from poverty to become the successful business owner that I am today. I get frustrated when I think that my tax money goes to support people who won’t help themselves. I think part of the blame belongs with the media—they promote all the wrong values.” “I really worry about the state of the world today. It seems like more and more kids are growing up in poverty and there’s no one to help them. I think we need to do more toward providing health care and education programs for young people.” CONSERVATIVE STATIST SOCIAL POLICY CENTRIST LIBERAL LIBERTARIAN Social and political liberals favor limited government regulation of individual behavior Government Control Freedom ECONOMIC POLICY Economic conservatives favor fiscal responsibility and limited government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business Economic liberals favor spending and broad government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business

  15. R D R D R D D [We] want to get our society back on track-toward good schools with great teachers, welfare that really helps, and health care responsive to the needs of people, not government. We want to make sure our most important programs-like Social Security and Medicare-are there when people need them. We need a smaller, more effective, more efficient, less bureaucratic government that reflects our time-honored values. The American people do not want big government solutions and they do not want empty promises. They want a government that is for them, not against them; that doesn't interfere with their lives but enhances their quality of life. Our purpose in welfare reform is not to save money but to bring into the mainstream of American life those who now are on the margins of our society and our economy. Government's job should be to give people the tools they need to make the most of their own lives. Americans must take the responsibility to use them, to build good lives for themselves and their families. Personal responsibility is the most powerful force we have to meet our challenges and shape the future we want for ourselves, for our children, and for America. We reaffirm our commitment to agricultural progress, environmental improvement, and the prudent development of our natural resources. Our goal is to continue the progress we have made to achieve a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for all Americans - and to pass on to our children and grandchildren a better environment than we have today. We believe in equal opportunity for all, and special privileges for none. Which party used these two keywords in their slogan: Opportunity and Responsibility?

  16. Government Control FOREIGN POLICY? Social and political conservatives favor broad government regulation of individual behavior Republican Party G.W. Bush? “Pro-Cons” “Mod Squad” SOCIAL POLICY “Blue Dog” Democrats DLC Democratic Party Bill Clinton Social and political liberals favor limited government regulation of individual behavior Government Control Freedom ECONOMIC POLICY Economic conservatives favor fiscal responsibility and limited government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business Economic liberals favor spending and broad government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business

  17. TEA PARTY: The movement began in 2009 as a reaction against the bailout of Wall Street banks and President Obama’s stimulus package. Today, it represents a small fraction of fiscally conservative Republicans who are so ideologically opposed to the Affordable Care Act that they think it’s worth a government shutdown and potential default on the nation’s debts.

  18. Government Control FOREIGN POLICY? Social and political conservatives favor broad government regulation of individual behavior Republican Party G.W. Bush? “Pro-Cons” “Mod Squad” SOCIAL POLICY “Blue Dog” Democrats DLC Democratic Party Bill Clinton Social and political liberals favor limited government regulation of individual behavior Government Control Freedom ECONOMIC POLICY Economic conservatives favor fiscal responsibility and limited government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business Economic liberals favor spending and broad government involvement in economic policymaking and regulation of business

  19. Political Ideology vs. Partisan Identification Percent responding Percent responding Extremely Liberal Moderate Extremely Conservative Strong Democrat Strong Republican Independent

  20. 2012 Election Results by State

  21. Partisan Identification “Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?” “Would you call yourself a strong [DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN] or a not very strong [DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN]?” [IF INDEPENDENT, NO PREFERENCE, or OTHER] “Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or to the Democratic Party?” Do all Independents belong in the middle of the political spectrum? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strong Democrat Weak Democrat Lean Democrat Independent Lean Republican Weak Republican Strong Republican

  22. Trends in Partisan Identification, 1952-2008Excluding “Leaners” Source: National Election Studies, various years.

  23. A Rise in Independents? • Not all respondents classified as “Independents” label themselves that way. • Most independents are, in fact, “hidden” partisans.

  24. Each of these respondents was ultimately classified as an “Independent.” • “Nothing in that respect. I don’t consider myself anything politically.” • “I ain’t none of them.” • “None.” • “Not anything.” • [Laughs] “You should call me nothing.” • “No preference.” • “I don’t think of myself as anything.” • “It depends.” • “I’m an American.” • “May the best man win. It’s the best candidate.” • “I’m someone who believes in what I believe is a good man who will do the most for the country.” • I’m not a Republican, not a Democrat, not an Independent, and not a Communist.” • I’m nothing. I don’t holler about it.” • [Interviewer asks if the respondent would call himself an Independent.] “You don’t mean one of those minority groups?” • “Oh hell, I don’t know.”

  25. Party Identifiers Voting for Their Party’s Presidential Candidate

  26. Trends in Partisan Identification, 1952-2008Including “Leaners” Is there room for a third party? Source: National Election Studies, various years.

  27. Trends in Partisan Identification, 1952-2008

  28. Third Parties in America

  29. Winner-take-all elections Ballot access Fundraising Media attention Presidential debate participation Barriers to Entry NADER ENTERS RACE, REJECTING LABEL OF POTENTIAL ‘SPOILER’ WASHINGTON--Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, widely blamed by Demcrats for siphoning votes from Al Gore in 2000 and thereby helping George W. Bush win the White House, announced yesterday that he will run for president again this fall. The Boston Globe, Febuary 25, 2008

  30. Access to Presidential Debates The Commission on Presidential Debates selects candidates on the basis of the following criteria: • Evidence of Constitutional eligibility • Must be at 35 years of age; • Must be natural born citizen, and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years; • Must be otherwise eligible under the Constitution; • Evidence of ballot access • The candidate must qualify to have his/her name appear on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority; • Indicators of Electoral support • The candidate must have a level or support of at least 15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations; Is this fair to third party and Independent candidates? Do we set the bar too high?

  31. The “Spoiler” Effect

  32. Which Third Party? • Centrist issues: budget deficits, political reform • Leftist issues: Universal health care, global warming • Rightist issues: Immigration, social conservatism, taxes and spending Ryan Lizza asks: “Why hasn’t there been a serious attempt to start a third party since Perot?”