1 / 21

Political Parties

Political Parties. POSC 121 Braunwarth. Political Parties. Groups of people who join together to win political office The U.S. has a Two-Party System Why is our electoral system dominated by only two parties?. Two, and only two, Parties.

Télécharger la présentation

Political Parties

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Political Parties POSC 121 Braunwarth

  2. Political Parties • Groups of people who join together to win political office • The U.S. has a Two-Party System • Why is our electoral system dominated by only two parties?

  3. Two, and only two, Parties • Both are well established so they have organization, leadership, and financial networks in place • Once in power, use resources to stay in power • Dominate media coverage and debates • Something of a self-fulfilling prophecy • But the primary reason we only have two viable parties is because of the way we add up votes

  4. Plurality Voting • We elect representatives in “winner-take-all” races from single-member districts • “First-Past-the-Post” FPTP system • Subsequently, in order to win, a candidate needs to get more votes than anybody else (not necessarily a majority) • As more voters are centrist rather than ideologically extreme, parties move their ideological position to the center to capture more voters

  5. Plurality Voting • What you will always end up with is: • Two parties clinging to centrist positions to maximize their appeal to voters in accordance with Duverger’s Law • As the two parties try to attract middle/ undecided voters they try to not appear to ideologically extreme • This leads to an emphasis on image, scandal, and personal attacks rather than substantive political debate

  6. Asymmetrical Polarization • We have become more polarized • Especially the Republicans • Makes a sensible middle course more unlikely

  7. Two-Party System • If you stumbled upon this game of tug-of-war and decided to play, would you help one of the two groups pictured or would you attach a rope of your own to the center and start pulling? • Many political scientist argue that the winner-take-all system encourages people to join existing parties if those parties are more likely to actually win elections. • Do you agree?

  8. Big Tent • Because all voters are theoretically represented by only two parties • Each party needs a “Big Tent” to hold all the guests

  9. Republicans • What voting blocks do Republicans typically “capture”? • Upper-Income • Whites • Married Men • Religious Right • Rural/Suburban

  10. Democrats • What blocks of voters do the Democrats typically “capture”? • Lower-Income • African-American • Single Women • Environmentalists • Urban • Religious Left

  11. Republican Challenges • Heart and Soul of the Republican party has been the “red state” voters who are afraid of terrorism and are concerned about “traditional values” • But economic program of the party continues to favor the economic elite – tax cuts, privatizing social security, etc. • These are not “natural” allies and is a potential source of dissatisfaction

  12. Democrat Challenges • Democrats have their own internal divisions but have had more difficulty framing the political debate • Republicans have been successful with “tax relief,” the “death tax,” “stay the course” in the “war on terror” • Democrats need to move beyond defending their position in these terms • Need to “reframe” the debate; i.e. taxes as “dues” or “membership fees”, gay marriage as “government telling you who you can marry” • Challenge is getting people to change how people think about these things

  13. Parties-in-the-Electorate • Just over 60% of Americans identify themselves as Democrat or Republican • Only 1/3 of Independents really are, the rest are “closet” Democrats or Republicans • In general, more people identify themselves as Democrats

  14. Parties as Organizations • Parties: • Recruit and Train Candidates • Mobilize voters • Sponsor Platforms • Formal Statements of Party Principles and Issue Positions • Provide Cues to Voters on how to Vote

  15. Parties-in-the-Government • Government is organized by parties • Allows rule by ideological blocs • Politicians are also dependent on ideological constituencies that demand total loyalty • Politicians increasing march in unison and “on message”

  16. Partisan De-Alignment (U.S.) • How many of you are members of a political party? • Do you feel strongly about that party? • Elections have become more candidate-centered • Parties used to be more important • Used to provide services, shaped identities, etc. (like competing schools) • Parties are still important in the organization of government and the creation of policy

  17. Historical Roots of CA Progressive Movement • Late 19th c. California politics dominated by the Southern Pacific Railroad • Characterized by political corruption and economic exploitation • Controlled the party nomination process • After particularly abusive election of 1906, sentiment against the SP grew • 1908 voters approved constitutional amendment permitting direct primary • Ushered in the Progressive Movement

  18. CA Political Parties • Because CA parties were corrupted by the Southern Pacific Railroad • Progressive reforms targeted parties • Corrupt Party Politics often stood in way of the best, technical solution so progressives implemented a number of other reforms that had the overall effect of particularly weakening CA parties • Unintentionally strengthened the power of unaccountable interest groups who filled the power vacuum

  19. Progressive Party Reforms • Nonpartisan local elections (is there a Republican technique to filling potholes?) • Civil Service instead of Party Patronage “Cronyism” • Implemented use of professionals: City Manager, City Planning Commission, etc. • Limited the power of parties to endorse candidates • Imposed fundraising restrictions

  20. Redistricting • Boundaries of CA Assembly, CA Senate and US Congressional seats are redrawn every 10 years to reflect population changes • Who does it? • Each branch draws its own plan and collaborates on the Congressional plan • The Governor can veto (powerful) • Do Parties play a role? • Yes, very political process • Recently, essentially incumbent protection plans without competitive districts

  21. Congress • How close is the difference between parties in Congress? • Very tight • Every seat counts • Redistricting plan is closely watched by both parties

More Related