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Political Parties

Political Parties. Political Party: a group of people organized to influence government through winning elections and setting public policy. I. Role of Political Parties:. Run Candidates for office. Inform voters of the issues. Organize the voters. Govern. Watchdog. Running Candidates.

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Political Parties

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  1. Political Parties

  2. Political Party: a group of people organized to influence government through winning elections and setting public policy.

  3. I. Role of Political Parties: • Run Candidates for office. • Inform voters of the issues. • Organize the voters. • Govern. • Watchdog.

  4. Running Candidates • Nominating: reduce choices to manageable level “Primaries” • Open and closed (CA is a closed primary State) • Bonding Agent: guarantee nominees aren’t criminals and are capable of governing

  5. Informing Voters • Create Platforms (issues) • Often created at national convention (esp. during Presidential campaigns) or by party national committee (DNC, RNC) • Campaigning • Pamphlets, grassroots, speeches, photo-ops • Fund raising

  6. Organize Voters • Party identification • Registering to vote • National, State, local organizations

  7. The political party is organized from the bottom up: National Party State Party Local Party Grassroots “Party in the Electorate”

  8. Party Structure 1. Party organization 2. Party in the electorate 3. Party in government

  9. Decentralized and based on federalism • President’s party tends to be better organized and unified (“bully pulpit”) • National (DNC, RNC) • National convention, national committee, national chairperson, Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, RCCC) • State and Local • Set by State and local law/tradition • Precinct and wards (“ward boss”)

  10. Govern • Government by party • Negotiate, communicate between branches and between national and State • Partisanship; “Bi-partisan” • Relatively weak compared to Europe

  11. Watchdog • Party in Power • Party out of power • Criticizes part in power in attempt to gain power • “Throw the rascals out!” • “The Loyal Opposition”

  12. II. Political Party History in the USA . . .

  13. The USA has had a two-party system throughout its history: third parties occasionally emerge, but usually, most elected officials come from one of the two major parties.

  14. Reasons for Two-Party Dominance • Historical basis • Force of tradition • Electoral system • Single-member district • Winner-take-all • Election law: 5% requirement, campaign finance laws, primaries, getting on the ballot

  15. Reasons for Two-Party Dominance • “American Ideological Consensus” • Pluralistic society • Nation of immigrants • “Un-Americanism”

  16. The First Party System: 1796 - 1828 Federalists & Democratic-Republicans

  17. Federalists • Supported the Constitution. • Supported the George Washington Administration as led by Alexander Hamilton. • Favored Order over Liberty.

  18. Democratic-Republicans • Many had been Anti-Federalists, opponents of the Constitution. • Symbolic leader: Thomas Jefferson. • Ironically, a major leader was James Madison. Madison joined because he disliked the policies of Hamilton. • Favored Liberty over Order • Democrats are one of continuously running political parties in the world

  19. Legitimate Opposition • Important point: Both parties considered political parties to be factions and wanted to eliminate parties altogether. • The Democratic-Republicans, however, switched to seeing their party as part of the legitimate opposition (a group that keeps those in power honest) and began to accept political parties as a necessary evil.

  20. Jacksonian Democrats Emerge: 1828 - 1860 Democrats v. Whigs

  21. Jackson and Van Buren • The Democrats dominated politics by: • Building around populism of Jackson (war hero, “common man”) • Advocating universal white male suffrage • Establishing party institutions • Party as positive good

  22. After three consecutive presidents from the Democratic-Republican Party, the Federalists dissolved -- their successor was the Whig Party. Meanwhile, under Andrew Jackson, the Democrats (dropping the Republican name) continued in the White House.

  23. The Republican Era: 1860 - 1932 Democrats v. Republicans

  24. The Whigs divided over the issue of slavery; a third party, the Republicans, nominated Abraham Lincoln, and he was elected President; the Civil War resulted . . .

  25. …and with the defeat of the South the Republican party dominated politics for almost 80 years. • The Radical Republicans pushed through Radical Reconstruction (13, 14, 15 Amendments). • The Republican Party becomes the party of Civil Rights until…

  26. The Compromise of 1877 • Weakened by the issue of continuing Reconstruction in the South, the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes loses the popular vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden but the electoral vote was disputed (Florida): • Hayes makes a deal: the Republicans will win the election in return for removing Federal troops from the South and ending Reconstruction.

  27. Democratic Re-emergence 1932 - 1968 The New Deal Democrats

  28. New Deal Coalition: urban workers, southern whites, immigrants, Catholics, northern blacks • Truman (desegregation armed forces 1948): Democrats party of civil rights

  29. The Era of Divided Government: 1968 - Present Democrats v. Republicans

  30. Civil Rights Movement splinters New Deal Coalition • Johnson: 1964 Civil Rights Act: we have lost the South for a generation • Solid South: switches to Republicans • Vietnam: further splinters Democrats divided government

  31. Democrats tend to be liberal, while Republicans tend to be conservative : Liberal: favor the use of governmental power to promote individual liberties and social progress. Conservative: favors the traditional; the status quo, and the idea that the government should stay out of the affairs of its citizens.

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