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Political Parties

Political Parties

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Political Parties

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Presentation Transcript

  1. Political Parties Teams of people competing to win public office or influence public policy This presentation is the property of Dr. Kevin Parsneau for use by him and his current students. No other person may use or reprint without his permission.

  2. Are political parties “factions” or mechanisms for unity and action? • What is a political party and why do we have them? • How do parties work in the ideal world? •  Why does the U.S. have a two-party system? •  What role do third parties have in the U.S. system?

  3. Political Parties • Definition(s): a team of people seeking to win office or influence public policy through elections (not to be confused with revolutionary parties that may not use elections or seek to gain office).

  4. Three Aspects of Parties • Political Parties • Party in organization • Party in the electorate • Party in government • These can be seen as ways to look at parties or parts of the parties

  5. Some Important Party Groups • Democratic National Committee • D.N.C. Chair and Members • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee • Republican National Committee • R.N.C. Chair and Members • National Republican Congressional Committee • National Republican Senatorial Committee

  6. Why do we have parties? • Party Labels • Electoral Coordination • Legislative Coordination • Laws and Rules • Voter Mobilization

  7. How do parties work in the ideal world? • Responsible Party Government: the theory that political parties are necessary and good for democracy because they are the means for voters to hold government accountable. It argues that parties advocate clearly different policies, and they try to promote successful policies because voters will reward or punish them based upon their performance in office.

  8. Problems w/ RPG • Rarity of unified government • Parties don’t articulate clear policy choices • Candidates win based on individual appeal and fundraising independent of parties • No strong enforcement mechanisms to make them stick to the platform • Checks and balances and assigning credit/blame • Federalism and assigning credit/blame

  9. Why does the U.S. have only two parties? • Natural • Ballot access • Coopting • Duverger's Law

  10. Duverger’s Law • Duverger’s Law: Single-member, winner-takes-all districts discourage third parties by squeezing out any party is not a viable threat to win a plurality in the election.  

  11. Third Parties Famous Third Parties • Populist Party—1892 William Jennings Bryant • Progressive Party—1912 Theodore Roosevelt • Socialist Party—1900 Eugene Debs • American Indep. Party—1968 George Wallace • Libertarian Party—1971 • Green Party—1984 Ralph Nader • Reform Party—1995 H. Ross Perot

  12. Third Parties Types of Third Parties • Fracture Parties • Ideological Parties • Personality Parties • Single Issue Parties

  13. Third Parties Strategies of Third Parties • Displace a major party • Pressure major parties • Suggest a new way • Raise important issues • Register a protest vote

  14. Some thoughts • Political parties may have a invidious effect • Democracies seem unthinkable except in terms of political parties • Parties are elected officials, party workers and supporters among the public. • Parties work in an ideal, but we do not match the ideal • The U.S has a two-party system • Conscious choice by parties • Institutional arrangements and Duverger’s Law • Third Parties have a role