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Chapter 8

Chapter 8. Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns: Defining the Voter’s Choice. Political Parties. “Political parties created democracy and … modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties.” -E.E. Schattschneider -

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Chapter 8

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  1. Chapter 8 Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns: Defining the Voter’s Choice

  2. Political Parties “Political parties created democracy and … modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties.” -E.E. Schattschneider- • The history of democratic government is virtually synonymous with the history of political parties

  3. Political Parties • The first American political parties emerged from the conflict • between small farmers and states’ rights advocates • those favoring commercial and wealthy interests • Political parties serve to • educate the public • recruit candidates • formulate platforms • link the public with its elected leaders • enable people with different backgrounds and opinions to act together • offer the public a choice between policies and leaders • narrow voters’ electoral options

  4. Party Competition and Majority Rule: The History of U.S. Parties • The first parties • George Washington- • Warned of the “baneful effects” of factions (political parties) • Thomas Jefferson vs. Alexander Hamilton • Hamilton • Federalists • Jefferson • Democratic-Republicans • transforms into Democrats

  5. Party Competition and Majority Rule:The History of U.S. Parties • Andrew Jackson and Grassroots Parties • 1824- won the popular vote but not the Electoral College • 1828- won the presidency by building his party from the ground up, or “grassroots” • Committees and clubs at the local & national level • Membership open to all registered voters

  6. A Graphic History of America’s Major Parties

  7. Party Competition and Majority Rule: The History of U.S. Parties • Republicans versus Democrats: realignments and the enduring party system • Enduring two-party system since Civil War • Democrats & Republicans have endured because of their ability to adapt to changing circumstances • Partisan realignments during crises • Issue of slavery gave birth to Republican party • Realignment: four basic elements • Divisive issues—disruption of existing political order • Election—voters shift support strongly toward one party • Major change in policy brought about by that party • Enduring change in party coalitions to favor of dominant party • History of realignments: • Civil War—Republicans gain control • 1896—Republicans solidify control • 1932—Democrats gain control

  8. Party Competition and Majority Rule: The History of U.S. Parties • Today’s party alignment and its origins • Republicans • Dominant in South • Controlled presidency twice as often as Democrats since 1968 • Controlled both houses of Congress a third of the time since 1968 • Missteps of Nixon and George W. Bush weakened power • Democrats • Dominant in Northeast • Civil rights stance caused loss of power in South- “the Solid South” • Less dominant party since 1968 • Analysts divided on which party will have greater power going forward • Parties and the vote • Strength of party identification • Rarity of true independents • Straight-ticket voting • An indication of strong party loyalty • Split-ticket voting • Most prominent during the 1970’s

  9. Partisan Identification

  10. Electoral and Party Systems • Single-member-district system of election • Encourages two-party system • Contrast with multiparty system and proportional representation • Multiparty Systems • 3 or more political parties have the capacity to control the government • Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden • Proportional Representation • Proportional representation systems encourage the formation of smaller parties by enabling parties to win legislative seats even though they do not receive a majority of votes in elections. • The major reason for the persistence of the American two-party system is the existence of single-member election districts • Politics and coalitions in the two-party system • Seeking the center: median voter theorem • Party coalitions • Broad and overlapping but far from identical • Gender gap

  11. The Vote of Selected Demographic Groups in Recent Presidential Elections

  12. Hispanics’ Party Identification

  13. Electoral and Party Systems • Minor (third) parties • Single-issue parties • Greenback Party- wanted currency based on paper money rather than gold or silver • Factional parties • Most important type of minor party in the 20th Century • 1912 Bull Moose Party- Theodore Roosevelt’s 27% to Taft’s (R) 25% • Led to election of Woodrow Wilson • Ideological parties • Populists, Green Party, Socialist Workers Party, Libertarian Party, • Tea Party???- not an actual party… • Reform parties • Progressive Party • Problems for 3rdParties • Financing campaigns • Getting candidates on all 50 states ballots • If a minor party gains a large following, it is almost certain that one or both major parties will absorb its issue, and the minor party will lose support

  14. Party Organizations • The weakening of party organizations • During the 20th Century, American parties have lost complete control over: • Platforms • Financing • Nominations • Primary election/direct primary • The most direct blow to organizational strength of U.S. parties • Loss of party control to candidates • Staffing of government jobs • Loss of party power over patronage • patronage-rewarding party workers for their loyalty

  15. Party Organizations • The structure and role of party organizations • U.S. parties are loose associations of national, state, and local organizations • Highly decentralized & fragmented- due to Federalism • Local party organizations • 95 percent of party activists work at local level • State party organizations • Smaller role than national or local offices • State Chairperson organizes the day-to-day operations • National party organizations • Do not dictate the day-to-day decisions of the state and local party organizations • For Congressional candidates: • Service relationship • helping candidates conduct their personal campaigns

  16. Formal Organization of thePolitical Party

  17. Party Organizations • The structure and role of party organizations • National party organizations • Structure of the national parties • Major role in campaigns is raising and spending of money • Hard money • Goes directly to a candidate • Soft money • Used to support party activities • 527 groups • IRS Code Section 527- governs not-for-profit political groups • MoveOn & Swift Boat Veterans for Truth • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) • SCOTUS found corporations and unions could not be banned from spending money on campaigns

  18. National Party Fundraising, 1989-2010

  19. The Candidate-Centered Campaign • Candidate-centered politics encourages: • greater responsiveness to local interests • greater flexibility in electoral politics • LESS long-term consistency in policymaking • introduction of new blood to politics • an increase in the power of special interest groups • Campaign funds: money chase • Avg. U.S. Senator fundraising per week- $20,000 • Organization and strategy: political consultants • Modern campaign key-players: • Pollsters • Media producers • Fundraising specialists • Campaign consultants • James Carville, Dick Morris, and Roger Ailes are all examples of campaign strategists who have earned legendary reputations • Packaging: highlight aspects of candidate’s positions and background thought to be attractive to voters

  20. The Candidate-Centered Campaign • Voter contacts: pitched battles • Air wars • Main battleground: advertising through media • ½ of all spending is devoted to TV • Many democracies besides the U.S. provide free air time to political parties to make their pitch • Some do not allow candidates to purchase air time • Ground wars • Get-out-the-vote efforts • Web wars • 2008 presidential election- Obama used the Internet most successfully to attract followers

  21. The Rise in NegativeCampaigning, 1960-2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLj6yY4P_Rg

  22. Parties, Candidates, and the Public’s Influence • Stronger relationships between voters and representatives • Most citizens have confidence in their local representative • Weaker relationships between voters and representative institutions • Most citizens have a low opinion of Congress • Candidate-centered campaigns add flexibility • Candidate-centered campaigns decrease accountability • Prospective Voting • Based on knowledge of candidates’ positions • Retrospective Voting • Based on past performance

  23. Sleaziest Political Ads of 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDT-LN5-Edw

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