Political Parties, Interest Groups, & the Media American Government Content Statement #2: Political parties, interest groups and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means.
What is a political party? • Organization whose members hold similar views on public issues • Seek to determine public policy through winning of elections & having members hold public office
What do political parties do? • Nominate candidates • Rally supporters • Participate in government • Make sure officeholders/members are successful • Watchdog over “the other party”
Two-Party System • Dominant political system in the United States • Republicans & Democrats
Characteristics of the Republican Party (GOP) • Favor private market forces in the economy (laissez faire) • Believe Federal Government should be less involved in social welfare programs • Small government • Conservative social views
Grand Old Party • [They define] themselves as the party of first principles, that is, the original American values and models — individualism, pioneering spirit, free enterprise, anti-centralism and anti-bureaucracy, family values and neighborly spirit etc. • Model their views after Abraham Lincoln
Famous Republicans • Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • John Boehner • Ronald Reagan • Arnold Schwarzenegger • Rudolph Giuliani • Ted Nugent
Characteristics of the Democratic Party Support social welfare programs Favor government regulation of business practices Support efforts to improve status of minorities Big government Liberal social & political views
Democratic Party • They define themselves: • For over 200 years, Democrats have stood for the idea that wealth and status should not be an entitlement to rule. Democrats recognize that our country and our economy are strongest when they provide opportunity for all Americans—when we grow our country from the bottom up. • Democrats stand for an abiding faith in the judgment of hardworking American families, and a commitment to helping the excluded, the disenfranchised and the poor strengthen our nation by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream. We remember that our country was sculpted by immigrants and slaves, their children and grandchildren. Even today, it is our diversity above all else that provides us with our enduring strength. • Model their views after Andrew Jackson
Famous Democrats Bruce Springsteen Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Ted Kennedy Al Gore John Stewart F.D.R.
Differences between the Parties • The following video clips are intended as a comical view on both political parties and should not, in any way be taken seriously or literally. • Additionally, these clips do not in any way represent the beliefs of any Mayfield High School staff member or Mayfield High School as a whole. • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/27/the-daily-show-explains-republicans-democrats_n_939020.html
What is a Radical? • Seen as being on the far left of the political spectrum, radicals call for wide-sweeping rapid change in the basic structure of the political, social, or economic system. • They may be willing to resort to extreme methods to bring about change, including the use of violence and revolution.
What is a Liberal? • Liberals believe that the government should be actively involved in the promotion of social welfare of a nation’s citizens. • They usually call for peaceful, gradual change within the existing political system. • They reject violent revolution as a way of changing the way things are, often called the status quo.
What is a Moderate? • Moderates may share viewpoints with both liberals and conservatives. • They are seen as tolerant of other people’s views, and they do not hold extreme views of their own. • They advocate a “go-slow” or “wait-and-see” approach to social or political change.
What is a Conservative? • People who hold conservative ideals favor keeping things the way they are or maintaining the status quo if it is what they desire. • Conservatives are usually hesitant or cautious about adopting new policies, especially if they involve government activism in some way. • They feel that the less government there is, the better. • They agree with Jefferson’s view that “the best government governs least.”
What is a Reactionary? • Sitting on the far right of the ideological spectrum, reactionaries want to go back to the way things were—the “good ol’ days.”Often reactionaries are willing to use extreme methods, such as repressive use of government power, to achieve their goals. • The term “reactionary is generally negative. A positive way to say the same thing is “arch-conservative.”
Roles of Third Parties • Keep major parties in check • Call attention to controversial issues that major parties may not • May also rally around a specific issue • Acts as a ‘spoiler’ during elections
Third Party Candidates • George Wallace – Presidential candidate 1968 • Ross Perot – Presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996 • Ralph Nader – Presidential candidate 2004 • Ken Lanci – Cuyahoga Council (newly created office) candidate in 2010
The Tea Party • Grassroots movement to “give the power of the government back to the people” • NOT a political party…rather extreme conservatives hoping to secure Republican candidate nomination • Michele Bachmann is front-runner candidate • http://theteaparty.net/inner.asp?z=40
Third Parties • Libertarian Party - total individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, pro-gun rights, etc.) and total economic freedom (anti-welfare, anti-government regulation of business, anti-minimum wage, anti-income tax, pro-free trade) • Green Party of the United States - Committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing • Constitution Party - strongly pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-tax, anti-immigration, trade protectionist, "anti-New World Order," anti-United Nations, anti-gay rights, anti-welfare, and pro-school prayer. • http://politics1.com/parties.htm
What is an Interest Group? • An organization whose members hold similar views on public issues • Seek to influence the making & execution of public policy • Through engaging in political and public policy processes
How Do They Differ From Political Parties? • Interest Groups DON’T • nominate candidates • Focus on winning elections • Concern themselves with a broad range of issues
Benefits of Interest Groups • Stimulate interest in public affairs • Serve as a vehicle for participation in the political process Health Care Advocacy Group Leads Protest Over Governor's Proposed Cuts
Criticisms of Interest Groups • Having influence disproportionate to their size • Occasionally use unethical tactics
Types of Interest Groups • Most people belong to several organizations defined as an interest group • Most represent economic interests • Business, labor, agriculture, certain professions • Some are devoted to social and political causes, religious interests, or the welfare of a certain segment of the population • Public-interest groups work for some aspect of the public good List of interest groups by type: http://faculty.ucc.edu/egh-damerow/interest_groups1.htm
What do Interest Groups do? • Supply the public with information favorable to the group’s cause • Work to build a positive image for the group • Promote the group’s policies • Frequently use propaganda to achieve their goals
Citizens United v. FEC (2010) • Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment • The government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.
Impact of Citizens United • Super PAC’s can be created • They may raise unlimited funds • They do not need to disclose where they got their money from • They can spend their money supporting or opposing any candidate they wish as long as their money isn’t directly given to the candidate
Lobbyists – Who they are… • Lobbying is the process of persuading public officials to take actions favorable to a given organized group. • Lobbyists are usually paid employees or hired hands for an interest group. They have access to public officials and present the concerns, agenda, and needs of the interest group.
Lobbyists – What they do… • Access is the most important advantage which lobbyists have over ordinary people. • Lobbyists build up rapport with public officials over years, often decades. • Having the elected official as a college buddy, former business associate, or family member certainly helps.
Fortune Power 25 – Most Influential Interest Groups in Washington • National Rifle Association of America- Gun Ownership • AARP- Senior Citizens • National Federation of Independent Business- Small and Independent Businesses • American Israel Public Affairs Committee- Pro-Israel Policy • American Association for Justice- Lawyers • AFL-CIO- Union Leadership • Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America- Big Business • National Beer Wholesalers Association- Alcohol • National Association of Realtors- Real Estate • National Association of Manufacturers- Industrial Business • National Association of Home Builders of the United States- Home Construction • American Medical Association- Doctors • American Hospital Association- Hospitals
Fortune Power 25 (continued) • National Education Association of the United States- Education • American Farm Bureau Federation- Agriculture • Motion Picture Association of America- Movies • National Association of Broadcasters- TV and Radio Broadcasters • National Right to Life Committee- Pro-Life Policy • Health Insurance Association of America- Health Insurance • National Restaurant Association- Restaurant • National Governors' Association- Governors • Recording Industry Association of America- Musicians • American Bankers Association- Banking and Lending • Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America- Pharmaceuticals • International Brotherhood of Teamsters- Blue-Collar Labor
People/ Employees Companies / Industries Social Organization Special Interest Groups Lobbyists / Lobbying Firms Political Action Committees Politicians
Media in Politics • Use of various means of mass communication with different audiences • print (books, magazines, and newspapers) • Even a sign someone is holding during a rally or demonstration • Recordings • Cinema • Radio • Television • Internet • Mobile (Smartphones, IPads, Tablet PCs)
Media in Politics (cont.) • Used heavily by political parties & interest groups • influence the political and public policy process • Help to set public agenda • Societal problems political leaders & citizens agree need government attention • Plays a central role in electoral politics
Media Influence • Limited • Many people use mass media for entertainment & not information • Few people follow international, national, or local politics closely • Those who do are selective • Pay attention to sources that generally agree with their viewpoints (liberal vs. conservative)
Examples of Media Bias • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxAO7cH-xrE • Palin-Couric Interview • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km5taefMCRE • Couric explains interview • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvF0slEXuS0 • Bill O’Reilly Interviews Sarah Palin
How Parties and Interest Groups Influence the Public • Using the media to enforce or introduce ideas or various perspectives • Can come from newspapers, magazines, radio and TV commercials, internet sites and advertisements, and other print sources, i.e. sides of buses
Card Stacking • Deliberate action is taken to bias an argument • Opposing evidence being buried or discredited • The case for one's own position is exaggerated at every opportunity
Plain Folk • Make the leaders look just like mom'n'pop-style 'plain folks‘ through dress, speech and action • i.e. video footage of politicians going grocery shopping or jogging • When politicians go campaigning they tend to dress like the people they are trying to win the votes of
Testimonial • If your words might lack credibility in some way, borrow the credibility of others by getting the testimony of trusted others. • Pop culture celebrities endorsing a political candidate or issue • Professionals or experts in their field speaking out on behalf of an issue or candidate
What Types of Messages are Sent • Logical argument - sensible point of view supporting an idea • Ad hominem attack - attacks a person rather than answer arguments about an issue • Positive Image - focusing solely on the positive aspects of person or issue
Examples • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8ZD9RcC8P0 –Star Wars Immunization • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B74xrOEzn0 -LA Department of Public Health Vaccinations • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wIRajc8JQY -OH Right to Life's anti-Obama ad • http://vegetarianstar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/paul_mccartney_veg_ad.jpg -Paul McCartney • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io9KMSSEZ0Y -Willie Horton 1988 Attack Ad • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOrmOvHysdU -John McCain Celebrity Ad • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBghTL4CPoE –Anti-McCain ad • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq41LgVeMSo -Anti Sarah Palin Campaign • http://www.methproject.org/ads/print/15bucks.html -Montana Meth Project • http://www.methproject.org/ads/tv/tracy.html -Montana Meth Project video