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Chapter 7 and 8 (parties and interest groups) PowerPoint Presentation
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Chapter 7 and 8 (parties and interest groups)

Chapter 7 and 8 (parties and interest groups)

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Chapter 7 and 8 (parties and interest groups)

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  1. Chapter 7 and 8 (parties and interest groups) I. Political organization – parties and groups that function as intermediaries between individuals and government. • Political Parties – organizations that seek to achieve power by winning public office. • Interest Groups – organizations seeking to influence government policy. II. Political Parties and Democratic Government A. “Responsible” Party system – System in which competitive parties adopt principles, recruit candidates and direct campaigns based upon the platform, and hold their elected officials responsible for enacting it. (parties are powerful and essential). B. Winning trumps principle system – “Winning has generally been more important than any principles or policies” in the U.S. Parties in the U.S. are more concerned with vote-maximizing that platforms. Since more votes are at the center of the distribution, a middle-of-the-road approach is attractive in our system (next slide). C. However, since the 1970s, we have seen steady partypolarization (ideological distance between party candidates, members and activists). See Table 7.1/Fig. 7.4

  2. D. Erosion of Traditional party functions • today, parties play less of a role in recruiting candidates. • the primary system now selects the party’s nominee, not party leaders. • parties are not as needed as a means of communication with voters. Candidates can do that themselves (i.e. web, tv, radio…). • parties have little control over the politician’s behavior once in office. Politicians do not have to “play-ball” with party leaders. • American political parties no longer perform social welfare functions (trading off social services in exchange for votes) because government does that.

  3. IV. Where is the Party? Parties are found in three places: • Party in the Electorate – voters who identify with party • Party in the Government – Party members holding office • Party in the Organization – actual organization A.Party Voters • Party ID (next slide): Dems win over Reps narrowly) – “Generally Speaking, how would you identify yourself: as a Rep., Dem., independent, or something else?” • Independents – both parties have lost identifiers and independent identifiers have increased. • Dealignment – the decline in attractiveness of political parties to voters, or some group of voters. • Party Loyalty in Voting – party identifiers are highly likely to vote for their party’s nominee (less true for Dems with respect to Republican presidential candidates). • Realignment – Long-term shift in social-group support for various political parties that creates new coalitions in each party. (e.g., Jackson, Dems 1824, Lincoln, Republicans 1860, Bryan Democrats 1896, 1932 FDR Dems). • Are we experiencing a 6th realignment?

  4. Yes: socioeconomic alliances have largely given way to alliances based on ideology, gender, religion, and race. Party in government is polarizing. No: No new majority party has emerged and it is happening too slowly to tell right now; among the masses there is still a rather large moderate group VI. Who is in the parties? Income, education are positively related to Republican Identification. Red/Blue & other groupings: next slide) VII. Why the two-party system? Many other democracies have multiple party systems; why not us? Third parties are not successful, why not? • Cultural Consensus – Americans share the same political values relative to most other industrialized democracies. • Winner-take-all-electoral system (U.S.) – winners are determined by plurality; winner takes all. Only one party or voting coalition can win an election. Losers get nothing. There is little incentive for a party to form and represent the views of a few percentage of the population (two main parties stay at the center where the majority of votes are).

  5. In some countries, there is a system of proportional representation. Here, seats in a legislature are based upon the proportion of votes each party receives in a national election (if the socialist party gets 10% of the vote, they get 10% of the seats in the legislature). Advantages: more representative, more choices, more participation, sincere vote, minority representation Disadvantages: representation of extreme views, policy imbalance (party representing a minority of population making policy decisions) • Legal access to the Ballot – third parties face substantial barriers in getting on the ballot (raising money, receiving government help, filing petitions signed by up to 5 and 10 percent of registered voters in a state; both to get on and to stay on next time).

  6. Interest Power • Interest groups attempt to change policy by influencing policymakers. • Groups check majoritarianism • Groups want policy outcomes that concentrate benefits to themselves and spread costs to millions of taxpayers in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, privileges and protections. There is a concern here for organizational sclerosis (so many special benefits that everyone’s standard of living is lowered). • Types A. Most dominant (endurance and resources) are economic interests (want financial gain from gov’t) • Business and Trade (e.g., Corporations) • Professional Associations (e.g., ABA, AMA) • Organized Labor (i.e., Labor Unions, 1948=35%; 08=15%) • Citizen’s Groups (come and go, less money) • Women’s Organizations (e.g., NOW) • Religious Groups (e.g., Christian Coalition, National Council of Churches, Israeli Public Affairs Committee)

  7. Public Interest Groups (consumer advocacy, Common Cause, AARP) • Single-Issue Group (NARAL, MADD, NRA) • Ideological Groups (ACU, ADA) • Government Lobbies (NGA, U.S. Conference of Mayors) • Washington Lobbyists • Who are they? • Typically attorneys • Professionally trained • Former public officials (e.g., Dole; 125-150 former MCs) • What do they do? • Distribute campaign contributions • Draft legislation • Provide expertise on policy • Grass-roots mobilization • Protest/Demonstrate for exposure and issue-attention • Form coalitions with other groups • Open and maintain “access” lines (not much evidence of “vote buying”

  8. Lobbying the bureaucracy • Iron-triangles (next slide). Iron triangles refer to interdependent reliationship that emerge between interest groups, government agencies, and legislators (or legislative committees). They each want something from each other and “iron” deals are worked out which are mutually beneficial to all. • Policy Networks (groups, policymakers, businesses, agency officials, all develop working relationships that often make policy-decisions on their own. • Revolving Doors – from regulated to regulating to regulated again