Unit III – Mass media, political parties and interest groups Chapter 8 – Political Parties pp. 238-246
Party Competition • Battle between Democrats and Republicans for control of public office. • Without this competition there would be no choice, and without choice there would be no democracy.
The Meaning of Party • Political parties endorse candidates for public office and try to win elections. • Party leaders often disagree about policy, and between elections the parties are nearly invisible.
Three-Headed Political Giants • Party-in-the-Electorate: individuals who perceive themselves as party members – many voters have a party identification that guides and influences their vote. • Party as an Organization: has national office, a full-time staff, rules and bylaws and budgets. • Party-in-Government: consists of elected officials who call themselves members of the party (such as the president and Congress)
Linkage Institutions • Translates inputs from the public into outputs from the policymakers. • Tasks in linkage institutions • Nomination of candidates • Run campaigns • Cues to the voters (party image) • Articulate policies • Coordinate policymaking
The Downs Model • Anthony Downs – working model of the relationship among citizens, parties and policy, employing a rational-choice perspective. • Rational-Choice Theory – assumes that parties and political actors have goals (such as winning elections) that are more important to the party than ideology.
The Party in the Electorate • The party in the electorate consists largely of symbolic images. • There is no formal “membership” in American parties. • For most people, the party is a psychological label. • Party identification – self proclaimed preference for one of the parties • Ticket-splitting • Divided government
Party Organizations: Grassroots to Washington • American political parties are decentralized and fragmented. • Party Machines – a party organization that depends on material inducements such as patronage, in which jobs were awarded for political reasons rather than for merit or competence.