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7 -1 GOVT Political Parties
7 -2 Learning Outcomes Summarize the origins and development of the two-party system in the United States. Describe the current status of the two major parties. Explain how political parties function in our democratic system. Discuss the structure of American political parties. Describe the different types of third parties and how they function in the American political system.
7 -3 AMERICA AT ODDS Is the Republican Party too Conservative? • SUPPORT: Republicans claimed that success in the 2010 elections meant that they had a mandate from the voters. It is essential, then, that House Republicans be as uncompromising as possible. Americans are starting to rebel against big government; and if Republicans don’t stand for true conservatism, these Americans won’t have anyone to vote for. • OPPOSE: The Republicans must break with the ultra-right and stop antagonizing the very people they need to form a majority. If voters conclude that Republicans see large numbers of their fellow Americans as “the enemy, ” the party will lose future elections. • WHERE DO YOU STAND?
7 -4 A Short History of American Political Parties The First Political Parties From 1796 to 1860 From the Civil War to the Great Depression After the Great Depression
7 -5 The First Political Parties • The Federalists and the Anti-Federalists were formed even before the Constitution was ratified. • The Federalists supported a strong central government, and generally thought that a republic should be ruled by its wealthiest and best-educated. • The Anti-Federalists supported states’ rights and feared a too-powerful national government.
7 -6 From 1796 to 1860 • In the elections of 1796, in which John Adams, the Federalists’ candidate for president, defeated Thomas Jefferson, the Republican Party Candidate. • In the presidential elections of 1800 and 1804, Jefferson won the presidency, and his party also won control of Congress. • The transition from the Federalists to the Republicans is the first example in American history of a realignment, in which a substantial number of voters change their political allegiance.
7 -7 From 1796 to 1860 (cont’d) • In the mid-1820 s, the Republicans split into two groups —the Democrats and the National Republicans (later the Whig Party). ▫ As the Whigs and Democrats competed for the White House throughout the 1840 s and 1850 s, the two-party system as we know it today emerged. • By the mid 1850 s, the Whig coalition had fallen apart, and most northern Whigs were absorbed into the new Republican Party, which opposed the extension of slavery into new territories. ▫ On this platform, the Republicans succeeded in electing Abraham Lincoln as the first Republican president in 1860.
7 -8 From the Civil War to the Great Depression • In the 1890 s, the Republicans gained an advantage when the Democrats allied themselves with the Populist movement, which consisted largely of indebted farmers in the West and South. ▫ The Populist movement advocated inflation as a way of lessening their debts. Urban workers in the Midwest and East strongly opposed this program. • After the election of 1896, the Republicans established themselves as the party that knew how to manage the nation’s economy. ▫ As a result of a Republican split, the Democrats under Woodrow Wilson won power from 1912 to 1920.
7 -9 After the Great Depression • The Great Depression of the 1930 s destroyed the image of the Republicans as better able to manage the economy and contributed to another realignment of the two-party system. ▫ In a realignment, the minority party may emerge as the majority party, as happened in 1932. • The election of 1932 brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to the presidency and the Democrats back to power at the national level.
7 -10 After the Great Depression: A Civil Rights Plank • A substantial share of African Americans joined the Democrats during Roosevelt’s New Deal ▫ Roosevelt’s relief programs were open to people of all races. • In 1948, for the first time ever, the Democrats adopted a civil rights plank as part of the party platform at their national convention. • In 1964, the Democrats won a landslide victory, and liberals held a majority in Congress.
7 -11 After the Great Depression: A “Rolling Realignment” • Conservative Democrats did not like the direction in which their party seemed to be taking them. Over a period of years, most of them became Republican voters. • Republican president Ronald Reagan helped cement the new Republican coalition. • The Democrats continued to hold majorities in the House and Senate until 1994, but partisan labels were misleading as a large bloc of Democrats in Congress sided with the Republicans on almost all issues during the 1970 s and 1980 s. • The elections of 2000 demonstrated how closely the electorate was divided when Republican Bush won the presidency with a margin of 538 votes and the Republicans controlled the House by only seven seats.
7 -12 America’s Political Parties Today Red States versus Blue States A Changing Electorate? The 2008 Elections
7 -13 Red States versus Blue States • Beginning with the presidential elections of 2000, the press has made much of the supposed cultural differences between the “blue” states that vote for the Democratic candidate, and the “red” states that vote for the Republican. ▫ Many states could better be described as “purple” – a mixture of red and blue. 2008 Presidential Election Results
7 -14 Shifting Political Fortunes: Trouble for the Republicans • During 2005, the partisan deadlock began to break up and by 2006, the Republican party had lost about 5 percentage points in popularity as the Democrats regained control of the House and Senate. • A poll taken in 2008, however, found that 51% of those surveyed identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party, whereas only 37% identified with or leaned toward the Republican Party. • In the shadow of the global financial crisis in 2008, the Democrats elected Barack Obama as president.
7 -15 Shifting Political Fortunes: Trouble for the Democrats • The Democrats lost their advantage as the party’s favorability ratings dropped 5% in 2009. • Continued high rates of unemployment, and the dramatic increase in size and scope of government during Obama’s first two years could be to blame. ▫ The large economic stimulus package, the bailouts of automobile giants, and the giant health-care reform package.
7 -16 Shifting Political Fortunes: The Triumph of Partisanship • A key characteristic of recent politics has been extreme partisanship. • Political scientists have calculated that in the 111 th Congress, the most conservative Democrat in the House was still to the left of the most moderate Republican. • Ideological uniformity has made it easier for the parties to maintain discipline in Congress. ▫ What impact did extreme partisanship have on the government’s attempt to fight the Great Recession?
7 -17 Realignment, Dealignment, and Tipping • By 2010, 40% of the electorate claimed to be independent. ▫ Causes the political environment to be volatile as unattached independents easily swing from one party to the next. • Tipping is another process that can alter the political landscape. ▫ Occurs when there is a migration between states or between counties.
7 -18 What Do Political Parties Do? Selecting Candidates Informing the Public Coordinating Policymaking Checking the Power of the Governing Party Balancing Competing Interests Running Campaigns
7 -19 Selecting Candidates • Parties use the primary, which is a preliminary election to choose a party’s final candidate to run against the opposing party’s candidate. • Voter turnout is lower for primaries than for general elections, but the voters who do go to the polls are often strong supporters.
7 -20 Informing the Public • Political parties help educate the public about important current political issues, such as environmental policies, health-care reform, and how to stimulate the economy. ▫ Each party presents its view of these issues through television announcements, newspaper articles or ads, Web site materials, campaign speeches, rallies, debates, and leaflets.
7 -21 Coordinating Policymaking • The political party is usually the major institution though which the executive and legislative branches cooperate with each other. • The president works through party leaders in Congress to promote the administration’s legislative program. • Parties also act as the glue of our federal structure by connecting the various levels of government, state and national, with a common bond.
7 -22 Checking the Power of the Governing Party • The party with fewer members in the legislature is the minority party. • The party with the most members is the majority party. • The minority party, or the “out party, ” does what it can to influence the “in party” and its policies, and to check the actions of the party in power. • The out party will also work to inform the voters of the shortcomings of the in party’s agenda and to plan strategies for winning the next election.
7 -23 Balancing Competing Interests • Political parties are essentially coalitions— individuals and groups with a variety of interests and opinions who join together to support the party’s platform, or parts of it. • The role of party leaders is to adopt a broad view on issues so that the various groups will not be alienated. • Parties help to unify, rather than divide, their members.
7 -24 Running Campaigns • Political parties take care of a large number of small and routine tasks that are essential to the smooth functioning of the electoral process. • They work at getting party members registered and conducting drives for new voters. • Sometimes, party volunteers staff the polling places.
7 -25 How American Political Parties Are Structured The Party-in-the-Electorate The Party Organization The Party in Government Developing Issues
7 -26 The Party-in-the-Electorate • The party-in-the-electorate is the largest component, consisting of all of those people who describe themselves as Democrats or Republicans. ▫ Party identifiers—those who identify themselves as being a member of a particular party. ▫ Party activists—party members who choose to work for the party and even become candidates for office.
7 -27 The Party-in-the-Electorate: Why People Join Political Parties • People wish to express their solidarity, or mutual agreement, with the views of friends, loved ones, and other like-minded people. • Many believe they will benefit materially from joining a party, through better employment or personal career advancement (patronage). • Some join political parties because they wish to actively promote a set of ideals and principles that they feel are important to American politics and society.
7 -28 The Party Organization • Each major party has a national organization with national, state, and local offices. ▫ Both parties are decentralized and fragmented. • The party organizations include several levels of people who maintain the party’s strength between elections, make its rules, raise money, organize conventions, help with elections, and recruit candidates.
7 -29 The Party Organization: State and Local • State party organizations are built around a central committee and a chairperson. • The committee works to raise funds, recruit new party members, maintain a strong party organization, and help members running for state offices. • Generally, there is a local party organization for each district in which elective offices are to be filled.
7 -30 The Party Organization: National • The structure of each party includes four major elements: ▫ The national convention Held every four years during the summer before the presidential elections ▫ The national committee The most important duties are to organize the next national convention and to plan how to obtain a party victory in the next presidential elections. ▫ The national chairperson Serves as administrative head of the national party ▫ The congressional campaign committees Work to help reelect party members to Congress
7 -31 The Party in Government: Developing Issues • When a political party wins the presidency or control of one or more chambers of Congress, it has the opportunity to carry out the party platform it developed at its national convention. ▫ The platform represents the official party position on various issues, although not all party members nor all candidates are likely to share these positions exactly.
7 -32 The Dominance of Our Two-Party System The Self-Perpetuation of the Two-Party System Third Parties in American Politics The Effect of Third Parties
7 -33 The Self-Perpetuation of the Two-Party System • One of the major reasons for the perpetuation of the two-party system is simply that there is no alternative. • Minor parties, called third parties, traditionally have found it extremely difficult to compete with the major parties for votes. • Reasons for this include election laws and institutional barriers.
7 -34 The Self-Perpetuation of the Two-Party System: Election Laws • In many states, the established major parties need relatively few signatures to place their candidates on the ballot, whereas a third party must get many more. • Both major parties receive federal funds for campaign expenses and their national conventions, whereas third parties receive federal funds only if they garner 5% of the vote, and receive the funds only after the election.
7 -35 The Self-Perpetuation of the Two-Party System: Institutional Barriers • The winner-take-all feature of the Electoral College system for electing the president; the winner of a state’s popular vote gets all of that state’s electoral votes. • Today, all federal and most state legislative districts are single-member districts, which means that voters elect one member from their district to the House of Representatives and to their state legislature. • Because third parties normally do not win elections, Americans tend not to vote for them or contribute to their campaigns.
7 -36 Third Parties in American Politics • These parties are as varied as the causes they represent, but all have one thing in common: their members and leaders want to challenge the major parties because they believe that certain needs and values are not being properly addressed. • Most fall into one of these general categories: ▫ Issue-oriented parties ▫ Ideological parties ▫ Splinter or personality parties
7 -37 Third Parties in American Politics (cont’d) • An issue-oriented third party is formed to promote a particular cause or timely issue. Most fade into history. Some endure, however, when they expand beyond a single area of concern. • An ideological party supports a particular political doctrine or a set of beliefs. ▫ For example, the Libertarian Party or the Socialist Workers Party
7 -38 Third Parties in American Politics (cont’d) • A splinter party develops out of a split within a major party. This split may be part of an attempt to elect a specific person. For example, when Theodore Roosevelt did not receive the Republican Party’s nomination in 1912, he created the Bull Moose Party to promote his candidacy.
7 -39 The Effects of Third Parties • Third parties bring issues to the public’s attention. • Third parties provide a voice for dissatisfied Americans. • Third parties can affect the vote. Third parties have occasionally taken victory from one major party and given it to another, playing a “spoiler” role.
7 -40 The Effects of Third Parties on Vote Distribution, 1848– 1992
7 -41 Politics on the Web www. politicalresources. net www. politics 1. com www. democrats. org www. gop. com www. lp. org www. greenparty. org www. 4 ltrpress. cengage. com/govt