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Political Parties and Elections LCC Tim Cantrell Political Parties & Elections Political parties are not mentioned in the Constitution, yet we have a long history of a two party system and today, we have two parties almost equally divided. Democrats45% Republicans-43% Independent-12% In this poll, “leaning” toward a party was counted in the party. Party is still the leading indicator on how people will vote. History of Political Parties-1791-Presentchart Political Parties & Elections Historic Realignments 1. 1850’s 2. 1930’s 3. 1980’s & 90’s- It takes a big issue to bring about realignment. Eras of Party control- 1. Federalists-17891800 2. Democrats-1800-1860 3. GOP1860-1932 4. Democrats-1932-1952 5. Divided Government-1952-present Impact of 3rd Parties-1. Traditions 2. Attention to issues 3. Changed outcomes Political Parties and Elections Dealignment-when party loyalties weaken Prospective voters-vote on what they think will happen (mandate) Retrospective voters-vote on what has happened (verdict) Importance of Economics-Misery Index=unemployment plus inflation rateGive examples Political Parties and Elections Multiparty Systems-European nations have Proportional Representation-This gives 3rd parties a chance to win some seats. Middle of the Road-Most Americans are moderate and not very ideological Ideology-Consistent pattern of thought on political matters. Conservative v. Liberal Elections-Two types-Primary & GeneralPrimaries nominate & generals elect Types of Elections Primaries- 1. Closed 2. Open 3. Runoff 4. Non-partisan Ballots- 1. Party column 2. Office block Presidential Election-1. Nomination Process is a combination of primaries and caucuses. The party conventions ratify the results of the primaries and caucuses, write a platform, and choose a vice presidential nominee. (the candidate really chooses VP) Presidential Election Public financing-Candidates who raise $5000 in 20 states in contributions of $250 or less qualify for matching funds public financing in the primaries. In the General Election, each candidate is given a certain amount to run the Fall campaign. In 1996, this amounted to about $60 million each for Clinton and Dole. While there are limits on how much one can give to a campaign, Presidential Election There is no limit on what one can spend of his own money on his own campaign. (Perot spent $60 million in 1992) “Soft Money” This is money spent outside the official campaign structure on a campaign. (Labor organizations spend millions for Democrats and the Christian Coalition spends millions on Republicans.) This is where campaign finance reform is needed. Conclusion The election process has improved and gotten more honest over the years, but improvements can still be made. Participation needs to increase. Yet, with all its faults, can you name a better one?
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