Chapter 8 Political Parties_ Candidates_ and Campaigns Defining

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					  Chapter 8

Political Parties,
Candidates, and

   Defining the
  voter’s choice
              Political Party
  An ongoing coalition of interest joined
together in an effort to get its candidate for
public office elected under a common label.

   “It is the competition of parties that
 provides the people with an opportunity
      to make a choice. Without this
opportunity popular sovereignty amounts
                to nothing.”
E.E. Schattschneider
                Chapter 8 Main Points

 Political competition in the United States has centered
  on two parties, a pattern that is explained by the nature
  of America’s electoral system, political institutions, and
  political culture.
 To win an electoral majority, candidates of the two
  major parties must appeal to a diverse set of interest;
  this necessity normally leads them to advocate
  moderate and somewhat overlapping policies.
 U.S. party organizations are decentralized, fragmented
  and weak.
 The ability of America’s party organizations to control
  nominations and election to office is weak, which in
  turn enhances the candidates’ role.
 Candidate-centered campaigns are based on the media
  and utilize the skills of professional consultants.
The History of U.S. Parties

   The history of democratic government is
     virtually synonymous with the history of
 parties. When the United States was founded
     over two centuries ago, the formation of
 parties was the first step toward the building
  of its democracy. The reason is simple: it is
    the competition among parties that gives
 popular majorities a chance to influence how
               they will be governed.
First Parties
America’s early political leaders mistrusted parties:
George Washington warned the nation of the “baneful
effects” of political parties in his farewell address.

 America’s parties originated in the rivalry within George
 Washington’s administration between Thomas Jefferson
(who supported states’ rights and small landholders) and
   Alexander Hamilton (who promoted a strong national
  government and commercial interest). Hamilton’s idea
   eventually prevailed in Congress. Jefferson and his
    followers formed a political party, the Republicans
 (Jeffersonians). Hamilton responded by organizing his
  supporters into a formal party – the Federalists. Thus,
    America’s first competitive party system was born.
Republican Versus Democrats:
 After the Civil War, the nation settled into the
  pattern of competition between the Republican
  and Democratic parties that has prevailed ever
  since. The durability of these two parties is due
  not to their ideological consistency but to their
  remarkable ability to adapt during periods of
 Party Realignment – An election or set of elections
  in which the electorate responds strongly to an
  extraordinary powerful issue that has disrupted
  the established political order.
 Civil War Realignment
   The Republicans replaced the
Democrats as the nation’s majority
 party. The Republicans were the
  dominant party in the larger and
  more populous North, while the
  Democratic party was left with a
stronghold in what became none as
  the “Solid South”. Lincoln wins
    election with only 40% of the
             popular vote.
      The Great Depression
The republican Herbert Hoover was president
  when the stock market crashed in 1929, and
 many Americans blamed Hoover, his party, and
its business allies for the economic catastrophe
   that followed. The Democrats became the
  country’s majority party. Their political and
policy agenda called for an expanded social and
   economic role for the national government.
 Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency began a 32
 year period of Democratic presidents that was
interrupted only by Dwight D. Eisenhower’s two
              terms in the 1950’s.
  Today’s Party Alignment
       and Its Origin
 Today, most top officials in the southern states are
  Republican. The Northeastern states have become
  more Democratic. The shift is partly attributable to the
  growing size of minority populations in the Northeast.

 The GOP (short for “Grand Old Party” and another
  name for the Republican Party) has held the presidency
  for twice as many years as the Democrats since 1968.

 Dealignment – A partial but enduring weakening of
  party members who don’t feel strongly enough about
  their party to go to the polls and vote.
Electoral and Party Systems
 The United States has traditionally had a two
  party system:
  EX. Federalist v. Jeffersonian Republicans,
  Whigs v. Democrats, Democrats v. Republicans
 Two – Party System – Only two political parties
  have a real chance of acquiring control of
  government. (A two party system is the
  exception / not the rule.)
 Multi – Party System – Three or more political
  parties have the capacity to gain control of
  government separately or in coalition.
    The Single-Member-District
        System of Election
   Single-Member Districts – The form of
    representation in which only the candidate
    who gets the most votes in a district wins
    office. This system discourages minor

   European Democracies (Belgium, France,
    Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden,

   Proportional Representation – Seats in the
    legislature are allocated proportionally
    according to each political party’s share of
    the popular vote.
    The Single-Member-District
        System of Election
   **Best described as a “Hierarchical
    Structure” because it provides smaller
    parties an incentive to organize and
    compete for power.

   Germany 2002 Election – Green Party
    receives 9% of popular vote and 55
    seats in the German Parliament. Under
    the U.S. system, they would have won
     Politics and Coalitions in the
          Two – Party System
   The overriding goal of a major American
    political party is to gain power by getting its
    candidates elected to public office.

   American political parties are “creatures of
    compromise”. In other words, moderation is
    always the best policy.

   Anytime a party makes a pronounced shift
    toward the extreme, the political center is
    left open for the opposing party.
    Politics and Coalitions in the
         Two – Party System
 Example - 1972 Presidential Election
     George McGovern – Democratic nominee
     who took drastic positions on Vietnam and
     income security that alarmed many
 McGovern lost the election in one of the
  greatest landslides in political history.
     Popular Vote - 37% Democratic
     (McGovern)      63% Republican (Nixon)
     Electoral Vote - 3% Democratic
     97% Republican
(Only Massachusetts and D.C. voted Democratic)
    Political Point

 Moderation is the best policy.
When the public’s mood changes,
 parties must also shift in a way
  not to alienate its members.
   Party Coalitions – The groups and
interests that support a political party.
   Americas two-party system requires each
    party to accommodate a wide range of
    interest in order to gain the voting
    plurality necessary to win elections.

   There are only a few sizeable groups that
    are tightly aligned with a party. African
    Americans are the clearest example; they
    vote about 90% Democratic in national
If a party did not stand for something – if it never took
 sides – it would lose all support. Since the 1930’s, the
 major policy differences between the Republicans and
the Democrats have involved the national governments
      role in solving social and economic problems.
   Democratic Coalition – Usually draws support
    from society’s underdogs.
       ** African Americans, Union Members, the
       Poor, City Dwellers, Hispanics, Jews and
       other minorities – Northeastern States.

   Republican Coalition
       Consists mainly of white middle-class
       Protestants. A party of tax cuts and
       business incentives that supports school
       prayer and opposes abortion and same-sex
       marriages. – Southern States
       Minor Parties
Although the U.S. electoral system discourages
the formation of third parties, the nation has
always had minor parties – more than a thousand
over the nation’s history.
Main Purpose – Making the major parties more
responsive to the public’s concerns by pulling
votes away from them.
Three Types of Minor Parties:
   1. Factional Parties
   2. Single-Issue Parties
   3. Ideological Parties
       Factional Parties
Internal conflict within a party leads a
faction to a break away and form a party.

** 1968 George Wallace’s “American
Independent Party” – Formed by white
southern Democrats angered by
northern Democrats support of civil
rights for African Americans.
     Single-Issue Parties
Parties that form around a single issue
of overriding interest to it’s supporters.

Right to Life Party – Opposed abortion

Prohibition Party – Contributed to the
ratification of the Eighteenth
Amendment (1919).
        Ideological Parties
Parties characterized by a broad and radical
philosophical position.

The Green Party – Ideological party that holds
liberal views on the environment, labor,
taxation, social welfare and other issues.

Ralph Nader – 2000 Presidential Election –
Nader received 3% of the national vote. Most of
his support came form voters who would have
voted for Democratic candidate Al Gore. Thus,
tipping the election toward Republican nominee
and current president, George W. Bush.
               Party Organizations
          ** Main Purpose – the contesting of elections.
►   Nomination – Refers to the selection of the individual who will run
                 as the party’s candidate in the general election.
►   Early Twentieth Century – Nominations were entirely the
    responsibility of party organizations
►   ** Led to extortion from those seeking political favors – “To the
    victors go the spoils”.
►   Patronage – Rewarding party workers for their loyalty with jobs /
►   Reform – Minded Progressives – Argued the power to nominate
    should rest with ordinary voter rather than with the party –
►   Primary Elections – A form of election in which voters choose a
    party’s nominees for public office.
Forms of Primary Elections
   Closed Primary – Participation is limited to voters
    registered or declared at the polls as members of
    the party whose primary is being held. (Held by
    most states)

   Open Primary – Independents and voters of either
    party to vote in a party’s primary.

   Primaries are the severest impediment to the
    strength of the party organization. If primaries did
    not exist, candidates would have to work through
    party organizations in order to get nominated.
The Parties And Money
   ** The parties’ major role in campaigns is the raising
    and spending of money.
   A party can legally give $10,000 to a House candidate
    and $37,500 to a Senate candidate. This funding,
    along with the money a candidate receives from
    individual contributors ($2,000 maximum per
    contributor) and interest groups ($5,000 maximum
    per group) is termed Hard Money. It goes directly to
    the candidate and can be spent as he or she
   Soft Money – Campaign contributions that are not
    subject to legal limits and are given to parties rather
    than directly to candidates.
           The Money Chase
   Campaigns for high office are expensive,
    and the costs keep rising. In 1980, about
    $250 million was spent on all Senate and
    House campaigns combined. The figure
    topped $1 Billion in 2000.

   A U.S. Senator must raise $20,000 a week
    on average throughout the entire six-year
    term in order to raise the $6 Million that it
    takes to run a competitive Senate
    campaign in many states.

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