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Political parties and interest groups

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Political parties and interest groups

Political parties and interest groups

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  • 1. Political Parties and Interest Groups
  • 2. POLITICAL PARTIES
  • 3. • political party – a group of office holders, candidates, activists, and voters who identify with a group label and seek to elect to public office individuals who run under that label.• interest group – an organized group that tries to influence public policy
  • 4. The Birth of American Political Parties• George Washington was unifying, no parties• Adams (Federalist) versus Jefferson (Anti-Federalists)• Federalists versus “Democratic- Republicans”
  • 5. The Early Parties Fade (1824)• Democratic-Republicans become Democrats (Jackson)• Whigs (Henry Clay) become Republicans (Lincoln)
  • 6. Democrats and Republicans: The Golden Age (1874-1912)• Two parties stable and dominant• political machine – a party organization that recruits voter loyalty with tangible incentives and is characterized by a high degree of control over member activity• Parties provided social services and entertainment to immigrants in urban areas, generating intense loyalty
  • 7. The Modern Era• Government has assumed party functions of printing ballots, conducting elections and providing social welfare services• direct primary – the selection of party candidates through the ballots of qualified voters rather than at party nominating conventions• civil service laws – these acts removed the staffing of the bureaucracy from political parties and created a professional bureaucracy filled through competition
  • 8. The Modern Era• issue-oriented politics – politics that focus on specific issues rather than on party, candidate, or other loyalties• ticket-split – to vote for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election• candidate-centered politics – politics that focus directly on the candidates, their particular issues, and character, rather than on party affiliation.
  • 9. Realignment• party realignment – a shifting of party coalition groupings in the electorate that remains in place for several elections• critical election – an election that signals a party realignment through voter polarization around new issues
  • 10. Three significant critical elections in U.S. history• Jefferson, Democratic-Republican, 1800, reaction against Federalists• Lincoln, Republican, 1860, slavery• Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat, 1932, depression
  • 11. Secular Realignment• secular realignment – the gradual rearrangement of party coalitions, based more on demographic shifts than on shocks to the political system.• dealignment – a general decline in party identification and loyalty in the electorate – Fewer voters willing to profess party choice – Parties provide way to address irreconcilable differences
  • 12. What Do Parties Do?• Mobilizing Support and Gathering Power – Leaders can mobilize support for policies – http://www.democrats.org/ – http://www.gop.com/• A Force for Stability and Moderation – Can bring together opposing groups • New Deal (African Americans & southern whites)• Unity, Linkage and Accountability – Individual liberty versus timely action
  • 13. What Do Parties Do?• The Electioneering Function – Provide candidates – Balanced competition – Fundraising for campaigns – Media divisions, volunteers
  • 14. What Do Parties Do?• Party as a Voting and Issue Cue – Benefits least informed and least interested voters• Policy Formulation and Promotion – national party platform – a statement of the general and specific philosophy and policy goals of a political party, usually promulgated at the national convention
  • 15. What Do Parties Do?• Legislative Organization – Parties organize and operate Congress – Parties today are more unified in Congress
  • 16. Crashing the Party: Minor Parties in the American Two-Party System• Tend to organize around neglected issues• Usually absorbed into one or the other major party
  • 17. The Party Organization• National Committees – RNC and DNC (presidential campaigns) – Congressional campaign committees• Leadership – Chairman serves as spokesperson for party
  • 18. The Party Organization• National Conventions – national convention – a party meeting held in the presidential election year for the purposes of nominating a presidential and vice presidential ticket and adopting a platform.• States and Localities – Most party structure is based in states and localities
  • 19. Sources of Party Identification• party identification – a citizen’s personal affinity for a political party, usually expressed by a tendency to vote for the candidates of that party
  • 20. Party Identification• Group Affiliations – Gender, race and ethnicity, age, occupation, religion • Women, African-Americans, Hispanics more Democratic • Old/young favor Democrats, middle Republicans • Executives, professionals, white-collar Republican; trial lawyers, educators, blue-collar Democrat • Democratic support drops with rise in income • White protestants Republican; Catholics/Jews Democrat
  • 21. INTEREST GROUPSTRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS
  • 22. Interest Group Formation• social capital – the myriad relationships that individuals enjoy that facilitate the resolution of community problems through collective action.
  • 23. What Do Interest Groups Do?• What Do Interest Groups Do? – Lobbying • lobbying – the activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group’s position • lobbyist – interest group representative who seeks to influence legislation that will benefit his or her organization or client through political persuasion
  • 24. What Do Interest Groups Do? • Lobbying Congress – congressional testimony, letters, contributions, payments • Lobbying the Executive Branch – information, public opinion • Lobbying the Courts – sponsorship, amicus curiae briefs • Grassroots Lobbying – mobilize individuals to contact their representatives • Protests and Radical Activism – visible events, media attention
  • 25. What Do Interest Groups Do?Election Activities • Candidate Recruitment and Endorsements – recruit, endorse and support candidates • Getting Out the Vote – get voters to the polls, education, registration • Rating the Candidates or Office Holders – candidate report cards • Political Action Committees – political action committee (PAC) – Federally mandated, officially registered fund-raising committee that represents interest groups in the political process.