Political Parties

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Political Parties

Political PartiesChapter 9Washingtons Farewell Address1796I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. 2

An organization that sponsors a candidate for public office under the organizations name.What is a political party?The Five Functions of a Political PartyNominate- (Obama) name or recruit candidates, present candidate to the votersInform- inform and stimulate the voters about a candidate, pick and choose issues Approve- keep the party bonded by approving actions of candidateGovernment- many voters decide winner by party, Congress works on a partisan basis, and appointments are made according to partyWatchdog- party watches the conduct of those in power, attempts to convince voters to oust those in chargeLiving Room CandidateFederalists vs. Anti-Federalists

Winner take all Single member districtVoters do not want to waste vote on minor party.

Minor parties often find it difficult to flourish because election laws have been written by officials who are members of the major parties.

Reasons for a Two-Party System1. HISTORY2. SYSTEM3. ELECTION LAWS5History of U.S. Party Politics1. Pre-party PeriodConstitution makes no reference to partiesFactions Groups pursuing a common political interestConsidered both inevitable and dangerous (Federalist No. 10)Factions were not yet parties, they did not nominate candidatesGrew under Washingtons administration

2. Federalists and Democratic RepublicansElection of 1796Federalists (John Adams) Democratic Republicans (Thomas Jefferson). Adams won, Jefferson became vice president.Election of 1800More systematic nomination. Federalists (John Adams) Democratic Republicans (Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr) Jefferson and Burr tie and it goes to the House. Twelfth Amendment (1804)- Separate electoral college for the president and vice- presidentBy 1820, the Federalists had ceased to exist; Democratic Republicans had no opposition in the presidential election.Election of 1824 Democratic Republicans split into two different factionsDemocrats and WhigsThe Election of 1828Democrats formed from the Jacksonian Democratic RepublicansRepresented Southerners and WesternersFirst mass election, over 1 million votersNational Conventions and Party PlatformsNational Convention- Gathering of delegates of a single political party to choose presidential and vice presidential candidates and to determine the party platform.Party Platform- The statement of policies of a national party. Whigs formed in 1834 to fight King Jackson. Lasted until 1856

4. Democrats and RepublicansThe Republican party formed in 1854 in opposition to slavery.Ran Abraham Lincoln in 1860Won largely because of splits in the Democratic partyCritical electionsDef.- An election that produces a sharp change in the existing pattern of party loyalty among groups of voters; changed pattern is called electoral realignment.

Era of Dominance (Post Civil War)1860-1894: Rough BalanceRepublicans won 8 out of 10 presidential elections, but there was balance in Congress.1896-1930: Republican ControlSecond critical election- 1896: Republicans became more closely aligned with industrial interests in the East and MidwestRepublicans controlled the entire federal government continually until the Crash of 19291932-1964: Democratic Control Third critical election- 1932: Democrats aligned with unions, middle class, immigrants and southerners Democrats held control of both Houses of Congress in most sessions throughout this period.1968-Present: Rough BalanceRepublicans began to run well in the South Control of Senate almost even, Democrats controlled House 13/19 sessionsMay be a period of electorate dealignment.

Third Parties in the United StatesPopulist principlesThe Omaha Platform:Opposed monopoliesOpposed big businessFeared political corruptionBigger government role in societySupported farmersImprove labor conditionsIn the election of 1892 they won 22 electoral votes!The Progressive PartyDeveloped as a reform movement in the early 1900s. Differed from the populists in that they were more educated, wealthy and urban.

Progressive Platform

SuffrageProhibitionDirect Election of SenatorsElection ReformWorkers RightsChild Labor Laws13Why are parties getting weaker? IndependentsTicket-splittingDivided governmentCynicism & political apathyDecentralized party structureMass mediaInterest groups

Other Third PartiesSplinter Parties (Bull Moose)Single-Issue Parties (Green)Ideological Parties (Socialists) Economic Protest Parties (Greenback)Interest GroupsSuppose you go to Washington and try to get at your government. You will always find that while you are politely listened to, the men really consulted are the men with the biggest stake the big bankers, the big manufacturers, the big masters of commerce Woodrow WilsonConcededly, each interest group is biased;but their role..is not unlike the advocacy of lawyers in court which has proven so successful in resolving judicial controversies - John F. KennedyInterest GroupsDefinition: Any organization that seeks to influence public policy through lobbying. Two types institutional and membershipInstitutional - deals with individuals or organizations representing other organizations such as: business firms and unionsMembership deals with social, business, veteran, charitable, religious issuesDifferences among Americans has led the proliferation of interest groupsHuge variety of issues including abolition, prohibition, gun rights, farm issues, religious associations, environmental groups, political reform, balanced budget, businesses, unions, even older Americans

See table on page 267 and 268Reasons for Interest GroupsCleavagesConstitutional SystemNon-Profit PerksSection 501 (c) (3)- Tax-exempt, no lobbying or campaign contributionsSection 501 (c) (4)- Not tax-exempt, but can lobby and give campaign contributionsWeakness of Political PartiesSee table on page 261Why join an interest group?Feel a part of the political process, pleasure, and/or companionshipMaterial incentives - money, things, servicesCommon goals passion about an issue, common ideology, public interest, protection

Funding of Interest GroupsInterest groups have long been involved in a variety of social movements such as: abolition, the environment, feminism, and unionsFunding for interest groups comes from three main sources:Foundation grantsFederal grants and contractsDirect mailWhat makes interest groups powerful?SizePower of AARP 25% of the population 50 and overIntensity Drive or effort put forth (single issue groups fall into this category)MoneyForm a PAC (Political Action Committee) donate money to campaigns and advertisingMethods of Interest Groups1. Electioneering2. Lobbying3. Publicity4. Organizing grassroots activities5. Use of the courtsU.S. v. Harriss (1954)In 1953, The Supreme Court upheld the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946), but narrowed its scope significantly. The Court determined that it applied only to paid lobbyists who directly communicated with members of Congress on pending legislation. This created a number of loopholes including:- It does not regulate people who give money to influence legislation, only those who solicit or collect money.- It does not define "principally." A lobbyist can argue that his principal goal is not influencing legislation.- It does not include those who communicate with Congressional staffers. The Revolving DoorHeres an interesting phenomenon?? Many people leave public office, get hired by a PAC and then return to Washington to lobby. It can happen over and over again (Donald Rumsfeld for example). This can lead to a conflict of interest and an unfair manipulation of government agencies.Critical ThinkingImagine you are a member of the Presidents cabinet. The Treasury secretary advises that the President makes cuts in federal spending to save the economy.He/she must make some tough choices and you must advise him. The spending areas under review are:1. Social Security2. Environmental Protection Agency 3. Womens health clinics4. Education5. Medicare You must get rid of one, cut spending in two, maintain spending in one, and raise spending in one.Discuss what interest groups you feel would lobby your administration before you make your decision. Consider their arguments. Explain the reasons for your choices and the potential political consequences for your decisions.The Lobbying ProcessRole play The scenario: The drug companies arelobbying for legislation that would givethem control over any prescriptiondrug program for senior citizens.

Interest groups: plan your arguments.How will you convince the President totake your side?

Presidential advisors: what factors willinfluence your decision?The Lobbying ProcessBreak into groups: Group 1: Advisors to the president Group 2: AARP Group 3: The Pharmaceutical Researchand Manufacturers of America Group 4: AFL-CIO