Introduction What are political parties, and how do they function in our two-party system? Encourage good behavior among members

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1 Chapter 5: Political Parties Section 1 Objectives Define a political party. Describe the major functions of political parties. Identify the reasons why the United States has a two-party system. Understand multiparty and one-party systems and how they affect the functioning of a political system. Key Terms political party: a group of persons who seek to control government by winning elections and holding public office political spectrum: the range of political views, from the so-called left to the right partisanship: strong support for a specific political party and its policies single-member districts: a voting district in which only one candidate is elected to each office on the ballot plurality: the largest number of votes cast for an elected office; this number does not have to be a majority of all votes cast bipartisan: an approach to policy making in which the two major parties find common ground on an issue consensus: general agreement among different groups on an issue coalition: a temporary alliance of several groups who join to form a working majority in a multiparty system Introduction What are political parties, and how do they function in our two-party system? A party is a group of people who try to control government by winning elections and holding public office. Political Parties: Nominate candidates Inform and inspire supporters Encourage good behavior among members Govern once in office Perform oversight on government actions What is a Party? Checkpoint: What are the three elements that make up a political party? The party organization is the party professionals who run the party at all levels by contributing time, money, and skill. The party in government includes the candidates and officeholders who serve at

2 all levels of government. The party in the electorate are the millions of voters who identify strongly with a particular party and support its policies. What Parties Do Parties express the will of the people in government. They can also encourage unity by modifying conflicting views and encouraging compromise. Parties nominate find, recruit, prepare, and gather public support for qualified political candidates. Parties inform the public and try to shape public opinion, using all forms of media to campaign for or against opposing candidates and policy issues. Roles of Parties Parties act as a bonding agent to encourage accountability among their candidates and office holders. Parties play a key roles in governing at all levels. Legislatures are organized along party lines and parties shape the electoral process. Partisanship guides many legislative votes and appointments to public office. Parties provide channels of communication between the branches of government. Parties as Watchdogs Checkpoint: How do parties perform the watchdog function? In particular, the minority party keeps a close eye on the actions of the party that controls the executive branch to make sure that it does not abuse its power or violate the public trust. The Two-Party System The Republican and Democratic parties dominate American politics. Only the candidates from the two major parties have a chance to win most elections. Why is this the case? The Framers opposed political parties. They saw parties as factions that caused disunity and conflict. George Washington warned against the dangers of parties. Tradition Once established, parties became part of tradition. The nature of the election process supports the two-party system. Nearly all American elections take place in single-member districts--only the one candidate who wins the largest number of votes gets elected to office. This works against third-party candidates, who have little chance of finishing in the top two. The two major parties write election rules that discourage non-major parties.

3 For example, it is very difficult for a third party candidate to get on the ballot in all 50 states. Ideological Consensus Americans tend to share a broad ideological consensus. The United States is made up of many different cultural groups. While Americans don t agree on every issue, they do support the same basic freedoms. Strongly divisive issues have tended not to last for generations. Building Consensus Both major parties try to be moderate and build consensus. Both parties tend to have a few major areas of policy differences while being rather similar in other areas. The similarities between parties arises because both parties are after a majority of voters in any given election. Both parties must compete for the many voters in the middle of the political spectrum. Political Spectrum Multiparty Systems Multiparty systems are used by many democracies. They have several major and many smaller parties. Each party is based on a particular interest. These interests can include economic class, religion, or political ideology. Multiparty systems tend to represent a more diverse group of citizens. Supporters admire this feature, arguing that it gives voters many more choices among candidates and policies. However, this diversity often makes multiparty systems less stable. The power to govern must usually be shared by several parties who join in a coalition. One-Party Systems Only one political party exists, offering no real choice. Some U.S. states and districts are modified one-party systems. In these places, one party repeatedly wins most of the elections and dominates government. Review Now that you have learned about political parties and how they function in our two-party system, go back and answer the Chapter Essential Question. Does the two-party system help or harm democracy? Chapter 5: Political Parties Section 2 Objectives Understand the origins of political parties in the United States. Identify and describe the three major periods of single-party domination and describe the current era of divided government. Key Terms incumbent: the current officeholder faction: one of two or more competing groups spoils system: the practice of awarding public offices, contracts, and other governmental favors to those who supported the party in power

4 electorate: the people eligible to vote sectionalism: a devotion to the interests of a particular region Introduction How has the two-party system affected the history of American government? During different periods in American history, either the Democratic or Republican Party has dominated national politics and the branches of the federal government. Recent history has seen the federal government divided between two parties. The Nation s First Parties The battle over ratification of the Constitution led to the rise of the first major parties. The Federalist Party was formed by supporters of the Constitution. They wanted a stronger national government and policies that helped financial, commercial, and manufacturing interests. Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were key representatives. Democratic-Republican Party Opposing the Federalists was the Democratic-Republican Party. They wanted a more limited national government, with policies aimed at helping farmers, planters, labor, and small business. Key leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison favored a strict interpretation of the Constitution. The Democratic Party The election of 1796 was the first time two parties fought for the presidency. The Federalists won, but faded from power after losing the 1800 election. The Democratic-Republicans later split apart and gave rise to the Democratic Party. Template for graphic only The Era of the Democrats The Democratic Party won 13 of 15 presidential elections from 1800 to In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson began a period of so-called Jacksonian democracy, marked by three major political changes: Voting rights were expanded to include all white males, not just those with property. A huge increase in the number of elected offices around the country. The spread of the spoils system. Democrats v. Whigs The Democrats drew much of their support from small farmers, pioneers, and slaveholders in the

5 South and West. Their greatest rivals were the Whigs, who were supported by wealthier merchant and industrial interests in the East. Democrats v. Whigs, cont. The debate over slavery split the Whigs and the Democrats apart in the 1850s. The Democrats were split between northern and southern factions. Many Whigs and antislavery Democrats joined the new Republican Party in Era of the Republicans The Republican Party won 14 of 18 presidential elections from 1860 to The Civil War crippled the Democrats. All their powers was concentrated in the South, which they controlled for roughly 100 years after Reconstruction ended. The Republican dominated nationally. They had the support of farmers, laborers, business and financial interests, and freed African Americans. The Republicans benefited from years of economic prosperity. Economic Turmoil An economic downturn made the election of 1896 critical. Labor unions joined small farmers and small business owners to back the Democrats. The Republicans won by appealing to a wider range of voters, but the Democrats gained new support outside the South. End of the Republican Era Checkpoint: What third-party candidate had an influence on the election of 1912? Explain. The Republicans lost the presidency in 1912 largely due to a third party candidate. Former Republican Theodore Roosevelt ran as a member of the new Progressive Party and split the Republican vote, helping Democrat Woodrow Wilson win. Party Identity: Past and Present Cartoonist Thomas Nast has been credited with creating the party symbols in is 1874 cartoon for the magazine Harper s Weekly. Originally, neither party adopted his ideas. Over time, each party assumed and revised the symbols, which have

6 become synonymous with party identity. Return of the Democrats The Democrats won 7 out of 9 presidential elections from 1932 to The Great Depression sparked the comeback of the Democrats. With the economy in ruins, the Democrats gained the support of southerners, small farmers, big-city political organizations, labor unions, and minority groups. Era of Divided Government The Republicans won 7 out of 10 presidential elections from 1968 to The Democrats controlled Congress for most of this period. Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2000 while Democrat Bill Clinton was President. This division of power meant that neither party could easily control the agenda of the government without making compromises. Republicans in the 1980s The Republicans made major changes to U.S. foreign trade and domestic policies during the 1980s. Republican candidates Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush won three landslide victories during this period. Political Parties Today In recent years, control of Congress, particularly the Senate, has shifted back and forth between the major parties. Typically newly elected Presidents has a coattail effect that brings other candidates from their party to Congress. In recent years, this has not been the case. Review Now that you have learned how the two-party system has affected the history of American government, go back and answer the Chapter Essential Question. Does the two-party system help or harm democracy? Chapter 5: Political Parties Section 3 Objectives Identify the types of minor parties that have been active in American politics. Understand why minor parties are important despite the fact that none has ever won the presidency. Key Terms ideological parties: parties based on a particular set of social, economic, and political beliefs single-issue parties: parties focused on only one public-policy issue economic protest parties: parties whose members are united by anger over economic hard times and dislike for the major parties splinter parties: parties that have split off from one of the major parties; often focused on a single popular leader Introduction

7 What role have minor parties played in American politics? American minor parties have fallen into four broad categories: ideological parties, single-issue parties, economic protest parties, and splinter parties. Minor parties can play a spoiler role in elections by taking critical votes from a major party. They can also be the first to bring key issues to public attention with their campaigns. Ideological Parties Ideological parties are based on a particular set of beliefs that usually involve society, politics, and the economy. Most of these parties have involved Marxist ideas, such as Socialist, Socialist Labor, Socialist Worker, and Communist parties. Ideological Parties, cont. The Libertarian Party promotes the opposite view, calling for the elimination of most government functions and programs. Ideological parties rarely win many votes, but can last for many years. Single Issue Parties Single issue parties emphasize one public policy issue. For example, the Free Soil Party opposed the spread of slavery to the West. Most single issue parties fade away when their issue is resolved or no longer attracts public interest. Economic Protest Parties Checkpoint: How are economic protest parties different from single-issue parties? Economic protest parties arise in periods of economic trouble. They call for economic reforms. The Populist Party of the 1890s arose from the Greenbacks. They demanded public ownership of railroads, telephone, and telegraph companies along with political reforms. These parties disappear when the hard economic times end. Splinter Parties Splinter parties split away from one of the major parties. They are often centered on a particular candidate who fails to win his or her major party nomination, or arise from a strong disagreement within a major party. Splinter Parties, cont. The Dixiecrat and American Independent parties split from the Democratic Party over states rights and civil rights issues. George C. Wallace, governor of Alabama campaigned for President in 1968 as a member of the American Independent Party. The Bull Moose Party The Progressive parties of Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette split from the Republican Party. Roosevelt s party was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party. Splinter parties tend to break up when their leaders step aside. Minor Party Influence Minor parties can also play a spoiler role.

8 By winning electoral votes or even enough popular votes to affect the outcome in a key state, a minor party can affect the outcome of an election. Affecting Presidential Elections It is not common for a minor party candidacy to shift the outcome of a presidential election. Theodore Roosevelt s candidacy as a Progressive Party member most likely cost Republican William Taft the presidential election of Ralph Nader s Green Party may have cost Democrat Al Gore the very close presidential election of 2000 by gaining votes in swing states such as Florida. Raising Public Awareness The most important role of minor parties is to raise public awareness of controversial issues. Women s suffrage, income tax, and regulation of banking and railroads were all first championed by minor parties. Minor parties challenge the major parties to take action on issues, often accusing them of being part of the problem. The more successful minor parties efforts are to raise awareness of an issue, the more likely it is that major parties will put the idea into their own campaign platforms. Minor Party Candidates In 2008 there were seventeen minor party presidential candidates appearing on the ballot of at least one state. More than 1,000 minor party candidates also sought seats in Congress or offices in various state and local elections. Review Now that you have learned about the roles that minor parties have played in American politics, go back and answer the Chapter Essential Question. Does the two-party system help or harm democracy? Chapter 5: Political Parties Section 4 Objectives Understand why the major parties have a decentralized structure. Describe the national party machinery and party organization at the State and local levels. Key Terms ward: one of several voting districts into which cities are often divided for the election of city council members precinct: the smallest unit of election administration; voters in a precinct cast their ballots at a single polling place located in that precinct Introduction How are political parties organized at the federal, State, and local levels?

9 Parties are decentralized. National Committees represent each party s interests at the national level. Most states have a central party committee. Local party structures vary quite widely from place to place. A Decentralized Structure Neither party has an unbroken chain of command running through all levels of government. The President is the nominal leader of his or her party. This means that the party of the President is typically better organized than its rival party. The President s media exposure and power to make appointments is valuable, but does not give him or her complete authority over all party activities. Federalism The federal system is decentralized. There are more than half a million elective offices in the United States spread across federal, state, and local governments. The parties must satisfy a very wide range of voters, which makes it hard to have a unified party message. The Nominating Process Checkpoint: How does the nomination process contribute to intraparty conflict? The nominating process can lead to competition within the parties. Nominations are made within the party and can divide party members if there is a dispute over nominees. The National Convention Checkpoint: What happens at each party s national convention? The national convention is held every presidential election year. The convention names the party s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, adopts the party s rules, and writes the official party platform. The convention does not name candidates for other offices and has no control over the actual policies supported by candidates. National Committee The national committee handles party issues in between conventions. Each party s national committee includes a committee member from each state. The Republican National Committee (RNC) now seats the party chairperson for each state as well as representatives from various Republican groups and the U.S. territories. National Committee, cont. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is even larger. It includes the party chair and vice chairperson from each state, additional party members from the larger states, and up to 75 at large members chosen by the DNC. National Chairperson The national chairperson leads the national committee. The chairperson is chosen after the national convention by the presidential

10 nominee. Howard Dean (right) served as the Democratic Party s national chairperson in the 2008 election. National Chairperson, cont. The national chairperson directs the work of the party headquarters and professional staff in Washington, D.C. In presidential election years, the national chairperson s work involves the presidential campaign. In other years, the chairperson concentrates on building party unity, raising money, and recruiting new voters for the next election. Campaign Committees Each party also has a campaign committee for each house of Congress. These committees work to get party members elected or reelected to Congress. Raising Funds Both parties spend a great deal of effort to make sure the party s officeholders stay in power. What does the chart show about spending over the last several years? Why might well-known party members be invited to speak at dinners? State Party Organization State law largely determines party organization at the state level. Most states have a central party committee headed by a chairperson. The committee members choose the chairperson, who often has a great deal of independence in conducting party affairs. Committee members are chosen by a variety of methods: primaries, caucuses, or state conventions. These officials try to promote party unity, find candidates, and raise funds. Local Party Organization Local party structure varies a great deal. In some places local party organizations are active year-round, but usually they focus their efforts on the few months before an election. What kind of party jobs do you think exist at each level of organization? Review Now that you have learned how political parties are organized at the federal, State, and local levels, go back and answer the Chapter Essential Question. Does the two-party system help or harm democracy?

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