Competitive Party Systems - Hackettstown School District

Report
INTEREST AGGREGATION &
POLITICAL PARTIES
Interest Aggregation
• Definition – activity in which the political demands of
individuals and groups are combined into policy
programs
• How interests are aggregated is key in the political
process
– Determines which interests are heard
– What groups are allowed to participate
– Effects stability & effectiveness of governments
• Occurs in many ways
– Influential party leader or dictator may have impact
– Large states develop organizations for aggregating
interests
– Political parties
• Authoritarian System – single party
• Democratic System – two or more parties
Institutional Interest Aggregation
• Interest groups with powerful resources
cross line between interest articulation &
interest aggregation
• Institutional groups like bureaucratic
agencies & military factions can be
interest aggregators
– Negotiate with interest groups to identify
preferences or mobilize support
– Create client support networks to expand
organizations
Interest Aggregation Party Systems
• Parties are often primary structures of interest
aggregations
• Political Parties are groups or organizations
that seek to place candidates in office under
their label
– Can be one, two, or twenty in a political system!
– The number of parties & their relationship are
components of a party system
• Competitive Party Systems primarily try to build
electoral support
• Authoritarian Party Systems seek to direct
society
Competitive Party Systems
• Role of competitive parties in interest
aggregation depends on each party, the
structure of parties, electorates, electoral
laws, and policymaking institutions
• Aggregation takes place at several
stages
– Within individual parties
– Through electoral competition
– After election via bargaining & coalitionbuilding with other parties in the legislature or
executive
Voting in Competitive Party
Systems
• Parties live and die by performance in elections
• Voting – giving support to political candidates, parties, or
policy proposals – is simple & frequently performed political
action
• Aggregating votes gives citizens ability to make collective
decision about leaders or policies
• Profound implications
– Choice of parties or candidates aggregates political interests
– Determine who manages affairs of government and makes policy
– Examples: Leftist governments came to power in Europe,
expanding size and efforts of government whereas conservative
parties generally slow the growth of gov’t
• Usually voters can choose whether or not to vote
– Some countries require voting
Electoral Systems
• Definition – rules by which elections are conducted
• Determine who can vote, how people vote, and how
the votes get counted
• Single Member District Plurality (SMDP) Election Rule –
the candidate with the most votes in the district wins (not
necessarily a majority)
– Majority Runoff – voting happens in two stages – first takes
a majority, if not, there’s a second round
• Proportional Representation (PR) – each district may
elect as many as 20 or 30 representatives
– Competing parties offer lists of candidates for slots in each
district
– # of representatives a party wins depends on the overall
proportion of the votes it receives
Competition Among Parties in
Electoral Systems
• Formulate appealing policy programs
• Nominate attractive candidates
• Anticipate offerings of their competitors &
preferences of voters
• Must offer candidates for office
– Primary Elections – in the US, voters select party
candidates
– Single Member Districts – usually party officials select
candidates
– Closed-PR Systems – elected representatives drawn
from the top of the list
– Open-List Systems – voters give preference to
individual candidates on the list
Patterns of Electoral Voting
• Duverger’s Law – relationship between electoral systems and
party systems
– Plurality single-member district systems create two-party systems
in the legislature
– Proportional representation systems generate multiparty systems
– 2 mechanisms behind it:
• Mechanical Effect – way that electoral systems convert votes into seats
– Single Member Districts offer no representation unless you finish first in at least
one district
• Psychological Effect – voters & candidates anticipate the mechanical
effect, so voters don’t throw away votes towards candidates they don’t
think will win (third parties)
– Strategic Voting is giving your vote to a party or candidate who’s
not your first choice to avoid an even worse outcome
• Downs’ Median Voter Result – parties moderate policies to try
to win support of the median voter
Authoritarian Party Systems
• Attempt to develop policy proposals &
mobilize support in a different way from
competitive party systems
• Aggregation takes place within the party
or in interactions with business groups,
unions, groups in the bureaucracy or the
military
• May be sham elections, but citizens have
no real opportunity to shape aggregation
by choosing between party alternatives
Classification of Authoritarian
Party Systems
• Distinguished according to degree of top-down control within the
party and party’s control over other groups in society
• Exclusive Governing Party insists on almost total control over
political resources
– Totalitarianism
– Policies legitimized by ideology like communism or national socialism
• Inclusive Governing Party recognizes and accepts at least some
other groups, but may repress those it sees as serious challenges to
its control
– Sometimes labeled authoritarian corporatist systems, encouraging
formation of interest groups that can bargain, but not supplying
political resources to the public
– Electoral authoritarianism looks like democratic elections, but political
opposition, media, and social organizations cannot criticize or
challenge the current regime
Recap: Major Differences
• Competitive Party Systems and Authoritarian
Systems offer interest aggregation
• Competitive Party systems aggregate interests
in multiple political parties and elections
• Authoritarian Systems aggregate interests
within the dominant political party
• Citizens of competitive party systems have
more options in interest articulation and
aggregation than in authoritarian systems
Activity: Left-Right Scale of
Political Parties
• Political parties are groups that try to get candidates into
office
• Members are connected through common political
beliefs or ideologies
• Step 1 – Predict where these ideologies fall on the leftright spectrum:
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Centrism
Conservatism
Liberalism
Reactionism
Communism
Fascism
Social Democracy
Political Ideology Spectrum
Communism
Liberalism
Social
Democracy
LIBERAL
Conservatism
Centrism
Fascism
Reactionism
CONSERVATIVE
STEP 2
• Place Republicans and Democrats
along the scale.
• The left-right scale is divided up by
numbers 1-10
– 1 is Communism
– 5 is Centrism
– 10 is Fascism
Placement of Parties on the LeftRight Scale & Their Voter Support
• United
States,
Labour
2000
• Britain,
2001
• Germany,
SPD
2002
PDS Green
• France,
Socialist
2002
Green
Communist
• Mexico
2000
Democrats
Republicans
LiberalDemocrat
Conservatives
CDU/CSU
FDP
RPR
UDF
PRD
PAN
PRI
FN
Short Essay
• Democrats & Republicans make themselves appear
VERY different in elections
• But, on the left-right scale, Democrats fall between a
5 and 6, and Republicans fall between a 6 and 7 –
not that different!
SO, Why do you think Democrats and Republicans in the
United States portray themselves as being so radically
different when they are not as far apart on the Left-Right
Scale as the Labour and Conservative Parties in Great
Britain?

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