Chapter 5 POLITICAL PARTIES Essential Questions In what ways should people participate in public affairs? Does the two-party system help or harm democracy in the United States? “No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation…” (Clinton Rossiter) Chapter 5, Section 1 PARTIES AND WHAT THEY DO What is a Party? Political Party: a group of persons who seek to control government through winning of elections and holding public office US political parties are election-oriented, not issueoriented Each made up of three closely related elements: 1) party organization 2) party in government 3) party in the electorate What Parties Do Essential to democratic government—vital link between people and government “power brokers” Functions: 1) Nominating Candidates* 2) Informing and Activating Supporters Who else does this? Role of compromise? 3) Bonding Agent Function 4) Governing Role of partisanship 5) Watchdog Function “throw the rascals out” Two-Party System US has long been dominated by two party system Factors: 1) Historical Basis Feds/Anti-Feds Framers & “factions” 2) Tradition 3) Electoral System Single-member districts (winner take all) Bipartisan favoritism 4) American Ideological Consensus Impact on parties? Multiparty Systems Prominent in European democracies Interest-oriented parties – economic class, religion, political ideology, etc. Strength/Weakness? Coalitions Temporary alliance of several groups who come together to form a working majority to control a government Examples Brazil, Germany, Chile, Italy, India One-Party Systems “No-party” system “Modified one-party system” One-forth of American states Single party domination Class Discussion: Do you think one-party systems are beneficial? What are the drawbacks of having a dominant party winning every election? How do you think the modified one-party system relates to ideological consensus? Can you explain other reasons that this phenomenon exists? Chapter 5, Section 2 TWO-PARTY SYSTEM IN AMERICAN HISTORY The Nation’s First Parties The battle over ratification of the Constitution led to the rise of the first major parties Federalist Party Alexander Hamilton; John Adams “the rich and well-born” Favored strong national government—policies that helped financial, commercial, and manufacturing interests Democratic-Republican Party Opposed the Federalists Originally called Anti-Federalist Party, then changed to Jeffersonian Republicans/Democratic-Republican Party Favored a more limited national government— policies aimed at helping farmers, planters, labor, small business “common man” Thomas Jefferson, James Madison Election of 1796 & 1800 Four Major Eras 1) 1800-1860 Democrats won 13/15 presidential elections 2) 1860-1932 Republicans won 14/18 elections 3) 1932-1968 Began with Democrats’ return to power and FDR’s first election Democrats won 7/9 elections 4) 1968-Present Republicans have won 7/12 elections Era of Democrats “Era of Good Feeling” Democratic-Republicans unopposed in national politics However, by 1820s, party split into numerous factions— birth of National Republicans and then Whigs Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) “Jacksonian Democracy”—3 major changes: 1) Voting rights expanded to include all whites (regardless of property) 2) Huge increase in number of elected offices nationwide 3) Spread of spoils system Democrats vs. Whigs Democrats Drew support from small farmers, debtors, pioneers, slaveholders; especially popular in the South and West Whigs Loose coalition of eastern bankers, merchants, and industrialists; and many owners of large southern plantations Favored high tariffs Henry Clay; Daniel Webster Splitting of Parties Debate over slavery split the Whigs and Democrats in the 1850s Whig Party fell apart—death of Clay and Webster Democrats split between northern and southern factions Republican Party emerged in 1854 Drew support from many Whigs as well as antislavery Democrats First Republican President elected in 1860 Era of Republicans Republican Party won 14/18 presidential elections from 1860 to 1932 Civil War crippled Democrats Power concentrated in the South—which they controlled for roughly 100 years after Reconstruction Republican Party dominated nationally Support of farmers, laborers, business and financial interests, and freed African Americans Republicans benefitted from years of economic prosperity Reading Check What third-party candidate had an influence on the election of 1912? Explain. Return of the Democrats Democrats won 7/9 presidential elections from 1932 to 1968 Impact of Great Depression Gained support of southerners, small farmers, big city political organizations, labor unions, and minority groups Era of Divided Government Republicans have won 7/12 presidential elections since 1968 Democrats controlled Congress for most of this period Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2000 when Bill Clinton was in office; as well as from 2011-2015 Division of power has meant that neither party could easily control the agenda without making compromises Chapter 5, Section 3 Objectives 1) Identify the types of minor parties that have been active in American politics. 2) Understand why minor parties are important despite the fact that none has ever won the presidency. Introduction What role have minor parties played in American politics? Four broad categories: Ideological Parties Single-Issue Parties Economic Protest Parties Splinter Parties Spoiler Role Innovative Role Ideological Parties Based on particular set of beliefs—a comprehensive view of social, economic, and political factors Most have been built around Marxist ideas Ex: Socialist, Socialist Labor, Socialist Worker, and Communist parties Libertarian Party? Rarely win votes, but long term presence Gary Johnson 2012 Single Issue Parties Emphasize one public policy issue Ex: Free Soil Party Most single issue parties fade away when issue is resolved or no longer attracts public interest Know-Nothings; Right to Life; Prohibition Party Economic Protest Parties Arise in periods of economic trouble No clear ideological base— enemy is the monetary system Call for economic reforms Populist Party (Greenbacks) in 1890s Parties have short life span Splinter Parties Split away from one of the major parties Most of the more important minor parties have been splinter parties Often centered on a particular candidate who fails to win his or her majority nomination/disagreement within a major party Cult of personality Splinter Parties The Progressive parties of Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette split from the Republican Party Roosevelt’s party nicknamed Bull Moose Party Splinter parties tend to break up when their leaders step aside Spoiler Role Minor Parties can also play a spoiler role in an election By winning electoral votes or even enough popular votes to affect the outcome in a key state, a minor party can affect outcome of an election Ex: Green Party & Ralph Nader (2000) Raising Public Awareness Most important role of minor parties is to raise public awareness of controversial issues Women’s suffrage, income tax, regulation of banking and railroads Minor parties challenge the major parties to take action on issues Major parties often incorporate minor party issues Norman Thomas: “the major parties are stealing from my platform” Chapter 5, Section 4 Objectives 1. Understand why the major parties have a decentralized structure. 2. Describe the national party machinery and party organization at the State and local levels. Topics How are political parties organized at the federal, State, and local levels? 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 & Nominating Process 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. 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 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. 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 Chairsperson The national chairperson leads the national committee. The chairperson is chosen after the national convention by the presidential nominee. Howard Dean (right) served as the Democratic Party’s national chairperson in the 2008 election. National Chairperson The national chairperson directs the work of the party headquarters 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 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.