POLI 360 – Final Exam Study Guide
∙ Lecture 16
o Campaign Spending
Total spending has increased over the last few years.
Types of Party Expenditures
1. Direct expenditures: money given to candidates by parties.
2. Coordinated expenditures: money given to candidates by parties
for a specific use.
3. Soft money: money that is to be spend on partybuilding activities. Political Action Committees (PACs): political groups that fundraise and spend money to influence different elections.
Types of PACs
1. Sponsored PACs: set up by labor unions, trade associations, or
2. Nonconnected PACs: no sponsoring organizations.
3. Leadership PACs: set up by incumbent congresspeople to
distribute funds to other candidates.
Other Sources of Fundraising
1. Super PACs
2. Public funding
3. Individual contributors
4. The candidates themselves
o Campaign Finance Reform
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA, 2002): reduced soft money donations, parties’ roles in campaign fundraising, and eliminated soft
money usage for campaign ads. Unsuccessful because soft money is still active in outside groups that are even less accountable than political
Citizens United vs. FEC (2010): defined soft money as a form of free speech and individuals could donate unlimited amounts of money to PACs as such and reduced parties’ roles in campaign fundraising.
Reforms for the Reforms
1. Bring soft money back to political parties. If you want to learn more check out What are the macronutrients and micronutrients?
2. Allow candidates to receive unlimited donations from individuals.
∙ Lecture 17
o Parties in Congress
Separation of powers was designed to limit the factions’ abilities to enact policies easily and to undermine party unity, so parties must form policies across different branches of government. We also discuss several other topics like Translational equilibrium refers to what?
o Parliamentary Systems
Party unity is essential to parliamentary systems, where the cabinet is rearranged or the government is dissolved if the majority party cannot get a majority for their policies.
o Congressional Systems
Congress can vote against the president, the Speaker, the majority leader, or any other leader without threat of government dissolution, and congresspeople are therefore freer to vote the preferences of their constituents or their campaign contributors.
o Party Unity
Congressional parties are now much more unified than before. Party unity is highest at the beginning of party systems because new political issues produce realignments with the governing party intending to act on those new political issues. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the limitations of using cartoons to persuade?
Party Voting: proportion of roll call votes on which most Democrats oppose most Republicans.
Czar Cannon Period (19031911)
∙ He centralized power in the Speaker position by chairing the Rules Committee, controlling the floor, and controlling the rules under which legislation was debated, but he eventually became too Don't forget about the age old question of What is perceptual learning?
autocratic and he was removed from leadership.
∙ Soon after Cannon’s reign, Congress took power away from party leaders by taking away the Speaker’s ability to appoint committee members and chairs, leading to a decline in party unity.
Conservative Coalition (1940s1980s)
∙ Party unity declined even more when this coalition formed.
∙ Speakers during this era had little party influence. We also discuss several other topics like What are the states of matter?
∙ During the 1960s1970s, legislators tried to further their careers and increase their power by spearheading legislation in
unaddressed but developing policy areas.
o Rise of the PostReform Congress
A young Democratic Congress that was voted into office after the Watergate scandal revised the seniority rule; this rule now allowed the majority caucus to challenge and remove committee chairs. This enabled the caucus to remove old, conservative Southern Democrats from their chairs and allowed the liberal Democrats to advance their agenda.
The power to assign committee members was given to the Steering and Policy committee, which is chaired by the Speaker.
The Speaker was also given the power to choose the chair and party members of the Rules Committee.
The whip system was made more responsive to the party leaders. Changes in elections and campaigns made parties more ideologically distinct and therefore more unified.
o Three Important Changes
Party activists became more policymotivated and more ideological. Southern Democrats were replaced by Southern Republicans.
Partisan gerrymandering became more complex, resulting in more safe seats and fewer swing seats.
o Party Unity Continued
The greatest increase in party unity came with the election of a
conservative freshman Republican majority in 1994.
Speaker Newt Gingrich used his powers dynamically to advance his party’s agenda. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the scope of economics?
When the House turned Democratic in 2006, Nancy Pelosi continued the pattern of powerful Speakership.
∙ Lecture 18
o Parties in the Executive Branch
Presidents are their parties’ leaders, are responsible for party fundraising, are responsible for choosing the chair of his/her party’s national
committee, and partially set his/her party’s foreign and national policy agendas.
On Election Day, presidents influence voting for their respective parties on the rest of the ballot because of the position’s conspicuousness.
∙ Coattail Effect: When candidates for lower positions are voted
into office on the president’s popularity.
Theory of Surge and Decline: the idea that losing seats in the midterm election reflects different agents of change in the midterm and presidential election years.
∙ The president’s party usually loses seats in midterm elections,
possibly because the president is not on the ballot.
o Presidents and Congress
Popular presidents and presidents without divided government are much more likely to get their policies enacted through Congress.
Mayhew, a renowned political scientist, proposes that even if presidents do not have respectable total success rates with Congress, those rates do not affect the enactment of significant legislation.
o Parties in the Executive Branch
One concern of presidents’ is getting their policies promoted through the executive branch’s bureaucracy.
Bureaucracy exists because one person (the president) cannot implement congressional policies by himself/herself.
Factors That Work Against Presidential Control of Bureaucracy 1. Staggered terms for toplevel bureaucrats
2. Bipartisan control of executive agencies and departments.
3. Civil service protections for bureaucrats make it hard to fire
4. Cabinet members and new judges must be confirmed by Senate.
5. PrincipleAgent Problem: bureaucratic experts can use their
knowledge to oppose the president’s policies.
6. Departments’ senses of selfpreservation.
∙ Lecture 19
o Parties in the Courts
Party affiliation shapes judicial decisions.
Party organizations, however, do not shape judicial decisions; rather, it appears that partisanship shapes decisions because Republicans and
Democrats naturally have different views about different issues.
o Responsible Parties
The American Political Science Association’s Committee on Political Parties found that some people would prefer more effective party
government – the opposite of what the founding fathers would have
It presented its findings in 1950 with a report titled “Toward a More Responsive TwoParty System,” which promoted a move toward party government with responsible parties that would allow more legislation to get enacted.
o Elements of Responsible Party Government
1. Parties develop specific statements of policies they pledge to carry out if elected.
2. Parties nominate candidates loyal to the policies.
3. Parties campaign for office on their policies in order to make observable distinctions to the voters.
4. Parties hold officeholders responsible for those policies’ enactment. o Advantages of Responsible Parties
1. Increased accountability
2. Increased effectiveness
Even if this model was enacted, the U.S. government would still need to coordinate its actions across all three branches. Additionally, some
positions would still have staggered terms that are not governed by
elections, and all officeholders have different geographic constituencies; both of these characteristics would create a lack of cohesiveness.
Essentially, this model would work best in a mass parties system, not the American modified cadre party system.
o Ideology: The responsible party system implies favoring ideological parties, where parties are easily distinguishable from each other. All voters, however, are not ideological.
o Ideology in the U.S. Electorate
Later studies have shown that U.S. citizens are more ideological that previously thought, especially as political parties have become more
distinct from each other.
It seems that U.S. citizens prefer moderate pragmatism (which focuses on policy results) than the responsible party model.
o Other Ways to Strengthen Parties: any changes that occur will have to occur with the blessing of party elites.
o The Party Era of the 1800s
The late 1800s was a period of the greatest party strength in the U.S. Party identity was connected to religious identity.
∙ Pietism vs. liturgists = Baptists and Methodists that focused on
personal purity were more likely to identify as Republican, while
Catholics that focused on church services (liturgy) were more
likely to identify as Democrats.
∙ Democrats favored limited government; they did not want to use
the government to enforce moral codes, such as drinking.
(Catholics did not regard drinking as a moral sin.)
∙ Republicans wanted to use the government to enforce moral codes; they supported the temperance movement and Protestant prayers in
The U.S. probably will not return to semireligious party identification. o Partisan Mobilization
Voter mobilization strengthened parties.
Party contacts increased voters’ attachments to parties.
Party mobilization and partisan strength in government, organizations, and voters has increased recently
∙ Lecture 20
o Decline of Parties
The recent party revitalization contrasts with the 1960s1970s party decline, especially in regards to party organization.
Why Did That Decline Occur?
1. Changing demographics
2. Loss of patronage jobs
3. Use of primaries
4. Party machines had lost most of their power and strength by this
5. Creation and development of the conservative coalition
6. Rise in policy entrepreneurship
7. Rise in independents
o Resurgence of Parties
The decline may have been overstated.
∙ This political scientist examined the effects of partisanship on
voting in the U.S.
∙ He found that the proportion of voters that were partisan identifiers increased in the 1990s to a point higher than any point since 1968.
∙ Additionally, the proportion of nonvoters that identified as
partisans decreased from 1950s1990s, signifying that nonvoters
are increasingly disenchanted with government.
∙ Party identification is increasingly important for voters’ vote
choices; this importance results in increasing partisan voting.
Partisan voting includes both the percentage of partisans and the
effect of partisanship on vote choice.
∙ Party identification increased less in congressional elections
Parties also grew in strength in government by the 1990s; the PostReform Congress gave more power to congressional party leaders.
Party organizations also grew in strength during this time period by becoming more professional and refining their mobilization techniques. It is doubtful that U.S. government will return to the 1800s era of party strength because nonpartisan government bureaucracy is now responsible for social programs instead of party machines.
Parties usually adapt to fill different roles in different eras. For example, modern parties are increasingly polarized parties in service to candidates that use sophisticated mobilization techniques.
∙ He focused on mobilization of conflict vs. privatization of conflict. ∙ Mobilization of Conflict: parties mobilize political conflict and
expand it to include additional citizens.
∙ Privatization of Conflict: the interest group system survives and
thrives on privatization of conflict.
o Privatization of Conflict
Pluralism: this theory argues that the interest group system can represent diverse interests and would not be problematic for accurate representation, since anyone can create an interest group.
If all political interests had equal chances of forming interest groups, pluralism would work. Unfortunately, interests would be narrower in this system than a partisan system.
Schattschneider argues that upperclass interests, such as business or corporate interests, tend to be better represented than middle or lower class interests, such as working or consumer interests, because of
organizational resources, economic incentives, and the collective action problem.
∙ Lecture 21
o Resurgence of Parties
Thriving parties require active citizen participation; if that participation ceases to exist, an iron triangle interest group system will tend to
∙ Iron Triangle: interest groups, government, bureaucracy, and the connections between them. The people in these triangles promote their own narrow interests in specific policy areas.
The party system works against iron triangles.
Parties have increasingly contacted voters more often because: 1. More refined voter targeting
2. Investment in party organization
3. Partiesinservice to candidates
Increasing party identification suggests increasingly willing targets for party mobilization.
Citizens are more likely to consider themselves partisans when they see and understand recognizable differences between the parties. Government, organizations, and the electorate influence each other. To prevent polarization, we could implement nonpartisan redistricting, which would result in more moderate/swing districts. However, this could weaken distinctions between parties, and people would be less inclined to identify with a party and vote.
Aldrich proposed that parties are the creations of political elites. Parties adapt to changes in the political environment to serve the needs of political elites.