American Government Study Guide for Exam #2
American Government Study Guide for Exam #2 PS 1113
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Popular in American Government
This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Nancy Notetaker on Wednesday October 5, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PS 1113 at Mississippi State University taught by Leslie Baker in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 71 views. For similar materials see American Government in American Government at Mississippi State University.
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Date Created: 10/05/16
American Government Study Guide Chapter 6 Communication is essential in a representative democracy Why a free press? - Historical Basis - Watching for Government - Education - Information Processing - The media fails on these functions today Set the Agenda - The stories that the media chooses to cover (Example: Ebola and the 2014 elections) Political Agenda: A list of issues that need government attention. Agenda Cutting - Stories that are not covered - Governmental action not likely taken (Example: Zika) Information Processing/ Education Does media educate? What information does it give? - “Sound-bites” - Continuous Coverage of same story - News Briefings Mass Media: The means employed in mass communication; traditionally divided into print media and broadcast media. Media may influence on knowledge and opinions - 80% of public read or hear news each day but do not retain much political information. Television Hypothesis: The brief that television is to blame for the low level of citizens’ knowledge about public affairs. TV may: - Contribute little to citizen’s knowledge of public affairs - Discourage respect for different opinions - Lead people to be less trusting of government Federal Communication Commission (FCC): An independent federal agency that regulates interstate and international communication by radio, television, telephone, telegraph, cable, and satellite. Gatekeepers: Media executives, news editors, and prominent reporters who direct the flow of news. Horse Race Journalism: Election coverage by the mass media that focuses on which candidate is ahead rather than on national issues. Is media biased? - News is filtered through ideologies of media owners, editors, and reporters - Reporters criticized for liberal bias - Wealthy, conservative media owners suspected of manipulating content - Incumbents receive more news coverage than challengers - Political bias in coverage can depend on the party in power - Incumbents receive more news coverage than challengers - Political bias in coverage can depend on the party in power - Bias in reporting not limited to election campaigns - Different media may reflect different understanding of political issues What may cause bias? Private ownership of the media - Used to be heavily regulated - Telecommunications Act of 1996 gutted most ownership restrictions of 1600 TV stations were public - Argued that deregulation would foster competition Private ownership result in: - More political freedom - Dependence on advertising revenues - Need or audience appeal - Newsworthiness: degree to which news is important enough to be covered - Scandal, Violence Newsworthiness: the degree to which a news story is important enough to be covered in the mass media. Market-driven Journalism: news and commercials geared to target audience Infotainment: A mix of information and diversion oriented to personalities or celebrities, not linked to the day’s events, and usually unrelated to public affairs or policy; often called “soft news”. Media Effects - Citizens distrust government - Partisan Polarization is at an all-time high - Citizens report higher levels of anxiety Chapter 8 Political Parties - An organization that can nominate people for office - “A political party consists if a group of citizens, more or less organized, who act as a political unit and who, by the use of their voting power, aim to control the government and carry out their general policies (Gettell).” Political System: A set of interrelated institutions that link people with government. Electoral College: A body of electors chosen by voters to cast ballots for president and vice president. Caucus: A closed meeting of the members of a political party to decide questions of policy and the selection of candidates for office. Why two parties in America? - Single-Member Districts vs. Proportional Legislatures (Duverger’s Law) - “Responsible Parties” vs. Candidate Centered Election - There has always been Two-Party system in America Federalist were led by Hamilton - Hamilton wanted to have a very powerful federal government Jefferson was opposed to Hamilton’s idea - The party’s name is Democratic Republican - Believed in strong state power and a normal federal power - 1 party based system Jackson created a party called Democrats The Whigs evolved because they didn’t like Jackson - After the issue of slavery, they separated - The party that separated from the Whigs were called the Republicans National Convention: A gathering of a single political party from across the country to choose candidates for president and vice president and to adopt a party platform. Two-party system: A political system in which two major political parties compete for control of the government. Candidates from a third party have little chance of winning office. Party Identification: A voter’s sense of psychological attachment to a party. The ideal role of parties in majoritarian democracy has been formalized in the four principles of responsible party government: 1. Parties should present clear and coherent programs to voters. 2. Voters should choose candidates on the basis of party programs. 3. The winning party should carry out its program in office. 4. Voters should hold the governing party responsible at the next election for executing its program. Chapter 9 Campaigns and Voting - The purpose of a campaign and an election is to decide between candidates for office - The past 10 – 15 years there has been a growing partisan divide - Most evident in Congress, state legislatures, interest groups - Most research shows that the public is not strongly partisan Election Campaign: An organized effort to persuade voters to choose one candidate over others competing for the same office. Polarization Connections So what is causing this? - If elected officials want to stay in office, they might want to “stock the deck” - First, how are campaigns and elections supposed to work? Presidential Primaries Methods of Primary: - “Frontloading” - Delegates meet at national convention for official nomination Primary Election: A preliminary election conducted within a political party to select candidates who will run for public office in a subsequent election. Closed Primaries: Primary elections in which voters must declare their party affiliation before they are given the primary ballot containing that party’s potential nominees. Open Primaries: Primary elections in which voters need not declare their party affiliation and can choose one party’s primary ballot to make into voting booth. Modified Closed Primaries: Primary elections that allow individual state parties to decide whether they permit independents to vote in their primaries and, if so, which offices. Modified Open Primaries: Primary elections that entitle independent voters to vote in a party’s primary. A voter is said to vote a straight ticket when she or he chooses the same party’s candidates for all the offices. A voter who chooses candidates from different parties is said to vote a split ticket. The political context The two most important structural factors that face each candidate planning a campaign: 1. The office the candidate is seeking 2. Whether he or she is the incumbent (the current officeholder running for reelection) or the challenger (who seeks to replace the incumbent). Campaigns for National Office - There are 537 elected offices in the national government - Only two of these offices actually run a national campaign No one can run a successful presidential campaign without raising a great deal of money. Federal Election Commission (FEC): A bipartisan federal agency of six members that oversees the financing of national election campaigns. Political Action Committee (PAC): An organization that collects campaign contributions from group members and donates them to candidates for political office. There are 3 different Strategies for a good campaign: 1. A party-centered strategy, which relies heavily on voters’ partisan identification as well as on the party’s organization to provide the resources necessary to wage the campaign. 2. An issue-oriented strategy, which seeks support from groups that feel strongly about various policies. 3. A candidate-oriented strategy, which depends on the candidate’s perceived personal qualities, such as experience, leadership ability, integrity, independence, and trustworthiness. (See figure 9.5 on page 263 for further information on campaign effects) Chapter 10 Interest groups: organized associations that promote their interests by attempting to influence government rather than nominating candidates and seeking responsibility for the management of government. Lobby: See interest group Lobbyist: A representative of an interest group Madison’s Concerns Madison felt that interest groups / political parties were potentially dangerous “Liberty is too factional as air is to fire” - Yet, to ban them violated democratic values - The solution was to control them “Factions are group that unite to serve selfish goals, not the national interest. I t is necessary to control factions through Constitutional means, one of which is the creation of a large republic that helps to dispense factions and reduce their influence on the national legislature.” Interest Group Entrepreneur: An interest group organizer or leader. What do interest groups do? - Try to influence Policy Formation - Research - Offer Expert Advice/ Testimony - To legislatures - To Bureaucracy - Try to influence Elections - Get out the Vote Drives - Endorsements/ Candidate rating scales - Campaign Assistance Advertising Funds Agenda Building: The process by which new issues are brought into the political limelight. Political action committee (PAC): An organization that pools campaign contributions from group members and donates those funds to candidates for political office. A PAC can give as much as $5,000 to a candidate for Congress for each separate election. Direct Lobbying relies on personal contact with policymakers Grassroots lobbying involves an interest group’s rank-and-file members and may include people outside the organization who sympathize with its goals. Interest groups launch information campaigns, which are organized efforts to gain public backing by bringing their views to the public’s attention. Coalition Building: The banding together of several interest groups for the purpose of lobbying.
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