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ALL textbook notes and class notes POSC 103
Popular in American National Government
Popular in Political Science
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Chapter 1 – The Constitution of the United States 1.1 What is the Constitution? Fun Facts Each of the 50 states has a constitution Presidential oath: to “preserve, protect, and defend” the constitution Functions: Outlines the design of the government Grants power / authority to the government to act Lists the rights of the people (which limits governmental power) Serves as a symbol of the country 1.2 The Road to Nationhood Colony – a territory under the direct control of a parent state 17631776 colonies organized resistance against British authority 1776 Declaration of Independence, themes: Humankind shares equality: the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” Government is the creation and servant of the people (the government maintains authority by the consent of the governed) Governments are bound by their own laws 1781 Articles of Confederation – first national constitution giving the states the majority of political power “Confederation” – loose union of separate states Congress represented the states, not the people Central government had power over foreign affairs and the military, but not over taxes or trade There was no executive branch or national courts It was very hard to make amendments 1.3 The Making of the Constitution 1787 Constitutional Convention (Philadelphia, PA) Virginia Plan, suggested: o Stronger national government o Congressional representation based on state populations New Jersey Plan, suggested: o Changes to the Articles of Confederation o States retain their power Great Compromise: o House based on state populations o Senate has equal representation for each state 1787 The Constitution Federalists = supporters of the Constitution o The Federalist Papers – 85 essays by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton spreading support for the constitution Antifederalists = nonsupporters of the Constitution 1.4 Features of the Constitution Republican government – where people elect representatives to make decisions in their place Popular election (House of Representatives) Indirect popular election (Senate) Presidential appointment (National Judiciary) 3 branches of government: Legislative (Congress), Executive (President), and Judiciary (Supreme Court) > division of responsibilities > checks and balances Electoral college (to elect the president) It’s short (open for interpretation) Necessary and Proper Clause (“elastic clause”, gives Congress “implied powers”) 1791 Bill of Rights (= 10 Amendments (today there are 27), limits the government) How Amendments are commonly made: Proposal by 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress, ratification by 3/4 of the state legislators 1.5 Judicial Review Comes to the Supreme Court Court cases are examples of the Judicial Branch giving meaning to certain parts of the Constitution Judicial Review – the authority of courts to say if a legislative act is unconstitutional First occurred in Marbury v. Madison (1803) Chapter 4 – Political Ideologies 4.1 American Political Ideologies Ideology – spells out what is valued vs. not valued, what needs to be maintained vs. changed Divided into liberal and conservative Radical ideologies: libertarianism and democratic socialism (defined later) 4.2 Liberalism Liberalism – ideology that regards the individual as rational and capable of overcoming obstacles without violence Roots: John Locke’s contract theory – supported limited government that protects the people’s rights. Inspired Thomas Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence. Classical liberalism (1800s, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson): wanted small business owners and farmers to compete in the economic system > very little government involvement other than the protection of property rights. Exp. President Jackson fought against the national bank in fear of it assisting the elite. Populism (1880s): wanted further democratization of government (direct election of Senators) and economic reforms Progressivism (19001920s, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson): Supported government programs Roosevelt: Meat Inspection Act Wilson: 8hr work day for railroad workers. Wilson: Felt that if Jefferson had been alive in the 1900s, he would have understood that leaving an individual alone is leaving them helpless (this explains the attitude shift of the Democratic party/ why they now see government aid to be so important). Contemporary liberalism: (19301940s, President F.D. Roosevelt): New Deal = government help during the Great Depression. Exp. Social Security (1960s, President L.B. Johnson): Great Society = health care and extended welfare benefits (19932001, President Clinton): Industrial policy = a proposed partnership between government officials, corporate and union leaders, and public interest groups Liberals are against militaryoriented foreign policy (exp. War in Iraq/Afghanistan) Neoliberalism – promotes wealth (not the redistribution of wealth) and the reform of military practices (not the reduction of military spending). Who makes up the Democratic Party? Minorities, the labor movement, feminists, and the lower class 4.3 Conservation Conservatism – emphasizes the value of tradition/established practices as guides for the future. Roots: Edmund Burk (1790) – people should only seek change when necessary and rely heavily on the past. Only the ruling class (property owners) should run the government. Early American Conservatism (17351826, President John Adams): Supported the Constitution because the poor couldn’t steal from the rich & vice versa Saw the Supreme Court as the guarantor of property rights. Believed men without property lacked virtue and shouldn’t vote IndustrialAge conservatism: laissezfaire economics – economic system that operates free of government control Herbert Spencer and William Sumner (18201910): theory of social Darwinism – economic competition leads to the survival of the fittest, those who survive are superior and are fit to run the country. They opposed governmental aid to the needy. Contemporary conservatism: Against affirmative action and welfare state programs because it creates a permanent class of the poor who are dependent on the state. Believes in promoting virtue, social responsibility, and good morals (exp. They do not support abortion or gay rights and are against banning prayer in schools) They now promote the referendum process where the people can vote on policies (when they were originally distrusting of the nonelite population) (Notable) Conservative Presidents: 1920, Warren Harding – began an era of conservative dominance until 1932 1981, Ronald Reagan – tax reductions, domestic spending cuts, defense build up 2000, G.W. Bush – tax cuts, defense spending, environmental deregulation Republican Party Presidents include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, but they didn’t like ideological labels like being called a Republican Neoconservatism: Rejects the idea that the government can solve social problems Rejects the use of racial or gender preferences to make the hiring process fair Believes liberals have promised too much to too many groups of people Supports a modest welfare state (Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare) Supports continued U.S. leadership in world affairs, not isolationism 4.4 Ideological Challenges to the Status Quo Democratic Socialism – economic system completely within government regulation, major industries are owned by an elected government, which directs the economy It rejects violent revolutions (unlike communism) Limits individual wealth and property Guarantees healthcare, education, food, and shelter to everyone Believes that capitalism has succeeded in creating wealth, but failed to solve poverty o Equal opportunity is not enough, there must be equal results o Motivated not by individual gain, but by social responsibility (exp. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders) Libertarianism – economic system without any government regulation. The government should only protect the rights to life, liberty, and property Doesn’t believe that prostitution, gambling, or smoking marijuana is a crime, but part of an individual’s private life Believes the U.S. shouldn’t interfere with other nations because military alliances lead to war and war preparation increases the roles of the government (Exp. The draft is considered involuntary servitude) Tea Party (2009) – named after the Boston Tea Party Supports Fiscal responsibility Supports constitutionally limited government Supports free markets Doesn’t run candidates for office Chapter 5 – Public Opinion and Political Participation 5.1 Public Opinions: What Americans Think About Politics Public opinion –the views, attitudes, and ideas held by individuals in a community Polling – the process of using social science methods to get an accurate sense of the public’s view on an issue Polling results show that Americans are proud of their country more than members of other countries, but almost 1 in 4 Americans can’t name the country from which we gained independence. Core values: Equality: whether or not Americans actually think that all people are equal, we believe the government should treat everyone equal. We disagree on the level of government involvement in improving the lives of minorities. Freedom: Americans believe in doing what is best for themselves (strong support for st the 1 Amendment), but disagree on what counts as interfering with other’s freedoms Consent of the governed: Americans believe the majority should rule, but with limited power so the minority can be protected Capitalism: Americans believe in the value of hard work, private property, economic competition, and profit. Freedom > equality. Everyone starts off equal, but is free to pursue selfinterests and potentially become wealthy. 5.2 The Sources of Public Opinion: Political Socialization Political socialization – the process that shapes how people think about politics Agents of socialization: “teachers” of politics o Family: transfers attitudes towards authority (police and presidents) o School: student government associations, experiences with students of different races and religions, teaches history, social studies, politics, etc. o Peer groups: pressure to conform 5.3 Political Participation Political efficacy – the belief that one can accomplish something by participating Sense of duty – the belief that it is one’s responsibility to be politically active Party identification – psychological attachment to a political party motivates one to participate in the political process Forms of participation: Staying informed (TV, newspapers) Contacting public officials (letters, petitions) Protests (marches, boycotts, picketing, violence – riots/assassinations) o Civil disobedience – breaking the law to make a point (Exp. Sitins) o Passive resistance – not doing anything (Exp. Laying down when an officer is trying to make an arrest) Rational actor model – a person will choose the action that gives them the most benefit at the least cost. If benefit > cost, a person will participate in the political process Exp. Costs = registering to vote, staying up to date, going to the polls, participating or organizing a rally, writing a letter, creating a petition. Benefits = the chance your vote will put the person you want into office, the chance that the person will stick to what they said they’d do once they’re in office, the chance that your letter/petition/rally will make a difference. Some lack resources and can’t afford what it costs to participate Chapter 6 – Politicians and the Media Journalists – people who gather, write, edit, report, and produce news Press secretary – moves information from the president to the people and from the people to the president (President Obama’s press secretary = Josh Earnest) Mass media – newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, and internet 6.1 The “Fifth Branch” 1. President 2. Congress 3. Supreme Court 4. Bureaucracy 5. Press History of the press: Spread news about the battles of Lexington and Concord Distributed copies of the Declaration of Independence Publicized The Federalist Papers 1920s – radio 1950s – TV Today: Some magazines have never existed in print form, only online (The Huffington Post) Some magazines are solely opinion based, targeting certain political audiences News networks: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Internet: a news source that is growing fastest in popularity 1 Amendment (1789)– “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Protects freedom of the press indicating that there is a possibility that someone would attempt to silence those who criticize or disagree Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – Government agency that regulates all radio and TV stations Equaltime rule: stations must give/sell time to a political candidate if it has done so to another (same length of time, at the same time of day). Fairness doctrine: stations must devote air time to both a discussion of public issues and cover both sides. (Repealed in 1987). 6.2 Politics and the Press The media serves as: Vehicles – allowing political leaders to speak to virtually everyone in the nation Gatekeepers – determining what news people will receive. Influences how people will feel about that news (outrage, sadness, pride, trust/distrust). Spotlights – doesn’t broadcast daily life, just issues that people find interesting. o Sometimes the government and press team up to “manufacture” an issue to sway public opinion. o Priming: media doesn’t dictate how to think, just what to think about Talent Scouts – Campaigns are viewed like sporting events (who is in the lead/ an important player). 60% of people surveyed have little confidence that media reports news fairly/ accurately. 80% believe the press is influenced by powerful people/organizations 6.3 Tools of the Trade: Politicians and the “Fifth Branch” Leak: a deliberate release of information by an official (anonymous) to a reporter Exclusive: an acknowledged interview that officials grant to a journalist News release: a story made by a press secretary to attract media attention Press conference: officials stand before reporters and answer questions News briefing: official makes an announcement or explains a policy Backgrounders: when reporters don’t cite their sources Visual: image or video of events Photo opportunities: events scheduled so reporters can take pictures 6.4 Are the Media Biased? Journalists tend to: come from the MidWest, major in journalism or English (not philosophy, economics, or political science), and vote for democrats. Agenda setting – airing one story out of many shapes what Americans think is important The president, the department of defense, and the department of state get the most coverage in DC because the president and those secretaries are easy to video/photograph/interview, etc. vs. the 535 members in Congress Ethics play an important role in deciding how deep into an alleged scandal a reporter should go (how much of a candidate’s life should be personal?) Framing – the way media presents a story (the angle, tone, and point of view) Nielson ratings – determine the size of TV audiences If journalists feel that a news story would be boring, they may disregard it (not giving the public a chance to learn of it) or they may tweak it by adding favorable details (denying the public the chance to learn the objective truth). Chapter 7 – Interest Groups and Political Parties 7.1 Interest Groups in American Politics Interest groups – associations of people who hold common views and work together to influence government actions 30% of Americans are involved (more common in the US than in other democracies) Pluralist democracy – American society is made up of many groups because of the different races, religions, cultures, languages, etc. Power is in the hands of labor organizations, veterans, industries, etc., not the elite Policies are made as a compromise between groups. Exp. Laws to reduce automobile emissions benefit environmentalists, health care specialists, the elderly, automobile manufacturers/dealers, labor unions, and petroleum companies. Characteristics of interest groups: Size: bigger groups are more effective (more active members, money, and votes) o Movement – when several interest groups join together for a cause (exp. Civil rights movement, environmental movement, feminist movement) Membership: Formal (pays dues, etc.) or nonformal (sense of belonging) Organization: Internal communication, ability to coordinate, democratic or autocratic control over its members Political attachment: political action committees are formed to petition the government if interests are threatened Views: either agree or disagree with mainstream society Actions interest groups take: Direct mail: personally addressed letters or emails to solicit support and donations Political action committees: send money to candidates o Federal Election Campaign Act: prevents the misuse of campaign funds Lobbying: attempting to influence legislation that’s under consideration by personal contact with decision making bodies by group representatives o Iron Triangle: interest group representatives, legislative committees, and government administrators influence political decisions o Class action suits: legal action on behalf of individuals whose common interest is only a grievance against the other party o Amicus curiae brief: a group offers friendly advice on how to decide a case Major interest groups Economic. Grass roots lobbying: business groups encourage their members to contact their elected officials Social groups. Concern: gender, race, ethnic discrimination, economic advancement (exp. NOW – National Organization for Women, and NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Religious groups. Concern: religious freedom (exp. Christian Right: conservative groups that promote prayer in schools, the teaching of creationism in science classes, and the teaching of abstinence in sex education) Ideological groups. Public policy based on their philosophy of government action Single issue groups. Refuse to compromise their goals (Exp. Antiabortion movement) Public interest groups. Concern: issues that affect the general public 7.2 Perspectives on Interest Groups View: Interest groups as the foundation of democracy The US is pluralistic and the more people who are informed about, and active in, politics, the better Interest groups represent the people Crosscutting cleavage: two individuals rarely disagree on all issues, but overlap in some interests. This prevents polarizing conflict and taking sides. Interest group competition and crosscutting cleavages provide balance Interest group elitism: elite members pursue interests over other members’ interests, elite groups pursue interests over other groups’ interests View: Interest groups vs. Public Interest Who gets to define the “common good”? Should a good be done for a small number of people? View: Interest group grid lock The government, in an attempt to please all, pleases none The political process can be stuck if too many groups/all are unwilling to compromise 7.3 Political Parties Political party – an organization seeking to influence public policy by putting its own members into governmental authority Socialization functions – how parties socialize voters into politics and form public opinion in order to win elections Electoral functions – how parties bring order to campaigns in order to win elections Integrate interests (a single issue won’t get enough votes), but, even then, one party won’t offer everything every voter wants Governmental functions – how parties organize the government (to be responsible for the people) after winning the election 7.4 Basic Characteristics of the American Party System Plurality election – candidate wins if it gets the most votes Majority election – candidate wins if it gets more than half the votes cast (majority) Runoff election – leading candidates face off when the previous election did not produce a winner Proportional representation – a party gets seats in a legislative body based on the number of votes they received in an election (more common in other countries, encourages third parties because they can gain seats as long as they gain votes). Third party – a minor party that attracts only a small share of votes (Exp. Populist Party, Progressive Party, Socialist Party, etc.) Importance of third parties Forces the major parties to address certain issues Sometimes takes votes away from a party, causing the other party to win Party Structure Parties are divided into national, state, and local organizations and groupings Formal party organization: people belong to a party because they hold an office National convention: meeting that occurs every 4 years, focuses on the upcoming presidential election. During which, a platform is written, a president and vice president candidate is chosen, and the national committee is designated o Platform: a statement of the party’s proposed program o National committee: the body that oversees the party’s affairs and elects the party chairperson (Democrat chairperson: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Republican chairperson: Reince Priebus) Political machine: organization that controls its membership by giving benefits (exp. Government jobs) to its supporters State committees: the body that oversees the state political party’s affairs and elects state chairperson Party in the electorate: individual citizens who identify with a political party o Coalition: subgroup of a party based on common social, economic, and religious characteristics. (Democrat coalition = working class, rural/southern, Catholic. Republican coalition = upper class, big businesses, Protestant) Party in the government: elected officials (president, governors, mayors, senators, city council members, etc.) and the organizations they establish 7.5 American Political Parties: Past, Present, and Future Party systems – period where there’s a pattern of support for political parties First party system (17891824): Federalists (procentralized government, elite rule) vs. Antifederalists (prodecentralized government, democratic rule). Antifederalists turned into Democratic Republicans and governed during the Era of Good Feelings Second party system (18241860): Democratic Republicans fell apart. Andrew Jackson (proworking class, machine politics) formed the Democrat party vs. the Whigs (probusinesses, political reform). Slavery split the US: North vs. South Third party system (18601896): Former Whigs and Abraham Lincoln formed the Republican party (opposed slavery, promoted governmentcontrolled commerce) vs. Democrats (made up the Confederacy) Fourth party system (18961932): Republican dominated, pro capitalist system Fifth party system (19321968): Great Depression, FD Roosevelt supported government intervention = Democrat dominated Realignment – a major change in the pattern of support for a party due to dealignment Dealignment – a short period of turmoil causes the current party system to break down and a new one to be established (occurs around every 36 years) Decline – the idea that US political parties are collapsing and may eventually disappear. Parties are possibly in decline because: The modern welfare system by the government means parties no longer have to directly serve communities in order to gain support Technology (social media, TVs) mean parties don’t have to rely on party workers to knock on doors to gain support The public funds campaigns so candidates don’t have to rely on the party for money Candidates are picked in open conventions (primary elections) now, not caucuses o Caucus – a meeting of members of a party to pick the party’s candidates The amount of youth who share their parents’ political views has declined Resurgence – the idea that US parties are making a comeback, not a decline Sixth party system (1968present) – the government is divided by parties Democrat president, republican congress (or vice versa) Congress that is evenly split between both parties Chapter 8 – Campaigns and Elections 8.1 The Voter’s Perspective: To Vote or Not to Vote 15 Amendment, 1870 – gave African Americans the right to vote Jim Crow Laws: Laws in the South that stopped African Americans from voting o Poll tax – no payment of the tax = no right to vote Ended by the 24 Amendment, 1964 o Literacy test – no ability to read = no right to vote Ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Female Suffrage – the right of women to vote. Gained with the 19 Amendment, 1920 26 Amendment, 1971 – Voting age lowered from twentyone to eighteen Voting Rights Act of 1970 – weakened residence requirements. A person only has to live in an area for 30 days before being able to vote Register – to enter your name on the local government’s list of those eligible to vote in the area. Limits the amount of voters because some people don’t want to take the time to register > electionday registration is now available in some places. People who are older, more educated, and wealthy are more likely to vote Highstimulus elections – elections that the public finds interesting/important > high voter turnout Lowstimulus elections – elections that the public finds less interesting > low turnout Presidential general elections = 5060% voter turnout Presidential primary elections = 30% or less voter turnout Congressional elections = 3540% voter turnout Some voters stay home, confident that their choice will win even if they don’t vote 8.2 The Voter’s Perspective: How to Vote Parties Some people vote for candidates as long as they belong to their party Some people have opinions about certain issues based on how their party views them Candidates Experience: as a former president, vice, senator, or governor of a large state o Exceptions: Eisenhower didn’t have political experience, but had military experience. Carter was the former governor of a small state Leadership qualities: decisive, can take effective action, can be trusted in emergencies Personal qualities: o Example: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan o Example: Clinton had to spend a lot of time repairing his reputation Issues Social issues (exp. Crime control) Foreign policy issues (exp. Military intervention in the Middle East) Economic issues (exp. Taxes) 8.3 The Candidate’s Perspective: Running for President Qualifications: (1) Naturalborn citizen (2) Resident of the U.S. for 14 years (3) 35(+) years old 22 Amendment, 1951 – limited the presidency to two terms 70% of presidents who ran for reelection won Media campaign Political ads Speeches, rallies, news conferences Regular news and interview broadcasts Media consultant – expert who advises on TV and direct mail campaigning Exit polls – interviews with voters as they leave from voting Enables people to predict who will win or see who is in the lead o May decrease voter turnout because people believe their votes won’t matter o May gain “bandwagon” votes for the one in the lead o May gain sympathy votes for the one trailing Campaign finance Federal Election Campaign Act, 1971: Candidates must disclose where their money comes from and how they spend it so the money is not abused o A person cannot give more than $5,000 to a PAC (Political Action Committee) per election, per year o A PAC cannot give more than $5000 to one candidate o A PAC can give to as many candidates as it wants to o A candidate can receive money from as many PACs as he or she wants to Presidential Election Campaign Fund – money that comes from the federal income tax. People can give $3 to a candidate. Candidates that receive federal funding can only spend $50,000 of their own money on their campaign Soft money – national parties can raise and spend money for state and local parties as long as it is not related to a campaign Getting nominated Primary elections: the political party/the people select(s) the candidates it will run for office during the general election. General election: election held in November to determine who will become the president and vice president of the US Open primary: When you can vote regardless of party affiliation Closed primary: When you can vote only if you are registered as a party member Caucuses: Where members of a political party meet to discuss nominating their candidates Regional primaries: primary election held across regions (exp. The South or Mid West) instead of in one state Party conventions: held in August and September of the presidential election year. Party nominees are finally selected. Presidential candidate chooses running mate Balance the ticket: to pick a running mate who differs enough to reach more voters o 14/45 vice presidents have become president Electoral college – voters choose electors to elect the president and vice president Each states’ electors = the number of senators and representatives that state has o Maryland has 10 electors (all 10 voted for President Obama in 2012) o DC has 3 electors due to the 23 Amendment, 1961 There are a total of 538 electors. 270 votes are needed to win the presidency o President Obama won in 2012 with 332 electoral votes. Electors must meet in their state capitals to vote around December 15 The votes are counted in the Senate where the president of the senate (the current vice president) oversees o The candidate with the majority of electoral votes wins o No majority > the House votes among the top 3 candidates o Still no majority > current vice president becomes the president and a new vice president is voted on and wins by majority o If there is no majority for electing a vice president, the Senate chooses Faithless elector – an elector who votes for a candidate other than the one they were chosen to vote for Some candidates become president due to electoral votes even though they did not win the majority of popular votes (JQ Adams, Harrison, Hayes, and Bush). Their competitors won the majority of popular votes (Jackson, Cleveland, Tilden, and Gore, respectively). o Direct popular election – the proposal to get rid of the electoral college and depend only on popular votes. The US does not do this because the president could then be elected with less than 50% of the people’s support Campaign strategies Image (look busy governing the country or attack the opponent) Narrow vs. broad vision for the future Take advantage of debates and the media attention/opportunity to showcase 8.4 The Candidate’s Perspective: Running for Congress Smaller stage (Senate = states, House = congressional districts, not the entire nation) Campaign finance The more money a challenger spends, the better chances of the winning (opposite for presidential candidates) Less public funding is available than for presidential candidates Incumbents (candidates who are running to keep their office) 95% of the House who runs for reelection wins o Because of safe seats – the almost guaranteed position due to the homogeneity of the congressional district. Senates run in front of heterogeneous stndes, so their positions are harder to regain During a president’s 2 term, congressional majority is often the opposing party Media coverage of midterm elections focus on potential presidential candidates 80% of all PAC money tends to go to incumbents Incumbents use their staff and can send free direct mail to gain supporters Term limits: proposal to limit congressional terms to 12 years Parties If voters don’t recognize a congressional candidate’s name on the ballot, they’ll know even less about what that person stands for and will vote based on that candidate’s party affiliation instead Presidential candidates running for office during a midterm election can either hurt or benefit congressional candidates of the same party based on their progress Thursday 9.1.16 The Political System 1. The Political Culture What do people think of the system? What do people demand from the system? How/ how much do people support the system? Types of Political Culture: a. Homogeneous – Majority of society shares the same values (ex. U.S.) b. Fragmented – Different opinions on different policies (ex. France) i. Society agrees on government’s goals, but not on how to achieve them c. Multiple – Significantly different political views (ex. Canada) i. Decision making is very difficult 2. Political Linkages How does the Government respond to the people? How does the Government gain support? Examples in the U.S.: elections, media, public opinion polls, parties, interest groups 3. Decision Making Bodies 4. Outputs (Policies) The decision the government makes Examples in the U.S.: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental Protection Act, embargos The decision made influences the political culture, which influences who is voted into office, which influences what future decisions are made. It’s a cycle. Tuesday 9.6.16 The Political Culture Goals/ Policies Decision Makers Linkages Political Culture History, Culture, Economic System, RGeography History: exp. Conquering the frontier (positive history), slavery (negative history) Culture: language, religion, etc. Economic system: social class mobility Resources: lumber, coal, fertile land, etc. Geography: exp. Distance between us and Soviet Union during the Cold War provided security Example of using the above pyramid: The history of our individualism (we, not the government, conquered the frontier) led to 70% of Americans not supporting Obama’s health care plan (belief that it is up to the individual to take care of themselves, not the government’s responsibility). Core Values from our Fore Fathers: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness Government is created by the people, to serve the people. The government can’t deny it’s citizen’s rights and the people have a right to petition the government to change Summary: Individualism, limited government, equality Tuesday 9.13.16 Road to the Presidential Election A year before the election, candidates selfnominate themselves To be a serious contender, the candidates must: Have a “marketable” personality, have a likeable image Raise money through fundraisers and have one or two major sponsors Gain media coverage Build an organization – those who campaign for you and reach out to the public In the primaries, political parties nominate a candidate to run for them. They take place at conventions where candidates showcase their ideas. After the convention, the general campaign begins until the election in November. In the election, each state’s population votes to decide who that state will vote for. Maryland has 10 votes in the electoral college, based on the number of representatives Maryland has in Congress (8 in the House of Representatives, 2 in the Senate). The candidate who wins the most votes in the electoral college wins the election. If there is no majority, the vote goes to the House of Representatives. Third parties are useful because they point out issues that the major parties aren’t addressing. The U.S. as a NationState Ethnic groups – a community that is identifiable by a series of customs, history, language, etc. by the outside public. Nation – is selfdefined by the people who live there (a sociological concept) State – made up of people, territory, and a government (a political concept) Multinational states – states that contain two or more national groups Nation state – people who identify with each other and the government Political socialization – the goal is to develop a common sense of political and social agreement despite differences amongst the people. The gov’t doesn’t always have to intervene to accomplish this. The educational system has a large influence on it. The U.S. is a multiethnic nation state. Thursday 9.15.16 Our Identification with Government Americans are generally disinterested in politics People prefer to turn to the sports section of newspapers, or to see the TV Guide and lottery outcomes We watch entertaining news, not objective, factual news Most Americans cannot identify Afghanistan and Iraq on a map even after our troops have fought there for years Why are other countries more interested? They are within closer physical proximity to their government They don’t get to vote or participate that often so they look forward to the opportunity What is America’s opinion of our government? Even though we are generally not interested in our political system, we are the most proud of our government Our Identification with Each Other What causes divisions: Race (current black vs. white sentiments, history of racism towards Italians and Germans) Religion (current AntiMuslim sentiments, history of antiSemitism and anti Catholicism) Wealth Gender (women’s equality – salary, should we have a female president, etc.) Tuesday 9.20.16 Public Opinion and Government: The Theory and Practice of Public Opinion as a Linkage Public Opinion <> Government 1. Public opinion encompasses all of society’s opinions 2. Interest groups split the public opinion into specific demands 3. Political parties filter the needs of interest groups and decide which issues to focus on 4. Elections decide which political parties will get to implement their ideas All play linking roles between the public and the political system A con of the fourterm cycle of the presidency is that the voice of interest groups is heard every four years, not every year The Evolution of U.S. Democracy (Three Revolutions) Concept of government for the people, but not by the people o The elites wrote the constitution o The first six presidents were from Virginia and Massachusetts o The House and the Senate represent the people 1. Jacksonian Revolution (1820s) Majority of votes (electoral college) came from east of the Appalachian Mountains because of the state populations Majority of voters (male, property owners) lived west of the Appalachian Mountains 1824 election: Neither Jackson or JQ Adams had the majority of votes > the House of Representatives had to vote. Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, voted for Adams and became Secretary of State when Adams won Jackson was convinced that this was a bribe and spent the next four years gaining votes promising to listen to the voters > he won the election of 1828 Impact: First modern day campaign of gaining the public’s interest and inviting them into domestic policy making 2. Wilsonian Revolution (19141918) Election of 1912: At the time of Wilson’s presidency, the US was heavily isolationist and not at all interested in the current European conflicts 1913, Wilson created propaganda to get the Americans angry at the Germans (governmentengineered public opinion) knowing there was about to be a war and the US would have to fight In the eyes of the US (thanks to the propaganda) WWI became the war to make the world safe for democracy 1916, Congress voted to join the war and the US population was prepared to produce steel, weapons, and soldiers Immediately after the war, the US reverted back to isolationism, evidenced by the US’ refusal to sign the peace treaty or join the League of Nations Wilson’s goal was to be able to pursue foreign policy. His actions were out of necessity, not out of a desire to see more public interest and involvement The US is conservative towards foreign policy (majority votes for noninvolvement) because of our history of being separated physically from the rest of the world WWII public opinion poll: 3% voted to help Great Britain, 1%voted to help Germany, 96% voted to do nothing The active public (those who want to get involved) tend to be the ones who are well informed about foreign affairs 1921, President Truman created the Council on Foreign Relations in NY so politicians and community leaders can work together on foreign affairs Impact: President Wilson evoked an American desire to participate in foreign affairs, but after WW1 ended, their general involvement did too 3. Media Revolution (1950spresent) With TVs making an appearance in American households, individuals no longer had to be interested to receive information, it came to them automatically Americans also don’t have to analyze the information they hear as most shows provide content as well as their own opinions, ready for Americans to adopt and believe Media creates a visual world that can instantly turn the passive public into an active, opinionated public (examples: released videos of police shootings rouse whoever sees them on Facebook) Media helped get civil rights laws passed and send troops home from the Vietnam war Impact: Even those who do not follow objective news reports are exposed to a variety of news coverage, even if it’s biased. Because media has broadened, those who are not interested in politics may want to become involved simply because of what they see on a daily basis Thursday 9.22.16 Interest Groups as Linkages in the United States Criticisms of the government relying heavily on public opinion: The public is not always well informed o We select what we want to read/listen to o We listen to those who share our opinions instead of hearing objective reports Public opinion usually forms after the government has made a policy (due to American disinterest) o If public opinion is against a policy after it has been made, it’s hard to change that policy It’s hard to measure how intensely one group feels about an issue in public opinion polls Techniques that interest groups use to get their ideas across: Lobbying: (costs $) presenting your argument before a decisionmaking body o One can lobby legislature, the executive branch (exp. Booking meetings with the state department), the courts, and the public (commercials, ads) Electioneering: (costs $) helping candidates get elected o Other countries participate in getting a US candidate elected so their country’s interests will be protected Litigation: (costs $) disputing a legal action in court Public protest: (free) media attention is required so the government will feel pressured to address the issue and the public with feel sympathetic to your cause o It’s difficult to control protestors from overreacting (exp. damaging buildings). Examples of successful protests include Dr. King’s marches where despite police brutality, protestors didn’t fight back > America saw through media and joined the protestors’ side, and the Vietnam war where college students’ protests played a part in the government’s decision to remove troops from the war Relationship between Interest Groups and the Government: 1. Access (lobbyists sell access; the interest group pays a lobbyist to gain access) 2. Penetration 3. Capture The goal is to get inside of the political process Example: The American Dairy Industry has been able to influence US dairy policy for years in Congressional subcommittees (successful policy example: including milk in public school lunches) Tuesday 9.27.16 Parties as Linkages in Contemporary America What parties are expected to do (LARDE): Linkage Party membership is a state of mind In other countries, parties play a tangible role in the lives of citizens Aggregation Put together a platform (the party’s proposed program) Recruitment In the past, political machines won voters and party workers would come to houses to make sure everyone was registered to vote (100% registration rate vs. 60% today) In the past, parties would choose from a pool of candidates the most qualified person to represent them. Today, candidates “force” themselves on the parties In the past, the president would choose from a pool of qualified politicians that the party provided. Today, the president picks people they know to fill appointed positions (2000 positions, only 500 need Congressional approval) Decision making A party majority in Congress, doesn’t mean they will all vote on an issue raised by a member in their party > falsely blaming the president when policies aren’t passed Electioneering Definition: to take part in a campaign Tuesday 10.4.16 Primary and General Elections as Linkages in the US Foreign policy works against domestic policy Citizens may reject war or call for troops to come home when that is not the best strategy for the government to choose > the government and the people disagree Informing the public about military plans also informs the enemy about what the government knows and what it is planning to do > sometimes there is secrecy Disinterested voters will vote for the presidential candidate they want, but then vote for everyone else on the ballot based on political party without considering, or being aware of, their views. Primaries allow the public’s voice to be heard before the actual election The US vs. other countries The US is the only country who uses primaries for all elections Voting is a right in the US, not an obligation o 40% of democratic countries require citizens to vote, the majority of democratic countries do not o If voting was mandatory in the US, those who are disinterested and uninformed would have to vote, which would influence the results Elections are calendar events in the US o This causes political parties to “go into hibernation” for three years o In parliamentary systems, elections can occur at any time What shapes elections? 1. The institutional setting/rules (independent variable) – exp. What offices are being run for 2. Voters (independent variable) – who votes, what issues are they focused on 3. Campaign (dependent variable) – the least important of the three variables o Those who spend the most money tend to lose the election because other factors (the independent variables) control the results o There are 20 “magic” states in the electoral college that presidents aim to campaign in Thursday 10.6.16 Voluntary Voting, U.S. Voting Behavior and Campaigns American Style The primaries were created to give the people more power and lessen the power of the parties. It worked because the people now decided who runs for president, not the parties. Who votes and why? Demographic factors 1. Age o The more you vote, the more likely you are to continue to vote because you have already registered and voting becomes habitual 2. Socioeconomic class o People vote so certain policies are made to benefit them, not harm them. The more a person has, the more that is at stake. 3. Education o Leads to efficacy, the sense of selfimportance or the belief that your vote matters 4. Closeness of elections/ Level of elections o If the polls show that an election’s results are close, more people vote to ensure that their choice wins. If the election is a runaway, people are less likely to vote believing that their vote will not change the outcome o More people vote for presidential elections and less for city council and other elections. 5. Party identity o Classified as “weak”, “moderate”, or “strong”. Those with strong party identity will vote even if they do not like the particular candidate running for office. They just want to see their party succeed. Campaigns focus on those with weak or moderate partisanship to motivate them to vote. o Party affiliation also impacts who else is voted for. On the ballot are presidential candidates as well as senators, representatives, state senators, state assemblymen, sheriffs, city councilmen, etc. People tend to vote consciously for the presidential candidate, but will vote for the others based on the political party they represent, not the ideas they stand for. Short term factors o Economic issues of the time. If they are good, the incumbent (the one who is currently in office) is likely to get reelected. If they are bad, the opposition is likely to get voted in. Random factors o The outbreak of war can result in the incumbent not getting reelected o The conclusion of war can result in the incumbent getting reelected o The personality of the candidate is considered a random factor because different voters look for different traits
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