Political Science Chapter 11 Notes
Political Science Chapter 11 Notes POLI 201 001
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POLI 201 001
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sierra Crumbaugh on Thursday April 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 201 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Darmofal in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 04/07/16
Chapter 11 Tuesday, April 5, 2010:05 AM Elections and Democracy Tuesday, April 5, 2016 10:05 AM • Frequent elections are key to democracy and, in elections, principals (citizens) choose agents to act on their behalf • But there are 2 problems for principals: ○ Adverse selection: the problem of incomplete information, of choosing alternatives without fully knowing the details of available options ○ Moral hazard: the problem of not knowing all aspects of the actions taken by an agent Institutions of Elections Tuesday, April 5, 2016 10:08 AM • Election rules consist of a mix of federal and state laws, court decisions, and local administrative practices • 4 basic questions of election law: ○ Electoral composition: who votes? ○ Ballot access and form: how do we vote? ○ Electoral districts: where do we vote? ○ Criteria for victory: what does it ○ Ballot access and form: how do we vote? ○ Electoral districts: where do we vote? ○ Criteria for victory: what does it take to win? Who Votes? Electoral Composition Tuesday, April 5, 2016 10:20 AM • The electorate has expanded throughout American history ○ The 15th Amendment allowed blacks to vote, but local laws restricted voting until the 1960s ○ In most states, women could not vote until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 ○ 18 year-‐olds could not vote until the 16th amendment was ratified in 1971 • Voting is a right; it is not compulsory • In June 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring some jurisdictions to seek pre -‐clearance for new voting restrictions • The change effectively gives many jurisdictions the power to impose new voting restrictions • The change effectively gives many jurisdictions the power to impose new voting restrictions • Decline in voting from -‐1920 ○ Australian Ballot ○ Jim Crow laws • New deal saw an increase in voter turn out starting in 1920 new voting restrictions • Decline in voting from -‐1920 ○ Australian Ballot ○ Jim Crow laws • New deal saw an increase in voter turn out starting in 1920 Voter Registration is a Key Obstacle to Voting Tuesday, April 5, 2016 10:23 AM • Some voters do not vote on Election Day because they are not registered to vote • There are many reasons voters may not be registered to vote, but one common reason is that they have recently moved • One reason voter registration rates are lower among young people is because they move more often and are less likely to be registered where they currently live How Americans Vote: Ballot Access and Form Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • The rise of the secret ballot and the Australian ballot came about in the late 19th century • Australian ballot: an electoral format that presents the names of all the candidates for any given office on the same ballot all the candidates for any given office on the same ballot Where Americans Vote: Electoral Districts Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • Elected officials represent people in specific places • For the most part, the United States employs single-‐member districts; the electorate is allowed to elect only one representative from each district • Presidential elections are a special case in which the electoral college is employed Exceptions to One Person, One Vote Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • Members of the U.S. Senate represent states, with each state given the same number of senators • This violation of the-‐person, one-‐vote standard is authorized by Article V of the Constitution • The electoral college is also an exception The Effects of Single-‐ Member Districts Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • Single member districts tend to exaggerate the victory of the majority ○ In 2010, Republicans won Member Districts Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • Single member districts tend to exaggerate the victory of the majority ○ In 2010, Republicans won 53.5% of the national 2 -‐ party vote but 55.6% of the seats ○ In 2012, Barack Obama won 51% of the national vote but 62% of the electoral college • Single-‐member districts also weaken 3rd parties Redistricting Tuesday, April 5, 2016 • Because of the one-‐person, one-‐vote standard, legislative districts are not static • They are redrawn every 10 years and, in most states, the power to do this resides with the state legislature • District boundaries may be manipulated to give one party or another an advantage • This is called gerrymandering Gerrymandering Thursday, April 7, 2016 10:05 AM • Gerrymandering is the apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to a political party • Gerrymandering is creating less of a bias than in previous decades • The only reason for this is that give unfair advantage to a political party • Gerrymandering is creating less of a bias than in previous decades • The only reason for this is that voters are already largely segregated into communities of like-‐minded voters Racial Gerrymandering Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Redistricting can also be done to the advantage or disadvantage of groups as well as parties • By breaking up communities of racial minorities, those drawing the maps can dilute their power and make it more difficult to elect minority legislators • This kind of gerrymandering is unconstitutional Criteria for Victory: What it Takes to Win Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Most American elections require a plurality of votes to win • Plurality Rule: a type of electoral system in which victory goes to the individual who gets the most votes in an election but not necessarily a majority of the • Plurality Rule: a type of electoral system in which victory goes to the individual who gets the most votes in an election but not necessarily a majority of the votes cast • The main alternative to plurality rule is proportional representation, but this is not consistent with single-‐ member districts Duverger's Law Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Duverger's Law of politics, formalized by Maurice Duverger, states that plurality-‐rule electoral systems will tend to have two political parties • Voters do not want to waste their votes, so if they understand that the more extreme candidate cannot win, they will vote for the more moderate alternative Direct Democracy: the Referendum and the Recall Thursday, April 7, 2016 • 24 states allow for the referendum, a measure proposed or passed by a legislature that is referred to the electorate for approval • 24 states also allow for the initiative, a process by which referendum, a measure proposed or passed by a legislature that is referred to the electorate for approval • 24 states also allow for the initiative, a process by which citizens may petition to put a proposal on the ballot for public vote • 18 states allow for the recall, the removal of a public official by popular vote How Voters Decide: Voters and Nonvoters Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Voting is strongly correlated with demographics, electoral choices, and context ○ Older people vote ○ Highly educated people vote ○ People who have not moved recently vote ○ People vote when they are interested in the issues • Weakening registration requirements would increase voting How Voters Decide: How to Vote Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Partisan loyalty is the single strongest predictor of a person's vote ○ There is a psychological attachment Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Partisan loyalty is the single strongest predictor of a person's vote ○ There is a psychological attachment ○ There is an ideological attachment ○ There is an attachment to past experience with a party • The vast majority of voters consistently vote for one party or the other How Voters Decide: Issues Thursday, April 7, 2016 10:29 AM • Voters also consider specific issues • Looking forward and back ○ Prospective: based on future performance ○ Retrospective: based on past performance • Means and ends ○ Spatial issues: Voters care about how something is done ○ Valence issues: Voters want a particular outcome Median-‐Voter Theorem Thursday, April 7, 2016 • A proposition predicting that when policy options can be arrayed along a single dimension, majority rule will pick the policy most preferred by the voter whose ideal policy is Thursday, April 7, 2016 • A proposition predicting that when policy options can be arrayed along a single dimension, majority rule will pick the policy most preferred by the voter whose ideal policy is to the left of half of the voters and to the right of half of the voters • The candidate whose position is closest to the median voter's position is likely to win How Voters Decide: Candidates' Characteristics Thursday, April 7, 2016 10:43 AM • A candidate's personal attributes -‐ race, ethnicity, religion, gender, geography, and social background influence voters' decisions • Voters tend to prefer candidates more like themselves because they assume that such candidates are likely to have views close to their own • Voters also value particular characteristics like "honesty" and "vigor" • Incumbency can be thought of as another characteristic, and this is an advantage most of the time What it Takes to Win Thursday, April 7, 2016 • All campaigns face similar challenges: ○ How to bring people in What it Takes to Win Thursday, April 7, 2016 • All campaigns face similar challenges: ○ How to bring people in ○ How to raise money ○ How to coordinate activities ○ What message to run • There is no single best way to run for office • Campaigns are long and costly Campaign Organizations Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Most campaign organizations are temporary, created by a candidate to run for a particular office, and they disband shortly after election day • Parties have a number of permanent political organizations, and so do powerful interest groups Campaign Tactics Thursday, April 7, 2016 • Campaigns today are longer than ever before and they employ: ○ Television, radio, direct mail, and internet ads ○ Get-‐out-‐the-‐vote activities ○ Campaign events such as rallies and debates • All of this is very expensive, so there is a complex web of laws surrounding campaign finance Congressional Campaigns Thursday, April 7, 2016 • The incumbent advantage is significant in congressional campaigns Congressional Campaigns Thursday, April 7, 2016 • The incumbent advantage is significant in congressional campaigns • This is because of: ○ Greater name recognition ○ Fundraising advantages ○ Casework and voting record The 2012 Election Thursday, April 7, 2016 • More than 128 Million Americans voted for president, members of Congress, governors, and numerous other officials • President Obama was reelected and Democrats retained majority control of the Senate but Republicans also held the majority control of the House Political Parties in 2012: Unity and Division Thursday, April 7, 2016 • There is a growing ideological split between the parties, but the parties are not ideologically uniform in themselves • The split within the Democratic Party was largely masked by the fact that the Democratic nominee was a given • The split within the Republican Party was exposed during the presidential primaries The General Election for President The General Election for President Thursday, April 7, 2016 • The 2012 presidential election was largely wages in 8 to 10 swing states • The Obama campaign and allied groups spent about $400 million on advertisements, while the Romney campaign and allied groups spent about $500 million • The Obama campaign was widely views as better organized on the ground Elections and Accountability Thursday, April 7, 2016 • The last several elections demonstrate the link between elections and accountability ○ Voters angry with George W. Bush and concerned about a weak economy punished republicans in 2008 ○ Voters angry with Obama and congressional Democrats punished Democrats in 2010 ○ Voters rewarded Obama for progress in 2012 • It is clear that voters are using elections to hold elected officials accountable
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