POLI 360, Week 3
POLI 360, Week 3 POLI 360 001
Popular in American Political Parties
POLI 360 001
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 360 001 at University of South Carolina taught by David C. Darmofal in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see American Political Parties in Political Science at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 01/31/16
POLI 360: Lecture 3 TwoParty Competition across the United States th o There was lots of twoparty competition in the United States during the 19 century. This changed, however, after the 1896 election between William McKinley (Republican) and William Jennings Bryan (Democrat). o McKinley had traditional, moderate Republican policies that were antagonistic to immigrants while still representing northern corporate interests. o Bryan ran a populist campaign, focusing on rural issues against corporate interests. He promoted the idea that cities were corrupt, and so were the Catholics that lived in those cities. McKinley Won the Election of 1896 o That election ushered in a large Republican majority in the North. Republicans no longer needed to compete in the South to win the presidency. o In return, the South became just as completely Democratic, though it was still controlled by southern conservatives. o System of 1896: a competitive twoparty system is replaced by a sectional system, with oneparty Republican dominance in the North and oneparty Democratic dominance in the South. o The result was a declining voter turnout and lack of issue competition in national elections. 50 State Party Systems o Twoparty competition at the state and local levels increased with the New Deal readjustment in the 1930s, and Democrats became much more competitive in the North than they had been in the System of 1896. o Since then, local and state party competition has continued to change over time. Ranney Index of State Party Competition o This index examines competitiveness between parties. o Three indicators of party strength: Percentage of popular vote for parties’ gubernational (governor) candidates. Percentage of seats held by parties in each house of the state legislature. Length of time and percentage of time that parties held both the governorship and majority in state legislature. o Five categories of states: OneParty Democratic State and OneParty Republican State: the dominant party has complete control over the respective states. Modified OneParty Democratic State and Modified OneParty Republican State: the dominant party has control over the respective state although the minority party does win some elections. TwoParty States: both the Democratic and the Republican parties are competitive in elections. o Trends Over Time The OneParty Democratic State essentially no longer exists. The Ranney index investigates party competition at the state level. o Local Presidential Voting Competition Ranney Index analyzes party competition using voting for only the gubernational and state legislative races. The Ranney Index can also analyze how presidential election competition differs across the United States. Some people say that American are moving to counties consistent with their political preferences; many counties, however, are actually more competitive now than in the Election of 1920. Why Does the United States Have a TwoParty System? o Many democracies in other nations have multiparty systems. o Most political scientists argue that the main reason for the difference is institutional, since parties are ingrained into the American election and voting process. Duverger’s Law: singlemember (for example, the House of Representatives) election districts with plurality elections tend to produce twoparty systems. SingleMember Districts: only one person is elected to represent a district. This is the system we have the in the United States. MultiMember District: multiple individuals are elected to represent a district. Plurality Elections: the candidate with the most votes wins the election. Proportional Representation Elections: the seats in the district are apportioned to different parties, depending on each party’s share of the vote. This occurs only in multimember districts. Incentives for Minor Parties in These Systems: Singlemember plurality election systems are winnertakeall systems. Potential minor parties are incentivized to support a major party candidate, rather than risking the least preferred candidate winning the election. Proportional Representative Systems Are Not WinnerTakeAll Systems In this system, minority parties can still get elected, and proportional representation gives minority parties an incentive to truly compete in the election. This system also implies that minority parties do not have to fear throwing the election to the leastpreferred candidate. Alternative Theories of TwoParty Systems Dualist Theories Dualist theories argue that American political conflict is naturally divided into two choices, like eastern commercial interests vs. western frontiersman and agrarian interests; North vs. South; urban vs. rural; and upperincome vs. lowerincome. Another dualist argument is that all politics are inherently focused on binary choices, like incumbents vs. challengers; change vs. status quo; and conservatives vs. liberals. In the latter view, the multiparty system in other countries is a façade for a dualist system that eventually emerges once parties form coalitions to govern. Essentially, European parties only have trivial differences that vanish once coalitions are needed. Social Consensus Theories There is a broad consensus in American politics on the Constitution, government structure, and a regulated free enterprise system. This broad consensus allows America politics to come together in a twoparty system. This broad consensus may have been encouraged by the fact that political rights came early to the United States, in contrast to the rest of the world. All white males had the right to vote in the United States before the Industrial Revolution, regardless of property holdings or financial status. This allowed them to fight for economic rights as members of a twoparty system. White males could also bring women and minority votes into this twoparty system once their political rights were recognized. In other countries, voting rights did not come until after the Industrial Revolution. This meant that citizens were fighting for their political and economic rights at the same time. These people often fought for their rights through Socialist and Communist parties that challenged basic political and economic structures of society. The TwoParty System and Third Parties o Once the twoparty system was established, both major parties had compelling reasons to continue it by restricting minor party opportunities. It is easier to manage competition with only one other competitor, and so the twoparty system became selfperpetuating. Constraints on Minor Parties: Ballot Access Laws: Major parties usually get placed on the ballots automatically, while minor parties must petition to get on the ballot. Since election laws are states’ responsibility, this implies that there are 51 different ballot access laws (including the District of Columbia). There are different numbers of signatures and different filing deadlines in all states. Campaign Finance Laws: Major party candidates automatically get public funding for presidential elections once their conventions are held, whereas minor parties must get five percent of the national vote to get public funding for the next national election. For example, if the Green Party gets five percent or more of the national vote in 2016, then they will get public funding for the 2020 presidential election. Presidential Debates: Presidential debates after party conventions are sponsored by a bipartisan commission between Democrats and Republicans; they decide who is allowed to participate in the debates. For instance, in 2000, Ralph Nader of the green Party and Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party were not allowed to participate in the presidential debates, based on the relatively high threshold of potential votes. POLI 360 – Lecture 4 Other Minority Party Hurdles o Campaign Resources: Minor party candidates have little, if any, access to most partisan donors. Moreover, minor party candidates do not have access to the media support that majority party candidates have, such as advertising and media consultants and partisan media coaching. o Media Coverage: The media reports on candidates that they think have a chance of winning. Most minor parties do not get a great deal of media coverage since they are usually unsuccessful; that coverage, therefore, would not draw large audiences to media companies. Opportunities for Minority Party Candidates Financial Resources: Wealthy minority party candidates can buy some of the resources that minority party candidates already use. Existing Name Identification: It is easier to run a campaign when people already know who you are and what you stand for. Trump is an example of this phenomenon. Major Party Responses to Minor Parties o Major parties respond to minority challengers by absorbing the minor party’s issues; this gives the majority party an opportunity to convert the minority party’s supporters into their own supporters. State and Local Organizations o Cadre Parties vs. MassMembership Parties Cadre Parties: Cadre parties are run by leaders and activists with little participation by the public. These few leaders and activists choose party strategies and candidates. Their focus is on electing candidates, not promoting issues or ideology. Party actions ramp up mainly at election time. MassMembership Parties: Massmembership parties have large numbers of duespaying members. They are focused on ideology and issues, not just elections. Members choose both the party’s policies and its leaders. Therefore, members directly influence their party in government. o American political parties are modified cadre parties. American parties focus more on electionwinning than ideological purity. Additionally, American political parties do not have large, duespaying memberships that choose party policies and leaders. o American political parties do diverge from the cadre party model in some ways. For instance, there is some significant public participation, although not as much as in European ideological parties. o American political parties are increasingly yearround, professional organizations. Public Participation o Primary voting o Getoutthevote efforts: The Democratic Party coordinates with unions, and the Republican Party uses the 72hour plan, in which Republicans ask their families, friends, and communities to vote for their preferred candidate. This plan is effective because it has been proven that people are more likely to take a specific action when someone they know asks them to perform that specific action. Levels of Party Organization o Precinct, Ward, and Township Committees: Activity of local committeepeople is varied. These positions go vacant in many communities. In the late 19 century, however, these committees were the backbone of the party machines, such as Tammany Hall and the Daily Machine, which focused on winning elected offices. o City Committees o County Committees o District Committees o State Central Committees Party Machines o Hierarchically structured: Party bosses managed the ward leaders, who in turn managed the precinct leaders. o Operated through material incentives: Party organizations provided jobs and social services to immigrants in return for votes. In fact, some party machines, like Tammany Hall, would meet immigrants on the dock and shuttle them directly to voter registration. o Patronage positions: These are jobs granted for party loyalty, as opposed to merit. These positions were exempt from the civil service protection; essentially, this means that employees could be fired for not supporting the party that gave them their positions. o Party organizations provided business to local companies. Famous Machines o Chicago’s Daily Machine o New York’s Tammany Hall o Philadelphia’s Republican Machine o Many cities, like Phoenix, Milwaukee, and Seattle, have never had party machines. Despite elites’ incentives to form machines, they are not guaranteed to exist. The Decline of Party Machines o Opposition to corruption: Reform groups, and those created by Democratic professionals, opposed corruption. o Civil service protection: job security (can only be fired for meritorious reasons) and equal pay. o Changing ethnic makeup of cities: The flood of immigrants into the United States as well as the AfricanAmerican Great Migration from the South to the North resulted in diverse cities. o Replacement of parties’ social welfare functions with federal social programs: immigrants needed welfare from somewhere, as many of them came to the United States with very few possessions or connections, and the federal government began to provide that welfare. The New Deal, however, temporarily strengthened party machines as FDR funneled social welfare through them. Party machines were eventually rendered obsolete with President Johnson’s Great Society social programs. o A survey conducted in 19791980 and again in 1992 showed that parties have gotten stronger, regardless of the decline in party machines. Changes in Local Parties’ Organization Strength: local Republican and Democratic parties show noticeable increases in infrastructure between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. Local Republican and Democratic parties, however, shows less noticeable increases in professional staffing over the same period of time. State Committees: these committees have important powers, like… o Calling and shaping party conventions. o Choosing representatives for the national committee. o Selecting the party’s presidential electors. o Choosing some national convention delegates. o Diffusing campaign assets for state and local race.
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