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POLI 360, Week 4

by: runnergal

POLI 360, Week 4 POLI 360 001


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These notes cover what was discussed in class the week of 2/1/16.
American Political Parties
David C. Darmofal
Class Notes
political science, Government
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Sunday February 7, 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 17 views. For similar materials see American Political Parties in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
POLI 360 – Lecture 5  Historical Development of National Parties o In the 1800s, Federalists and Democratic­Republicans chose their national  nominees through congressional caucuses. National party organizations, however, were only slightly established at this time. o Nominating processes became more decentralized in the 1820s as fewer voter  restrictions led to increased voter turnout. o State and local parties established the strongest party organizations because:  They selected their delegates for national conventions.  They had control over patronage.  They contested the state and local elections. o Some national development, however, did occur:  The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was established in 1848.  The Republican National Committee (RNC) was established in 1856. o Hill Committees were also established. These committees recruit potential  candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate and helps those  candidates win their elections:  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) was  established after the Civil War.  The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) was established  after the Civil War.  The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) was established after the 17  Amendment was passed, which allowed the direct election of senators.  The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was established  th after the 17  Amendment was passed, which allowed the direct election of senators. o These committees initially had very few resources, responsibility, or structure. As  a result, they were not very powerful until the influx of staffing in the 1960s. o Essentially, all American party organizations were much decentralized with most  of the organizations’ structure and responsibility residing at state and local levels.     The Development of National Party Organizations o National Party Organizations have become more structured, professional, and  influential in recent decades. o Both party’s national organizations have become organizations in service to  candidates. Essentially, these organizations exists solely to get their respective  candidates elected to office.  Democratic Party Reforms o The Democratic Party began to nationalize in 1952. o The Democrats imposed a loyalty oath on Southern Democrats during the national convention that year in response to the Dixiecrat revolt of 1946. This revolt  occurred when Dixiecrats (conservative Democrats) did not agree with the  Democratic nomination for president. The Dixiecrats then broke off and  nominated Strom Thurmond for president and refused to support Harry Truman.  This oath was that a Democratic delegate could only be a delegate if he/she  promised to support the candidate that the Democratic Party chose. o Essentially, choosing state delegations was no longer a state­level party’s  responsibility. o Nationalization of the nominating process revived again in the early 1970s in  response to the Democratic presidential nomination process. Lyndon B. Johnson  was expected to be the Democratic candidate in 1968, but his Vietnam War split  the party. Eugene McCarthy ran against Johnson in the New Hampshire primary,  and McCarthy almost beat Johnson. As a result, Johnson dropped out of the race,  and McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy continued to duke it out during the rest of the  primaries. o That year, however, Herbert Humphrey was the Democratic candidate. He lost the presidency to Nixon. He received the nominated despite not winning any  primaries and only receiving 2% of the primary vote.  Primaries in 1968 were still non­binding, as opposed to today.  Additionally, primaries did not allocate states’ delegations; they were only meant to influence party elites in the primaries’ respective states. o Humphrey has the support of the party elites and won the Democratic nomination  as a result. o Eventually, Humphrey and other Democrats realized that the Democratic  nominating process had to become more accountable to all party members in  order to win their own party members’ support. They then formed the  Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, also known as the  McGovern­Frasier Commission. o That commission issued the report Mandate for Reform.  This report called for an open, timely, and representative nominating  process.  Open: open to all Democratic Party members.  Timely: must occur during the election year and no earlier.  Representative: the results must truly represent the members’  preferences.  Additionally, this report required all state parties to adopt nominating  procedures consistent with the values stated above.  If a state did not adopt those procedures, then that state’s delegates would  not be able to participate in the final nominating process. o One of the consequences of the McGovern­Frasier committee was a shift towards  primaries and away from open caucuses, since primaries met the values more  clearly. Additionally, this committee led to proportional delegate awarding based  on primary votes.  Republican Party Reform o Since the 1960s, Republican Party reforms have nationalized the Republican  Party as well. Their reforms, however, did not focus on nationalizing the  nomination procedure. Instead, they focused on increased service to state and  local Republican parties and to Republican Party candidates by the national  Republican Party. o These reforms were primarily led by RNC chairmen Ray Bliss (1965­1969) and  William Brock (1977­1981). o These party leaders sought national party reform to revitalize the Republican  Party’s electoral competitiveness. They focused on three changes:  Increased fundraising  Fundraising by the RNC and the Republican Hill Committees  increased drastically and eventually outpaced Democratic  fundraising.  Increased national organization structure  New national headquarters  Many new staff members  Political and fundraising directors that worked with state and local  parties  Increased campaign consulting capabilities for candidates  Direct mail operations and microtargeting were used, which  pioneered by Republicans.   Public opinion researchers, mainly through polling  Campaign finance and election law specialists  Opposition research  Democratic vs. Republican Reforms o Initial Democratic reforms were focused on nationalizing nomination processes to increase representativeness. o Initial Republican reforms were focused on nationalizing party capabilities to  increase electoral competitiveness. o The Republican Party had a virtual lock on the Electoral College during these  reforms, which may have helped them secure the presidency. o As the Democratic Party lost its electoral competitiveness, it began to copy  Republican reforms.  Democratic Party in Service to Candidates o The Democratic Party began focusing on professionalization and infrastructure in  the 1980s under Charles Mancitt. o They created new national headquarters, increased fundraising capabilities, and  increased consulting services to candidates, just like the Republican Party. POLI 360 – Lecture 6  What Activities Do Party Activists Perform o Party activists mobilize people through door­to­door canvassing, stuffing  envelopes, staffing phone banks, and coordinating get out the vote efforts. o Party activists complete campaign office activities, like clerical work and  handling the phones. o Party activists aid in fundraising by donating money, soliciting donations, and  holding fundraising events.  Professionals vs. Amateurs o The mix of professionals and amateurs varies across parties and time. For  example, political machines, like Tammany Hall, depended heavily on  professionals. Many parties today, however, rely upon amateurs. o Motives for participating in the political process vary between professionals and  amateurs. o Amateurs used to get patronage to work for party machines. When party machines were dissolved in the beginning of the 20  century, however, amateurs became  more ideologically motivated and primarily hoped to get certain policies enacted.  Why Do Citizens Become Party Activists 1. They want to; citizens receive participation benefits. 2. They can; citizens possess the resources necessary for participation. 3. They are asked to do so; citizens are asked by party leaders and other party  activists to participate in the political process.  Benefits of Party Activism o Clark and Wilson identified three main incentives to be active in party politics: 1. Material incentives: tangible rewards for party activity, such as elected  office (since party activism can result in resources that are essential for  future political careers), preferment (government contracts and services),  and patronage (appointment to a government position in exchange for  party work or support). 2. Solidary Incentives: the psychological, social satisfaction that a party  activist receives from being part of a group. 3. Purposive Incentives: issue­based rewards. Citizens choose to participate  in party activities because they want certain policies to be enacted by the  government. o These mixes of motivations vary between times and people. For example,  political machines offered mostly material incentives in the late 180s. Once the  party machines were dismantled at the beginning of the 20  century, however,  party activists become more motivated by purposive incentives, resulting in a rise  of amateurs.     Resources Promoting Party Activism o Party activists are not randomly chosen from the entire American population. o Party activists are excessively high in socioeconomic status (better education and  higher income) as compared to the average American. This occurs because  citizens with higher socioeconomic status have more resources, like time, money,  and skills, which allow for more participation in the political process than citizens with lower socioeconomic status.  Resources for Party Activism o Time: volunteering for a political party requires free time. Often, citizens with  lower socioeconomic status are already occupied with surviving, ex. maintaining  numerous jobs, taking care of children, etc. o Money: money is necessary for campaign donations; this is an obstacle for many  citizens with low socioeconomic status. o Skills: Party activists need skills, like abstract cognitive skills and bureaucratic  skills, which are gained through higher education. Many people with lower  socioeconomic status do not have those skills.  Mobilization for Party Activism o Citizens often choose to participate in party politics because they are personally  asked to participate. o Brady, Schlozman, and Verba found that the people that are asked to participate  in party politics are not randomly chosen from the entire population. o Party activists often have high socioeconomic status, as mentioned previously,  and they are the most likely people to ask their friends, family, and community  members to take part in the political process.  o Those people in the activists’ social networks often also have high socioeconomic status. Activists seek to mobilize people who have high education, have good  jobs, and are civilly active in their jobs, in religious institutions, and in other  organizations. o These new activists often participate by writing letters, going to meetings,  planning and/or chairing meetings, and giving presentation and/or speeches. o These researchers also proposed that activists rationally, not randomly, recruit  new activists that have the same qualifications.  Rise of Amateurs o Material incentives have deteriorated in prominence, but purposive incentives  have improved. o More ideologically motivated, high socioeconomic activists, have replaced  activists that were solely motivated by material incentives. o Some research suggests that party activists are more ideological than the average  American citizen, since activists must be sufficiently motivated in order to  volunteer their time for such a cause.


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