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pos1041 week 4-18 notes

by: Jessica Ralph

pos1041 week 4-18 notes POS 1041

Marketplace > Florida State University > POS 1041 > pos1041 week 4 18 notes
Jessica Ralph
GPA 3.4

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notes from lecture
American Government: national
Bob Jackson
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jessica Ralph on Friday April 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POS 1041 at Florida State University taught by Bob Jackson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views.

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Date Created: 04/22/16
4/18/16 voter turnout continued changes over recent decades  “puzzle of participation” (1960-1996) o more and more people were achieving higher levels of education o voter registration was becoming easier  shouldn’t voter turnout increase as well?  Think of the time o Vietnam war, Watergate scandal etc  mistrust in government  decreased voter turnout  Social capital deteriorating during this time  Declines in political connectedness  Declines in social connectedness (Putnam)  Declines in political mobilization o More voting ineligibles as % of voting age population] Average voter turnout in elections to the lower house 1945-2005 AUSTRALIA (23 ELECTIONS) 95% VOTER TURNOUT ITALY (15) 90% GERMANY (15) 85% ISREAL (16) 80% BRAZIL (14) 78% GREAT BRITAIN (16) 75% FRANCE (16) 75% CANADA (18) 74% SPAIN (8) 74% JAPAN (22) 69% UNITED STATES (14- presidential 55% election years only)  Proportional representation o Winner-take-all plurality in the US o If you win second place in the presidential election, nothing happens o In other countries, these people may receive parliamentary positions or some other form of recognition  Why are we relatively lower to other nations? o Legal environment  US is the only nation in the world that forces individuals to self-register o Differences in political [arty environment  Most other nations have up to 8 active parties that can elect members to the legislature. The US has only 2, has only had 2 ever at one time, and will likely only ever have 2  When you have more parties, you have a lot of parties that are tied to lower class and working class and that makes them more likely to vote  In other countries there is little-no relation between likelihood to vote and level of income or education o More elections  On weekdays—prevents working class  Most other nations, elections are “holiday” or they give a 3 day span over the weekend  Voter fatigue What can (should?) we do to increase turnout?  Civic education?  Easier registration?  Election day as holiday or weekend?  Vote by mail? E-mail?  Fewer elections?  PR system  more parties?  Compulaosy voting?  IS IT IMPORTANT TO INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT? 4/20/16 Political Parties  Why parties?  Are parties in decline?  Why 2-party system? Why  No one wanted to party  Those who founded the country advised AGAINST parties yet created them  2 arguments for what parties are in our government o 1. Democratic theory-based  individual citizens are “deficient” but perhaps intermediary insitutions (parties and interest groups) can bridge the gap between citizens and the government  pluralist theory of democracy  o 2. Functional  parties fulfill numerous functions in a representative democracy  recruit leaders  helo conduct campaigns  nominate candidates for office  list of general election candidates  voting cues  channels for participation  propose policy programs  overcome fragmentation and organize government  watchdog functions  aggregate interests to win elections how to define a party  are parties in decline?  3 part conceptualization o 1. Party in electorate  those who go out and vote o 2. Party as organization  those who serve o 3. Party in government  those in office as committees  parties have been resurgent across the past couple of decades (not in decline)  role of party ID in structuring vote choice is stronger than ever o most people identify with a party o even independents lean to 1 side  as organizations, parties are extremely strong right now o national party committees raise hige amounts of money, have large staffs, nice offices, constantly working etc.  intra-party unity in congress quite high o disappearance of conservative coalition why a 2 party system  Historically major US parties are the federalists, wigs, republicans and democrats  only ever 2 at a time  Duvergers law: winner-take-all plurality elections o The way we conduct elections  2 parties o Proportional allocation  more parties o Third parties have basically no chance of electing anyone to office due to our plurality method  1992 election Clinton and Bush AND Ross Perot. Perot got 20% of populous vote but did not win enough delegates o Spatial proximity theory of voting: voters vote for the candidate “closest” to them ideologically  2 major parties may be centrist/moderate —“converge on the median voter”  Median voter: half electorate is to the right ideologically and half is the left  Does the US have moderate, centrist parties? Not really, why? o Primaries o Directional voting and not spatial proximity  Madison hopes resurfaced in academic political science of 1950s and 1960s in optimistic form: o Pluralist model/theory of democracy (pluralism): public policy is product of many competing interests  Interest groups are pressuring government and providing support for government  government making public policy  Government as referee in group struggle  Pluralists think this system works best and represents interests across society  good public polity o Assumptions of model  1. All relevant interests are represented  2. Everyone joins and is active in groups  3. Political power and resources are widely distributed  ARE THESE MET? o Schnokschnedier disagrees that this is a good method  Thinks they are making assumptions for this to be true  “Flaw in pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper class accent” 


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