POLI 1090, Week Five Notes
POLI 1090, Week Five Notes POLI 1090
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Liv Taylor on Wednesday September 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 1090 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Soren Jordan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see American Government in Multicultural World in Social Science at Auburn University.
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Date Created: 09/14/16
September 12-14, 2016 (Week 5) Dr. Soren Jordan POLI 1090-004 Parties as Institutions - Parties are much more than annoyingly opposite forces, they’re institutions (set rules, durable, authority must be assigned to the institution) Why parties? - The American people and politicians both get something completely different out of parties - Parties wrap a lot of information into 2 small ideas (conservative and liberal) - They solve the problem of laziness and self-interest - Most of all, parties help form a heuristic - A low information shortcut in a high information atmosphere (too many elections, offices and too much information - Parties help you get involved - Most people identify with a party but don’t like their candidates; this is because they’re free-riding their political platform - You don’t get to complain if you don’t participate - But politicians also take advantage of you and your free-riding and cooperation for their benefit - Primaries usually make it worse, only 15% of Americans vote in primaries and some are closed and some are open - Goals of parties for politicians primarily solve coordination problems (wanting the same thing but not putting in effort) - Parties also provide: a brand under which to run, party platforms, party unification and a starting point Why 2 parties? - First past the post: first person to get 50% (or majority) wins everything: winner-takes-all - Proportional representation: seats get assigned on the basis of percentages - Small parties very rarely vote sincerely because America has a FPTP system, so they might as well join the one of two parties that they most agree with - Voting for the next best thing, “stronger together” mindset 1 - Duverger’s Law explains why we only have two parties by the plurality rule More third party challenges - Parties control committee structure - Effective two-party control of state legislatures - Third parties very rarely win elections, but can still exert influence - They may not win, but they can at least demand attention Review - Parties make it easy for us to participate by a heuristic - The Constitution says nothing about parties - Parties have varied dramatically over the course of American history - Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists - Democrats vs. Republicans - Wedge issues that create new parties are very unusual (like slavery) - Patronage: political gifts = votes (Andrew Jackson) - Patronage was helped by party control of voting - The height of party control was machine politics (forceful politics) - Party control over jobs and elections have been eroded by: - Merit-based government employment - Direct primaries - Ballot reform (from party strip ballot) - Just because we don’t have machine politics anymore doesn’t mean that parties aren’t powerful - They still have control of state legislature, primaries and voting laws (etc.) - But this control is much more institutionalized 2
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