October 12 Lecture Notes
October 12 Lecture Notes 206
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Notetaker on Friday October 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 206 at Texas A&M University taught by John Bond in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Texas A&M University.
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Date Created: 10/14/16
October 12, 2016 Notes III. How Strong Are Political Parties in the U.S.? A. U.S. Parties are weak compared to those in parliamentary democracies 1. Responsible party government model (Great Britain) Highly disciplined parties present coherent platforms to the electorate High cohesion- all party candidates support their party platform Voters choose which party’s platform they prefer Winning party enacts proposed policies Voters decide whether they like what the government has done in the next election 2. U.S. parties DO NOT fit this model U.S. parties ideologically diverse- no consensus on party positions Relatively low party cohesion Party nominees chosen in direct primaries not by party leaders 1. Party nominees must satisfy voters not party leaders 2. Party leaders have little power to punish party members for opposing the party Government structure makes it difficult for majority party to enact programs 1. Separation of powers 2. Representatives chosen by different constituencies 3. Overlapping terms 4. Divided government B. Strength of Partisanship in U.S. Politics Varies Over Time 1. Party Decline Thesis Some argue that parties have been getting weaker since the 1950s Rests on several pieces of evidence: 1. Electorate’s attachment to political parties has weakened 2. Party organizations cannot determined who runs under the party’s label 3. Rise of candidate-centered campaigns 4. Party voting in congress occurs less frequency than it once did 2. Other scholars disagree Parties have weakened but still a pervasive influence in U.S. politics How strong parties are depends on: 1. Which element you look at 2. What point in time you look Present evidence that: October 12, 2016 Notes 1. Party decline trend reached a low point in the ‘70s but then reversed C. Strength of Party in Electorate 1. Measures Party identification 1. Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, other 2. (if R or D) Strong or not very strong? 3. (Independent) Closer to D or R party? “Independent Leaners” 4. 7 point scale: SD, WD, ID, I, IR, WR, SR 5. More strong partisans, fewer independents= stronger partisanship Vote choice- consistent support for party candidates across offices