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POLI 360, Week 7

by: runnergal

POLI 360, Week 7 POLI 360 001


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These notes cover what was discussed during the week of 2/22/16
American Political Parties
David C. Darmofal
Class Notes
political science, Government
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Monday February 29, 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 28 views. For similar materials see American Political Parties in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/29/16
 POLI 360 – Lecture 10  Party Support and Realignment o Party coalitions: the socioeconomic groups that support a party. o Coalitions help our understanding of American politics because they shape the  issues and positions that parties emphasize. o Understanding when and why party coalitions change during political  realignments is essential to understand party actions.  Types of Presidential Elections 1. Maintaining Elections: Party identifications continue without any great change.  The majority party wins the election. For example, in 1948 Truman rallied  Democrats back to his party. 2. Deviating Elections: Basic distribution of party identification continue without  any great change, but short­term forces, like candidate characteristics or issues,  are powerful enough to cause the defeat of the majority party. For example,  Eisenhower won the election of 1952 because he was a general in World War II  and had a likeable personality. 3. Realigning Elections: groups supporting the parties change in significant ways,  and that significant change endures. These elections usually produce a new  majority party. For example, many immigrants became Democrats in the election  of 1932, resulting in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s victory.     The First American Party System (1801­1828) o The first system consisted of Democratic­Republicans versus Federalists.  The Democratic­Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James  Madison, preferred agrarian interests.  The Federalists, led by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, preferred  Eastern business interests and infrastructure. o These differing bases led to different attitudes towards national government. o The Federalists declined as a party as Democratic­Republicans got better at  winning elections, leading to the Era of Good Feelings with one­party rule by the  Democratic­Republicans.  The Second American Party System (1829­1860) o Democratic­Republicans could not manage all of the conflicts in its coalition. As  a result, factions in the coalition split into two parties.  The rural, agrarian faction became the Democratic Party, led by Martin  Van Buren. Van Buren aimed to foster a revival of Democratic­ Republican principles.  The Eastern, business faction became the Whig party. o The Democrats were the majority party during this era. o Both parties attempted to avoid the slavery issue. POLI 360 – Lecture 11  The Third American Party System (1861­1896) o The Republican Party was formed in 1854 in Wisconsin as an anti­slavery party;  it won the presidency just six years later with the election of Abraham Lincoln. o The rise of the Republican Party resulted in slavery becoming a central issue in  the U.S., producing a realignment in 1860. o The Civil War and its consequences dominated American politics for over three  decades. For instance, Republican portrayed Democrats as people who were not  loyal to the U.S. After those three decades, however, the Civil War diminished in  importance as fewer people personally recollected the events.  The Fourth American Party System (1897­1932) o The rural versus commercial divide reaffirmed itself with the industrialization of  the U.S. o William Jennings Bryan led an agrarian revolt against Eastern business interest in  the 1896 presidential election. William McKinley, representing those Eastern  business interests, won the 1896 presidential election by a large margin. o As a result, Republicans became the clear majority party with the Industrial  Realignment in 1896; they won every presidential election until 1932, with the  exceptions of 1912 and 1916 with the elections of Woodrow Wilson. o This party system broke down with the Great Depression in 1929.  The Fifth American Party System (1933­present) o The 1932 election focused on Herbert Hoover’s management of the nation; since  the country was in the midst of the worst depression in history, challenger  Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidential election in a landslide. o FDR initiated the New Deal: government programs that would revitalize the  economy. These programs were affectionately termed “Alphabet Soup” due to the abundance of acronyms, like the CCC and TVA. o FDR’s election ushered in the New Deal Realignment, where the Democratic  Party usurped the Republican Party as the majority party. o The Democratic Party began to embrace industrial workers and African­ Americans at this time in history.  Are We in a New Party System? o White Southerners are significantly less Democratic now than they were in 1933.  Additionally, African­Americans are significantly more Democratic now than  they were in 1933. o There has been no clear change in which party is the majority party; there are still  slightly more Democrats than Republicans in the U.S. o Instead, there may have been a dealignment: people are less likely to identify with a party now.  Realignments o Nardulli (1995) looked at the subnational level to understand realignments. o The New Deal Realignment was the only realignment where over half of the  nation’s population lived in places where the realignment occurred. 1. Whig Realignment in the South and the Midwest in 1836 and 1840  towards the Whigs. 2. The Republican Realignment in the North and the Midwest 1856 and 1860 towards the Republicans. 3. The Jim Crow Democratic Realignment in the South from 1876 to 1904. 4. The Republican Industrial Realignment in the Northeast and north  Midwest from 1896 to 1904. 5. The Post­World War II Republican Realignment in the South from 1946  to 1952.  Why Do Realignments Occur? o Realignments occur when a new political issue or crisis cuts across party lines. o Issues produce realignment by: 1. Mobilization of previous non­voters: the mobilization thesis argues that  active voters do not switch their party loyalties. Realignments only occur  when previous non­voters begin voting. 2. Conversion of active voters from one party to another: active voters  can switch loyalties in response to new issues and crises. Non­voters are  not activated by these same issues and crises. 3. Demobilization of previous voters: active voters cannot switch their  party loyalties and non­voters are not activated by these new issues or  crises. Citizens hold elites accountable by not voting at all.  Anderson (1979) o Anderson argued that the New Deal Realignment was created by Democratic  mobilization of non­voting citizens that had not yet been fully exposed to partisan politics, like immigrants, women, and young people that had never voted before. o These citizens were more open to Democratic arguments because they did not  have to overcome initial Republican Party identifications.


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