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POLI 360, Week 8

by: runnergal

POLI 360, Week 8 POLI 360 001


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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed in class during the week of 2/29/16. There is only one lecture in these notes because there was only one class during this week.
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 Friday March 4, 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 31 views. For similar materials see American Political Parties in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 03/04/16
POLI 360 – Lecture 12  How Parties Choose Candidates o The move towards primary nominations of candidates was a Progressive Era  reform to reduce party bosses’ and other party elites’ influences. o All states now use primaries to decide nominees for at least some statewide  offices. o Primaries are the only way to choose party nominations in 38 states.  Types of Primaries o Closed Primary  This primary requires a stable record of the voter’s party affiliation before  one can vote in a primary.  One can only vote in the primary with which he/she is affiliated.  These primaries are used in 28 states.  There are two types of closed primaries:  Fully­Closed Primaries: voters must register with a party prior to  Election Day in order to vote in the party’s primary. These  primaries indicate strong party organizations.  Semi­Closed Primaries: Voters still must state a party affiliation  and can only vote in the primary of the parties they are affiliated  with, respectively. Voters can change their affiliation, however, at  the polls. o Open Primary  This primary allows people to vote in either party’s primary without  announcing a party affiliation.  21 states use this type of primary, including South Carolina.  There are two types of open primaries:  Semi­open Primaries: Voters can ask for either party’s ballot at  the polls, but pollsters keep no standing records of the voters’ party choices.  Fully Open Primaries: Voters receive consolidated ballots (with  both parties’ primaries on it), or voters receive ballots for every  party and the people choose the party primary they want to vote in  in private. People, however, can only vote in one party’s primary. o Blanket Primary  This primary allows voters to vote in more than one party’s primary.  Citizens receive a ballot that lists the primary candidates for each party in  each office; this allows voters to pick a Democrat for one office and a  Republican for another office.  This primary was used in California, an anti­partisan state, but it was  deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because the parties have  no control. o Top Two Primary  This primary was created by California in response to the Supreme  Court’s ruling on blanket primaries.  All candidates appear on the same ballot. The top two vote­receivers,  regardless of party affiliation, continue on to the general election. o Unified/Unitary Primary  Used in Louisiana since 1975, all candidates are listed on the same ballot,  regardless of party affiliation.  If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, then that candidate  wins the whole election; there is no general election for that office.  If no candidates receives a majority of the vote, then the top two vote­ receivers face off in the general election.  Parties and Primaries o Party elites dislike primaries because: 1. There is a risk of unattractive nominees. For example, in Illinois in 1989,  two supporters of Lyndon LaRouches, a fringe Democrat, won the  Democratic primaries for Secretary of State as well as Lieutenant  Governor. In order to avoid being associated with these radicals, the  Democratic candidate for Governor, Adlai Stevenson III, was forced to  run as a third­party candidate. 2. Democratic primary winners are often more liberal than the average voter,  and Republican primary winners are often more conservative than the  average voter. 3. It is difficult to recruit candidates. Primaries are view by potential  nominees as an extra obstacle that must be overcome in order to be  elected. Additionally, minority parties in small towns, boroughs, etc. may  find it hard to recruit candidates. o Party primaries give citizens opportunities to challenge the majority party  candidate.  Difficulties in Holding Candidates Accountable o  Before party primaries existed, candidates owed their nominations to party elites,  which gave elites power over the candidates; primaries reduced this influence. o Party donors contribute lots of money to candidates’ primary campaigns, which  can dry up resources for candidates in the general election.  Parties and Types of Primaries o Elites favor closed primaries because: 1. Closed primaries give parties a list of party identifiers 2. Closed primaries ensure that party nominees are chosen by party  members, not independents or members of opposing parties.  Non­party members that vote in primaries are: 1. Cross­overs: citizens that vote in another party’s primary because  they favor that candidate over other candidates in that party. 2. Raiders: citizens that vote in another party’s primary to elect a  weak opposing candidate.  Cross­overs and Raiders o Abramowitz, McGlennon, and Rapoport (1981) examined strategic voting  through the 1977 Virginia Governor Democratic primary. o The Democratic primary featured a race between a liberal, former Lieutenant  Governor and a conservative Attorney General; the conservative nominee was  thought to be more electable than the liberal nominee. o These researchers interviewed people that were affiliated with the Republican  Party but voted in the Democratic primary; they found that 10% of the voters in  the Democratic primary were actually Republicans. o 80% of that 10% voted for the conservative candidate; most of these voters were  therefore cross­overs, not raiders.


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