major and minor parties

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  • The U.S. is the only major Western nation that does not have at least one significant and enduring national third party.

    Why is this?Is it significant?

  • Groups that seek to control government throughwinning elections and holding public office

  • Group of people who seek to control government through winning elections and holding public officeMade up of people committed to a common set of beliefs, ideals, policies or programsDemocrats and Republicans: Parties that are election oriented rather than issue oriented

  • Republicans and DemocratsDominant parties in the U.S.

    The Big Tent Concept: Because all voters are theoretically represented by only two parties each party needs a Big Tent to accommodate all members beliefs

  • Nominating: Name candidates to run for elective offices Provide money to candidates running for office. Help raise money

    Bonding: Gives the seal of approval to candidates

    Informing: Mobilize citizens to vote and participate in electionsCreate a PLATFORM that explains stance on issuesProvide Cues to Voters on who or what to vote for

    Governing: Bear the responsibility of operating government once in power

    Watchdog: Providing organized opposition to the incumbents (party in power)Partisanship: support your party. Bash the other party

  • The oldest political party in the U.S. Symbol is the donkeyConsidered the more liberal partyBelieves in stronger federal governmentBelieves in more individual control over personal behaviorTends to focus spending on social programsDiscourages big businessPro-UnionAppeals to people in cities, labor, minority groups

  • Symbol is the elephantConsidered the more conservative partyBelieves in stronger state governmentTends to focus on cutting taxesFavors big business and ownersBelieves in personal responsibility and individualismTends to to well in Midwest, South, rural, and suburban areas

  • History - started out that way - factionsTradition - there has always been one since after George WashingtonFederalists (Madison and Hamilton) vs Anti-Federalists (Jefferson et al)Federalists wanted strong central governmentAnti-Federalists did not trust a strong central government

  • Two parties start to look alikeSimilar feelings about broad issues of the dayKeeps either party from getting too radicalMust moderate, compromise, strive to get votes

  • Republicans were once the liberal party1860s Abraham Lincoln - Republican (Abolitionist) partyDemocrats were the conservatives until 1920s - 30s

  • 1800-1860 Era of Democratic DominationFarmers, debtors, pioneers help Dems stay in office1860-1932 Era of RepublicansNorthern & Western Farmers, Businessmen, abolitionists and African Americans help Republicans stay in officeSouthern states solidly DemocratThe Democratic Revolution: 1932-1969FDR builds new coalition of DemocratsBased on south, small farmers, labor unions,minorities, big cities politics i.e. those most hurt by the DepressionNEW DEAL: Major shift in how we see the role of govt.

  • President is the visible leader of his partyParty out of power does not have as visible a leader to turn to.

    Parties are decentralized. Run by local organizations Each has a National Committee to try to organize / coordinate party functionsNational Chairperson runs the national committeeCongressional Campaign Committees try to increase number of partys reps in CongressThird parties rarely have $ to organize this well. Thus, they do not last long.

  • Those that do not represent the Republican or Democratic parties, but still have a major impact on elections.Can take votes away from the major parties. (Spoiler Role)May force the candidates of the two major parties to address new issues.When issues raised by third parties become popular, the other two parties tend to adopt them into their own platforms

  • Candidates run campaigns to try to get elected to office.Presidential campaigns start about a year before the electionPrimary campaigns like a playoff system to weed out candidatesIntra-party elections (Democrats can only vote for Democrats etc)Iowa and New Hampshire traditionally go firstDifferent states hold primaries on different daysCandidates do a HUGE amount of traveling and speaking during campaignsSupported by political partiesPropaganda often a part of campaignsWinner of most primaries gets the Nomination at a National Convention

  • Many parties can have candidatesPercent of vote for party gives that party a percent of representativesGet 15% of vote, Get 15% of seats in ParliamentAdvantagesBroader representationMore responsive to the will of the people

    DisadvantagesNo party with majority supportInstabilityFormation of coalitions (temporary alliances)

  • Party A got 15% of the vote so gets 15% of the seatsParty B got 25% of the vote so gets 25% of the seatsParty C got 45% of the vote so gets 45% of the seatsParty D got 12% of the vote so gets 12% of the seatsParty D got 3% of the vote so gets 3% of the seats

  • Just Plain Folks A candidate tries to convince voters that he or she is a regular person - just like you Mud-slinging Meant to make a candidates opponent sound dangerous or bad

  • Testimonial - A well-known or famous person supports a candidate Symbols (Transfer) A candidates name or picture is linked with something we like and admire

  • Glittering Generalities Words that sound good, but dont really mean much Bandwagon Telling voters that they should support a candidate because everyone else is doing it

  • 15th Amendment removed racial barriers to voting though southern states found other ways to curtail voting by African-Americans19th Amendment Womens suffrage26th Amendment Voting age 18

  • Requirements to VoteBe an American citizen At least 18 years oldBe a legal resident of the state in which you are votingCan you be barred from voting?Yes: Those with dishonorable discharges, in mental institutions, convicts etc can be banned

  • After Primaries, each party holds a convention to nominate candidate for PresidentConventions used to have MUCH more significanceWere once the place where candidates were selected regardless of what happened in primariesWhere party platform is unveiled

  • Presidential ElectionsTuesday after the first Monday in NovemberElectoral SystemCandidates elected by electors1 elector for each representative and senatorPeople vote (the Popular Vote) to tell electors who to vote forAll or Nothing System.You win a state by one popular vote, you get ALL of the electoral votesNeed 270 electoral votes to win presidency

  • Sure but our third parties rarely get any votes

  • Ross Perot: 1992, 1996Ralph Nader: 2000, 2004

  • Any political partyorganized in atleast a few states,other than the twocurrent leadingpartiesJesse Ventura, Independent Governor of Minnesota, 1999-2003

  • Third Parties in the U.S. receive great attention, but in fact have not assumed the importance that all the academic attention on them suggests.

  • No minor third party as ever come close to winning the presidencyOnly eight third party candidates have won any electoral votesOnly five, including Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and Ross Perot in 1992 have won more than 10% of the popular vote

  • Examples: Socialist, Communist, and Libertarian Parties

    Libertarian Party 2000 campaign ad

  • Example: Prohibition Party in 1892Also, Right to Life, Free Soil parties

  • Example: James Weaver and the Populist Party won over 1 million popular votes and 22 electoral votes in 1892Rooted in periods of economic discontent.Sectional (ie Populist, Greenback parties)

  • Example: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Bull Moose Party split from Republicans in 1912 formed around strong personality

  • Though very rare, a third party may replace one of the major parties1856, the Republican Party replaces the Whig Party Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858

  • The electoral progress of third parties is in direct proportion to the failure of the two major parties to incorporate new ideas.

    Ralph Nader and the Green Party in 2000

  • Ralph Nader Math Problem2004 Presidential Election

  • Third Parties have influenceMajor parties often take on the ideas of third partiesIn 1992, both the Republican and Democratic Parties took on Perots reform government ideas about reducing the deficitMake major parties answer questions

    George Bush (Republican), Ross Perot (Reform), & Bill Clinton (Democrat) during 1992 Presidential debate

  • William Jennings Bryan, Democratic candidate for President, 1896Once the major parties incorporate their ideas, third parties burn outPopulist Party platform was assimilated into the Democratic Party in 1896

  • Does what you have read make it difficult for 3rd parties to be successful? If so, how?

  • On your own piece of paper, answer the following questions:Does our system favor a 2-party system? Why or why not?Is the process 3rd party candidates have to go through fair? Is it effective?Is it possible for a 3rd party candidates campaign to be successful?



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