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Political Parties
What is a Political Party?
 Political Party – a group of people who seek to control
government through the winning of elections and the
holding of public office
 People who have joined together based on certain common
principles/beliefs
 The two Major Parties in the U.S. are:
Republican Democratic
Why Political Parties?
 Political parties are essential to democratic
government
 They are the medium through which options are
presented to the people
 Serve as a link between the people and their government
 Some argue they are the primary method by which the will
of the people is made known to government
5 Major Functions
1. Nominating Candidates for public office
 THE major function
 Select candidate and present them to the voters
 Work to help their candidate win elections
 Candidates represent the party members and help spread
the party’s message
 Nominating is exclusive to political parties- no other
group in the political process does this
Functions of Political Parties
2. Informing and Activating Supporters
 Activate interest and participation in public affairs
 Primarily by:
 Campaigning for their candidates
 Taking stands on issues
 Criticizing the candidates/positions of their opponents
 Inform voters the way THEY want them to be informed
 Advertising
BEWARE- this information is
biased towards its own party’s
platform
Functions of Political Parties
3. Unite Government
 Members of political parties are connected because they
are members of the same organization
 Can link members at different levels of government to
achieve its bigger goals for the party
 Prompts its successful candidates to perform well in
office
 If they fail to do so, both party and candidate may suffer the
consequences in future elections
Functions of Political Parties
4. Influence Policy/Governing
 Public officeholders are regularly chosen on the basis of
party
 Congress and State legislatures are organized on party
lines
 Partisanship – government action based on firm allegiance to a
political party
 Legislative and Executive branches must cooperate in
order to accomplish anything:
 Political Parties provide the channel for these branches to work
together
Functions of Political Parties
5. Watchdog
 The party NOT in power closely watches the actions of
the party in power*
* Party that controls the executive branch of government; i.e., the
Presidency at the national level, or the governorship at the State
level
 Party out of power tries to convince the voters that they
should be the ones making the decisions
 Often makes those in power more responsive to the
wishes and concerns of the people
The Two-Party System
 Two’s company, but three’s a crowd!
The Two Party System
 The two major political parties dominate American
politics are:
&
 Minor—or “third”— parties do not have nearly as
much power and influence as the major parties
 Examples of minor parties include: Libertarian Party,
Communist Party USA, Green Party of the United States
Historical Basis
 U.S. has historically always been a two-party system
 Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists after the ratification of the
Constitution
 Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans formed at the
beginning of John Adam’s presidency (Federalist)
 Set the model for the Democrats
vs. Republicans we know today
The Force of Tradition
 Human institutions often become self-perpetuating
 The fact that the nation began with a two-party system is a leading
factor for the retention of it
 Most Americans accept the idea of a two-party system
simply because there has always been one.
 Can explain why challenges from minor parties have made very
little headway
 Discourages minor parties
 Voters often see votes for a minor party as a wasted vote because
of the influence of &
The Two Major Parties
 Both major parties are generally alike
 Both tend to be moderate
 Both are build on compromise
 Regularly seek to occupy the “middle of the road”
 Seek the same prize: the votes of a majority of the
electorate
 To do so, they both must win over essentially the
same people
 But they do have their differences…
Republican Party
 In favor of free market capitalism
 Believe taxes should not be raised for anyone-
flat tax rate
 In favor of increased military spending
 Conservative on social issues and take stances
that uphold “traditional values”
 Oppose gay marriage, abortion, gun control, illegal
immigration, and affirmative action
Democratic Party
 Support social welfare programs
 Social security, Medicaid/Medicare, food stamps, etc.
 Believe the government should regulate the
economy to protect consumers
 Minimum wage, progressive taxation
 In favor of decreased military spending
 Liberal on social issues- believe in equality
regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Party Membership Patterns
 Each of the major parties ( & ) have always been
composed of a cross-section of the population
 However, some segments generally tend to align
themselves with one or the other
 : white males, Protestants, and business community,
historically higher income
 : African Americans, Catholics and Jews, Union
Members, historically lower income
However, in recent years the Democratic Party has seen
increased support from various celebrities
Minor Parties in the U.S.
 Sometimes difficult to describe and classify because
of their number and variety
 Some limit their efforts to small geographic regions,
while others try to influence the nation
 Most are short-lived, but a few have existed for
decades
Green Party of the United States
 Major Beliefs- environmentalism, nonviolence, social
justice, gender equality, LGBT rights, and anti-racism
 Gained major attention in the 2000 election-
Democrats blamed Ralph Nader for Al Gore’s loss
 2016 presidential candidate is Jill Stein
 Currently fighting for equal media access and inclusion in
the presidential debates
Libertarian Party
 Platform is more “culturally liberal” than the
Democrats and more “fiscally conservative” than the
Republicans
 Liberal positions- end prohibition of illegal drugs, support
gay marriage, end capital punishment, strong civil liberties,
open immigration, separation of church and state
 Conservative positions- less government intervention,
lower taxes, eliminate welfare, allow people to opt out of
Social Security
 2016 Presidential Candidate- Gary Johnson
Community Party USA
 Established in 1919, it is one of the longest-standing
minority parties in the US
 Close ties to the US Labor Movement
 Primary concerns are problems of unemployment,
underemployment, and job insecurity
 Support $15/hr minimum wage, national universal
healthcare; oppose free trade

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5- Political Parties (2).ppt

  • 2. What is a Political Party?  Political Party – a group of people who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office  People who have joined together based on certain common principles/beliefs  The two Major Parties in the U.S. are: Republican Democratic
  • 3. Why Political Parties?  Political parties are essential to democratic government  They are the medium through which options are presented to the people  Serve as a link between the people and their government  Some argue they are the primary method by which the will of the people is made known to government
  • 4. 5 Major Functions 1. Nominating Candidates for public office  THE major function  Select candidate and present them to the voters  Work to help their candidate win elections  Candidates represent the party members and help spread the party’s message  Nominating is exclusive to political parties- no other group in the political process does this
  • 5. Functions of Political Parties 2. Informing and Activating Supporters  Activate interest and participation in public affairs  Primarily by:  Campaigning for their candidates  Taking stands on issues  Criticizing the candidates/positions of their opponents  Inform voters the way THEY want them to be informed  Advertising BEWARE- this information is biased towards its own party’s platform
  • 6. Functions of Political Parties 3. Unite Government  Members of political parties are connected because they are members of the same organization  Can link members at different levels of government to achieve its bigger goals for the party  Prompts its successful candidates to perform well in office  If they fail to do so, both party and candidate may suffer the consequences in future elections
  • 7. Functions of Political Parties 4. Influence Policy/Governing  Public officeholders are regularly chosen on the basis of party  Congress and State legislatures are organized on party lines  Partisanship – government action based on firm allegiance to a political party  Legislative and Executive branches must cooperate in order to accomplish anything:  Political Parties provide the channel for these branches to work together
  • 8. Functions of Political Parties 5. Watchdog  The party NOT in power closely watches the actions of the party in power* * Party that controls the executive branch of government; i.e., the Presidency at the national level, or the governorship at the State level  Party out of power tries to convince the voters that they should be the ones making the decisions  Often makes those in power more responsive to the wishes and concerns of the people
  • 9. The Two-Party System  Two’s company, but three’s a crowd!
  • 10. The Two Party System  The two major political parties dominate American politics are: &  Minor—or “third”— parties do not have nearly as much power and influence as the major parties  Examples of minor parties include: Libertarian Party, Communist Party USA, Green Party of the United States
  • 11. Historical Basis  U.S. has historically always been a two-party system  Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists after the ratification of the Constitution  Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans formed at the beginning of John Adam’s presidency (Federalist)  Set the model for the Democrats vs. Republicans we know today
  • 12. The Force of Tradition  Human institutions often become self-perpetuating  The fact that the nation began with a two-party system is a leading factor for the retention of it  Most Americans accept the idea of a two-party system simply because there has always been one.  Can explain why challenges from minor parties have made very little headway  Discourages minor parties  Voters often see votes for a minor party as a wasted vote because of the influence of &
  • 13. The Two Major Parties  Both major parties are generally alike  Both tend to be moderate  Both are build on compromise  Regularly seek to occupy the “middle of the road”  Seek the same prize: the votes of a majority of the electorate  To do so, they both must win over essentially the same people  But they do have their differences…
  • 14. Republican Party  In favor of free market capitalism  Believe taxes should not be raised for anyone- flat tax rate  In favor of increased military spending  Conservative on social issues and take stances that uphold “traditional values”  Oppose gay marriage, abortion, gun control, illegal immigration, and affirmative action
  • 15. Democratic Party  Support social welfare programs  Social security, Medicaid/Medicare, food stamps, etc.  Believe the government should regulate the economy to protect consumers  Minimum wage, progressive taxation  In favor of decreased military spending  Liberal on social issues- believe in equality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
  • 16. Party Membership Patterns  Each of the major parties ( & ) have always been composed of a cross-section of the population  However, some segments generally tend to align themselves with one or the other  : white males, Protestants, and business community, historically higher income  : African Americans, Catholics and Jews, Union Members, historically lower income However, in recent years the Democratic Party has seen increased support from various celebrities
  • 17. Minor Parties in the U.S.  Sometimes difficult to describe and classify because of their number and variety  Some limit their efforts to small geographic regions, while others try to influence the nation  Most are short-lived, but a few have existed for decades
  • 18. Green Party of the United States  Major Beliefs- environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, gender equality, LGBT rights, and anti-racism  Gained major attention in the 2000 election- Democrats blamed Ralph Nader for Al Gore’s loss  2016 presidential candidate is Jill Stein  Currently fighting for equal media access and inclusion in the presidential debates
  • 19. Libertarian Party  Platform is more “culturally liberal” than the Democrats and more “fiscally conservative” than the Republicans  Liberal positions- end prohibition of illegal drugs, support gay marriage, end capital punishment, strong civil liberties, open immigration, separation of church and state  Conservative positions- less government intervention, lower taxes, eliminate welfare, allow people to opt out of Social Security  2016 Presidential Candidate- Gary Johnson
  • 20. Community Party USA  Established in 1919, it is one of the longest-standing minority parties in the US  Close ties to the US Labor Movement  Primary concerns are problems of unemployment, underemployment, and job insecurity  Support $15/hr minimum wage, national universal healthcare; oppose free trade