Chapter 12: Political Parties

Political Party
An organized effort by office holders, candidates, activists, and voters to pursue their common interests by gaining and exercising power through the electoral process. The goal is to win office to exercise power, not just compete for it

Governmental Party
The office holders who organize themselves and pursue policy objectives under a party label.

Organizational Party
The workers and activists who make up the party’s formal organization structure.

Party in the Electorate
The voters who consider themselves allied or associated with the party

Democratic Republicans
Preferred states to have more power and generally centered around Jefferson.

Supported a strong central government, generally surround John Adams and Alexander Hamilton

Succeeded the older Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. They held the first national presidential nomination convention. Their party was mainly formed around Andrew Jackson’s popularity, so the Democratic party attracted a lot of new voters.

Formed in 1854 by anti-slavery activist, it set its sights on the abolition of slavery.

Political Machines
A party organization that recruits voter loyalty with tangible incentives and is characterized by a high degree of control over member activity. Used incentives such as jobs and favors to win loyalty.

Boss Tweed
Boss Tweed
He ran Tammany Hall (Democratic party machine) he has been criticized for taking money from government taxes, but praised for helping the unemployed and for fighting for workers rights.

The New Deal
This marks when citizens began to see social services as right of citizenship.

To vote for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election.

Direct Primary
the selections of party candidates through the ballots of qualified voters rather than at party nominating conventions. Removed the power of nomination from party leaders and workers and gave it to the much broader and more independent electorate.

Civil Service Laws
require appointment on the basis of merit and competitive examinations. These laws removed the power of many parties to reward their followers.

Critical Elections
An election that signals a party realignment through voter polarization around new issues. May polarize voters around new issues, this can be dependent on events or issues of the time such as WWII or the Great Depression.

Secular Realignment
The demographic realignment of the parties instead of shifts because of shocks to the political system. It is characterized as very slow, demographic shifts. This is far, far more likely to happen on a regional level, not a national level.

A group made up of interests or organizations that join forces for the purpose of electing public officials. Parties generate a community of interest eliminates the necessity of forming a new coalition.

Intended Fragmentation
within each branch, and the party helps narrow the differences between the House and the Senate or between the president and the department heads in the executive bureaucracy. Party affiliation also makes communication and cooperativity between state, national, and local government easier

Party-Linkage Function
Does not end with the relationship between national, state, and local governments or among the branches of government. Party-linkage also provides a link between the voter and the candidate, as well as between the voter and the office holder. The party connection is also a mean of increasing accountability in elections because candidates on the campaign trail are sometimes required to account for their actions at party-sponsored forums, nominating primaries, and conventions

National Party Platform
A statement of the general and specific philosophy and policy goals of a political party, usually broadcast at the national convention.

What happens to the promises and pledges?
About 2/3rds of the promises of the winning party have been mostly or completely implemented and about ½ or more of the pledges of the losing party also tend to find their way into public policy. This trend reflects effort of both parties to support broad policy positions that enjoy widespread support in the general public.

Proportional Representation
Awarding legislative seats according to the percentage of votes a political party receives. The United States does not use proportional representation.

A system in which the party that receives at least one more vote than any other part wins the election. Placing second, even by one vote, doesn’t count. The only thing that matters is placing first, which also means the United States only has two, extreme, parties.

When third parties to best…
Generally when trust in the two major political parties is on the decline. They make the electoral process incorporate new ideas or alienated groups or to nominate attractive candidates as their standard-bearers.

Ideology and third parties
They find their roots in sectionalism, economic protest, in specific issues, in ideology (Socialist, Communist, Libertarian, etc.) and in appealing charismatic personalities. Most third parties draw their strength from a combination of these sources

National committees
Make arrangements for the national conventions and to coordinate the subsequent presidential campaigns

Congressional commtttees
The National Democratic Congressional Committee is loosely allied with the DNC and same with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Senate campaign committees
created after the ratification of the 17th Amendment.

Seventeenth Amendment
popular election of U.S. senators. 17th amendment caused both parties organized separate Senate campaign committees. Three-part arrangement of national party committee, house party committee, and Senate party committee.

National Convention
A party meeting held in the presidential election year for the purposes of nominating a presidential and vice presidential ticket and adopting platform.

Precinct Committee Members
The “foot soldiers” of any party, their efforts are supplemented by party committees above them in the wards, cities, counties, towns, villages, and congressional districts.

A district or town, the smallest voting unit. It usually takes in a few adjacent neighborhoods and is the fundamental building block of the party

state central (or executive) committee
The state governing body supervising the collection of local party organizations. Its members come from all major geographic units

Think Tanks
Institutional collection of policy-oriented researchers and academic who are sources of policy ideas. Each party has several of these and they influence party positions and platforms

Soft Money
The virtually unregulated money funneled through political parties for party-building purposes, such as get of the vote efforts or issue ads. It was banned after 2002.

Hard Money
Funds that can be used for direct electioneering but that are limited and regulated by the Federal Election Commission.

Senate Majority Leader
The senate majority leader can decide whether a member’s bill is given priority in the legislative agenda or will be dismissed with barely a hearing.

Contradictory roles of a president
He is expected to bring the country together as ceremonial chief of state and also to forge a ruling consensus as head of government. The president must also be an effective commander of a sometimes divided party.

Governors in many states have greater influence over their parties’ organizations and legislators than the president. Many governors have more patronage positions at their command than does a president. They some governors can play a role in selecting the legislature’s committee chairs and floor leaders, and some state executives even attend and help direct the party legislative caucuses.

Party Identification
A citizen’s personal affinity for a political party, usually expressed by a tendency to vote for the candidates of that party.

single greatest influence in establishing a person’s first party identification

Democrats usually win more of the women vote. Women are less likely than men to favor American military action and are generally more supportive of education and social welfare spending. However, most researchers now explain the difference by citing the Democratic party’s inability to attract men instead of the Republican party’s inability to attract women.

Geographic Region
Relatively closely contested between the parties. The South used to be solidly democratic, then is was a competitive two-party region following the civil war, now, since the 1994 election, southerners have generally voted Republican

Generally, the very youngest and the very oldest voters identify with the Democratic Party, while middle aged voters disproportionately support the Republican Party (they are at the height of their careers and therefore are not in favor of high income taxes)

More than three to one, Hispanics prefer the Democratic Party. Puerto Ricans vote very similarly to African Americans, while Mexican Americans favor Democrats by smaller margins. The Cuban American population tends to support the Republican party. However, because Hispanics are the fasting growing ethnic group in the U.S., Republicans have been fighting for the Hispanic vote.

Separation of Blacks and Whites
African Americans are the most dramatically split population subgroup in party terms. African Americans account almost entirely for the slight lead in party affiliation that Democrats normally enjoy over Republicans since the GOP has recently been able to attract a narrow majority of whites to its standard. The two races differ greatly on many policy issues, with blacks overwhelmingly on the liberal side and whites closer to the conservative pole, although religious beliefs lead many African Americans to adopt more conservative views about issues such as gay rights and abortion.

Social and Economic Factors
The GOP remains predominant among executives, professionals, and white-collar workers, whereas the Democrats lead substantially among trial lawyers, educators, and blue-collar workers. Labor union members are also generally Democratic. Democratic support tends to drop as one earns more money, and those with a college education tend to be Republican while those with advanced degrees tend to be Democratic.

White Protestants favor Republicans, whereas Catholics, and Jewish voters tend to favor the Democratic Party. However, decreased polarization of these groups has been increasing.

Marital Status
People who are married tend to favor the Republican Party, the widowed towards the Dem. Party (mainly because there are more widows than widowers so the gender gap plays a role here), the divorced and the separated appear to be more liberal.

A general decline in party identification and loyalty in the electorate. It has been feared that the weakening of party attachments is undermining political participation.