Political Parties Here and Abroad
Political Party a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office.
A Political Party can exist as: a label organization a set of leaders
In the U.S. political parties have become weaker in all 3 areas.
More independents and split ticket voting
Weaker since the 1960s
Still strong in leader aspect
USA VS. Europe
Have more influence because:
Candidates for elective office are usually nominated by party leaders
Campaigns are run by the party and not the candidate.
Once in office, the elected official is expected to vote and act together with the members of his party.
Federal system decentralizes power in USA
Early in history decisions were made by state and local government
Nat Parties at this were coalitions of local parties
Political power became more centralized, parties became even more decentralized and weaker
The Rise and the Decline of the Political Party
The Jeffersonian Republicans
The Civil War and Sectionalism The Era of Reform
Periods when a sharp, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition one or both parties. Shift may occur at the time of the election or just after
5 Realignments so far
1828 Jacksonian Democrats
1860 Whig collapse
1896 Republicans defeat William Jennings Bryan
1932 FDR 2 Kinds of Realignments:
Major Party is defeated that it disappears new party emerges
2 existing parties continue, but voters shift their loyalty from one to another Party Decline
The National Party Structure Today
National Convention ultimate power, meets every 4 years to nominate the presidential candidate.
National Committee composed of delegates from states; manages affairs between conventions
Congressional Campaign Committees support the party’s congressional candidates. National Chairperson manages daily work
State and Local Parties
Political Machine a party organization that recruits members via tangible incentives.
Opposite to machine, principle is more important than winning election
They are contentious and factionalized.
Usually 3rd parties