II. Main Concepts
A. What are Political Parties?
1. Political parties are organizations that seek to elect candidates to government offices. They represent teams that seek to control governments.
2. The goal of political parties is to win elections in order to gain power.
B. The Functions of Political Parties
1. Recruitment of Political Leadership
a) Means of recruiting political leaders inheritance, ex. Kings/Chiefs.
b) Governments without established means of selecting leaders face crisis.
c) Leadership recruitment- when a leader resigns or dies in office.
d) Personalistic parties- solely designed to get leaders elected. Ex. apprenticeship
2. Formulating Government Policies and Programs
a) A major function is political aggregation.
b) Platforms- parties position of public policy issues
3. Organizing Government
a) After elections, a single party or a coalition forms a government.
b) Parliamentary Systems- leadership of the majority party
C. The Origins of Political Parties
1. Party Systems
a) No-Party System: no formal political party
b) Single Party System: one party regularly receives more than 65% of total votes. Totalitarian parties, fascists seek total control over society.
c) Two Party System: two dominant parties.
(1) Electoral Arrangments- single member districts, multi member districts: proportional representation
d) Multi-Party System:single m,ember districts discriminate against small parties.
(1) Proportional Representation- is a fairer system, although its success depends on coalition.
D. Types of Political Parties
1. Party Organization- parties have common goals, field candidates for elected office, winning elections, controlling the government, implementing programs.
a) Difference in internal organization highly centralized. Ex. Britain
b) Loose federations of regional and local organization (decentralized)
2. Party Ideologies- a political ideology defines its most fundamental message.
a) Radical Right Parties (Neofascist parties)
(1) Stress militant nationalism and preservation of ethnic purity.
(2) Neofascist- capitalize on public resentment against the European Union.
b) Conservative Parties
(1) Share common attributes such as stability, tradition, family, religion, and country.
(2) Difference of Conservative parties in the world.
(3) Conservative Parties in Western Europe and The U.S.
(a) Embrace democracy
(b) Committed to lassie faire
(c) Subscribe to limited government interference.
c) Liberal Parties