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poli sci february 16th.odt

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Political Science
POLI 222
Christa Scholtz

Lecture 10: Party Systems What are the voters making choices? How are legislative seats organized? If you have proportional representation, you will have more parties In a majority system, you will have fewer parties Political parties have a key role to play in forming voters' choices, parties do their best to change voters minds. Political parties are key to democratic development. Democracy is a system in which parties lose elections. Egypt had elections for many years but only after the arab spring that you can think of Egypt as a true democracy Having just one party is not enough for us to think about democracy as a true political reality How do party systems change? – Change the underlying electoral rules (new zealand) – The voter has to be the primary Cleavage structures – what are the important dimensions or issues which have an impact on the seemingly simple process of putting an “x” next to a party or persons name. – This might tell us how parties compete for seats and votes Understanding the voter (a spatial theory of voting) – There is an order to voters, in one dimension. – The voting rule for each voter is simple, all they care about, they simply vote for the candidate which holds views closest to their own. – We must assume that it is a majoritarian system. – Based on this, what will parties do? – Median: middle voter – Nash Equilibrium: i'm happy with my choices given what everyone else is doing. If that is true for everyone involved, that is Nash's equilibrium. – You want to place yourself in the middle of the voters to get the most votes from both the right and the left. – Based on these assumptions, parties will converge to the median voter. The Lure of the Median Voter – Convergence to the moderate middle – leaves out how parties impact voters – leaves out which dimensions matter – This assumes that parties don't stand for anything. Functions of political parties John Meisel (Queen's) – Integrating citizens into the political system – elite recruitment – organizing public opinion – interest aggregation – unless you live in a small place or you live in a place where everyone thinks the same way, in order to win, you have to build a coalition.You have to build a base, have to be attractive enough to a wide array of people so that their votes will carry you to government. – Developing policy – Structuring the vote – must think if the person is voting for the person or for the party – Organization of Government – once they win, they have to organize seats, PM selects his cabinet, R. Carty (UBC) et al. – Representation and accommodation of interests – democratic organization – contesting elections – governing Carty's 3 party system took it upon himself to determine if there were different era's in party competition, he argued yes. – 1867-1919 – 2 party system (They pulled in 95% of the vote) – pre-democratic – patronage politics – parliamentary party – ended with electoral reform (precursor to today's electi
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