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Lecture 11

POL 101W Lecture 11: Chapter 11- Political Parties

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Political Science
POL 101W
Sanjay Jeram

Chapter 11: Political Parties Outline What is the role of political parties in democracies? What is a political party? How did they emerge? What has shaped their evolution? What defines modern political parties? Classifying parties in Canada What are party systems? Why do they vary across countries? o Explaining oneparty dominance in south Africa Introduction In democratic countries, parties compete to mobilize voters to elect their candidates to public office and to control the government Political parties are viewed negatively by a substantial majority of the population in many countries Decisions of government do not necessarily reflect the policy positions presented by the party that has been elected to govern Political parties play a dominant role in elections by recruiting candidates, running election campaigns, and presenting policy platforms to the public Governing party in parliamentary system determines the agenda of government, oversees the development of public policies and usually able to obtain the support of parliament needed to pass laws and approve the spending and taxing measures of the government Parties are supposed to be the link between citizens and political parties is generally weak: why? o Power seeking and financially dependent Nevertheless, parties play a dominant role in elections and the organization of politics o Majority of people volunteer for a party, work for a staffer and move into the party in that sense o Organize policy ideas into packages with identifiable ideologies o Parties are how we understand ideas o Parties give us shortcuts and make us feel like we understand The Origins and Development of Political Parties Political Party: An organization that has a central role in the competition for political power in legislative bodies and in governing Cadre Parties: Loosely organized party established by members of legislative body with support of local notables o Cadre parties are concerned primarily with electing members of the party to legislative bodies, rather than with building a strong, centralized membershipbased organization outside of the legislature o Look at notables or local elites who have financial resources Mass Parties: A party that draws its support from a regular duespaying membership and features a strong party organization outside of the legislature o Developed in the latter part of the 19 century and the start of the 20 o Made to challenge the elite domination of politics and organize the mass of the population o Socialist parties were formed out of working class movements o Many parties had no money so they made party supporters pay a small membership fee Party Convention: A meeting of delegates from party constituency associations as well as the partys legislators and party officials o Adopted to approve party positions and to choose members for various positions in the party Mass parties try to penetrate and associate with social groups such as unions and religious organizations Mass parties attempted to involve their members on a regular basis and to educate their members concerning their partys perspective Iron Law of Oligarchy: A generalization that claims that all organizations, even those that appear democratic, inevitably become dominated by a small group of leaders Mass parties like parties with cadre origins have found it necessary to make use of campaign professionals to try to appeal to the electorate Two main factors shaping party evolution: o State funding
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