Majority of Lecture Notes
Intro lecture- Compromise and Polarization
1. Point of checks and balances creates a system that has the president, the legislative
and the judicial.
2. Compromise is what American people want and its built into the system which can
be recognized as checks and balances.
3. The reason that the framers wanted a system like that was to medigate the passions
of factions and ideology
4. They didnt want people to get all passionate about something and rush and take
over government on the basis of that, they wanted to force such people to have to work
with others to cool off, and work with others.
5. Its not that they didnt want ideology at all, they wanted it to be a guide and a red
line. People and politicians should have principles.
Parties and Elections
1. the electoral process I the United States : how is it supposed to work on paper and in
2. How does practice and reality differ with theory
3. The tea party= why they took the root they took? Why they work within the
republican party and not the third party?
4. Thought: if you are in the tea party, why work within the Republican Party and not
United States as a two party people
5. There are a lot of third and minor parties in the United States, they just dont do a
6. A lot of people live in a city that strives on a one party system. There are quite a few
districts that are in the hands of one to two parties and some states that always go
either the republican candidate or the republican candidates.
7. In some senses you could say that there are 100 major parties in the United States,
50 republican parties and 50 democratic parties. There are significant differences
between being a republican/democrat in different states.
8. The elections are a two step process
9. Need to get yourself nominated and on the ballot for the November election. If you
really want to get notices than you need to get nominated by the two major parties.
You need to go through a process of primaries and caucuses
10. Comes the second election, with the primary and caucuses you run against
members within your party, in the second election you run against opponents from
www.notesolution.com In order to get into the primary elections, the process of getting nominated, you need
to get a certain number of signatures from party members, need to show that your for
real and a viable party candidate.
Voters have to registered in primaries to participate. Vote registration is not
automatic, you have to actively register as a voter most of the time way before, and that
itself limits who participates in primaries and in elections.
you have to be a registered party member in order to vote. You come the day of the
primaries and say you are registered as a republican. The republican party rep looks
through the list and if your name is on the list then you get the names of all the
republican candidates and you get to pick. You get to pick who you want to president,
senate and even locals. Almost half of the state run in closed primaries.
You come in on the day of the primary elections. They check to see of you are
registered voter and you say that you want to vote in the demo/rep parties and you go
and vote. You dont have to be a registered voter and you say you want to vote in the
demo/rep elections and you go and vote. You dont have to be a registered member of a
particular but you choose which party you vote for on the day of the election. However
some states vary. There are about 15-20 run open primaries. That is a number that has
been growing in comparison
Are ever more open then all the primaries mentioned above. They give you a ballot
on election day and you can choose all parties and you can choose more then one. Eg. I
will not choose a republican president , but perhaps a democrat for Senate. It depends
on the district you might want to elect a democrat because it will be successful in your
region. Louisiana and Washington state have these two types of Primaries.
Mostly in the south you have no candidate that gets 50 percent of the votes, but they
take the top two candidates and have a second election.
Caucus is like a town held election, and they talk and see which person will be the
best to local represent the state and thats how they vote. Most Caucuses are closed
caucuses and you need to be apart of that certain party. Most caucuses are even more
closed then closed primaries.
Who will go to the senate and the house of representatives is based on Caucus and
primaries . This is the same with the senate. However , the president is elected on a
national level, they go to the national election and they vote on who should be the
candidate who should run for president.
In presidential primaries and Caucuses--> a recommendation for which delegate will
run for the national election. How are these votes allocated or the recommendations
allocated? There are 4 ways of apportioning the parties votes
Winner takes all system (wta)- which ever candidate wins a majority in the primary
or caucus of that state gets all the delegates from that state. That used to be the
www.notesolution.com standard practice in American primaries and democrats have completely moved away
from that while republicans are in some instances running winner take all
Proportional representation (PR)- opposes the winner take all system but means
that the division stands in votes. If 30% vote one way, 30% another and 40% another
then they would all stand to represent what they won. Ways to solve this are: One
variation is going by congressional district, winner takes all by districts and divide
candidates into their respective winning districts. The other variation would be to have
the winner take all by district but also to have a certain number of delegates, a number
divisible by 10 that will go proportional throughout the state.
Congressional district- are state has 5 congressional districts, we are going to do
winner takes all in each of these districts and divide are candidates on that basis. So if
each district A, B, C then the delegation will be split two fifths for A two fifths for B
and one fifth for C
Mixed PR and congressional district- once you have been nominated by your party,
you then run for that office with other parties and you are now running in general
elections, you are running to be elected as you are nominated already. In those
elections everyone who is a registered voter votes not just the party.
The electoral college
each state sends delegates to the electoral college, the day the electoral college
meets, they go to the state capital, each state capital has its own meetings, they sit
down debate and vote. Its the electoral who actually elect the president the United
States. They are actually the ones who sit and debate about who the president will be.
They will take into consideration who the people voted for but constitutionally they are
able to vote for whoever they want as long as they follow some minor requirements for
presidency found in the constitution.
The framers fear demagog winning the popular vote just like Hitler in Germany.
Before an election, there are a slate of electors, and these slate of electors go and cast
there vote for who they think the president should be on paper. So when people on
election day come to a voting booth and vote, on paper, in theory, all they are doing is
making a recommendation to the electors. The number of electors that each state gets
in the electoral college= the number of representatives and senators that the state has.
Constitutional amendment says that the district of Colombia gets 3 electors. The
recommendation of the state is that all electors from a state vote for this person.
Maine and Nebraska have this mixed set up, they say, your recommendation.
Party activists- people that are actively engaged in the party, they tend to be the
most extremist in primaries and caucus. The people who care primarily about
abortions, gay marriages etc.
In closed caucus and primaries you get the hard line party members and the more
National convention purposes
National conventions are the place that the party is supposed to rile around its
To facilitate the great luther
www.notesolution.com Pol203 second semester
January 20, 2011
First in terms in how its supposed to work in paper and theory. Then in terms of how the
practice differs from the theory. Then we will discuss some ways how citizens are
dissatisfied from the parties and how they try to by pass them. Then conclude with the tea
party why they took the root they took. If you were the tea party why would u work within
the Republican or outside of the Republican party.
Myth about American politics:
Two party system?
to some extent this is true but there are important qualifications
American party system or elections: there are a lot of other parties in American
politics. The last several presidential elections, there have been notable third partys
However they do not do a heck of a lot of getting people elected. BUT WHY?
Second qualification: is us a two party system. Well in some areas of the US, what
citizens live as a reality is a one party system. For example you can run as a democrat,
but in some areas you will not get anyone to vote for you. Thereare quite a few
districts, they are pretty much solid in one party. There are also some states where