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01:790:104 (22)

Political Parties (Lowi, Chapter 11)

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Political Science
Anna Mahoney

Political Parties • Organized groups that attempt to influence the government by electing their members to important government offices • Discussed in Federalist 10 o Madison o “By faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” o Many of the founders did not think that political parties were a good idea Pluralism • Solution proposed by Madison • The theory that all interests are and should be free to compete with one another for influence in the government by which the outcome of this competition is compromise and moderation • If we’re going to have these groups that are self-interested, the least we can do is make the parties fight it out (through elections, negotiations, and compromise). We will have to compromise and come to what is best for the nation • In reality, groups do not have equal resources or access to government • Two party system- Republicans and Democrats have access to a lot more resources than third parties • Special interest influence on government is not clearly understood • There are some groups that have common political resources but can’t come together and create a big group because they don’t have access to enough resources Political Parties 1. Outgrowths of the Electoral Process • Take their structure from the electoral process • For every district where an election is held, there should be some kind of party unit • Kingdon Difference: Weaker o Less (blind) loyalty o Less direct control over nominations 2. Outgrowths of the Policy-Making Process • Permanent coalition of like mind with shared policy goals • Facilitate policy-making process o Don’t need to get new coalitions every time o Parties help unify people who have shared values and policy goals, so you know you can count on your party when getting support for new policies o Makes for a more efficient, quicker system • Generally parties have been relatively stable for a while Historical Evolution of the Political Parties in the US • Electoral realignments: The point in history when a new party supplants the ruling party to become the new dominant political force. In the US, this happens about every 30 years • Electoral dealignments: The point in history when people are weakly attached to the political parties; eventually the parties have to change their platforms or organizing ca
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