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Lecture 9

PSC 101 Lecture 9: Chapter 9 - Political Parties

Political Science
Course Code
PSC 101
Mr. Joseph R Matheson

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October 15 + 17
PSC 101-008 Chapter 9 Notes - Political Parties
How can parties enhance popular sovereignty and political equality?
political party - an organization that tries to win control of the
government by electing people to office who carry the party label
Two party system (U.S. is more candidate based than party
Multiparty system
Purpose/Pros of political parties:
a. Parties keep elected officials responsive to a platform
b. Parties stimulate political interest and participation with
c. Parties ensure accountability by simplifying the pinpointing
responsibility process
d. Parties make sense of complex political issues
e. Parties can make the government work by encouraging
cooperation, especially among party members, which
facilitates government action
Why does the U.S. have a 2-party system?
-2 types of electoral systems and how they impact the number of parties-
1. Proportional Representation
The awarding of legislative seats to parties to reflect the
proportion of the popular vote each party receives
a. Typically vote by party, not by candidate; more reflective of
diverse views; most Western democracies
2. Single-Member Plurality Elections (U.S.) Ricky Bobby System
a. plurality - occurs when a candidate gets the most votes, but
less than a majority
b. single-member districts - districts where voters only elect one
person to represent them; the person with the most votes;
i. Duverger’s Law - Duverger documented that single-
member plurality systems are almost always 2 party
systems due to the fact that: (1) there is no reward for
coming in second and (2) voters are not inclined to
support minor parties; idea of the “wasted vote”
Minor Parties in U.S. politics:
In U.S., it is difficult for third parties to get any support
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