Political Science – Final Exam
1. What are they?
A political organization which is made up of volunteers and paid professionals who work
together to achieve common goals (primarily to win elected office). Parties may compete
simply to highlight an issue
2. What do they do?
Seeks to influence, or entirely control, government policy, usually by nominating
candidates with aligned political views and trying to seat them in political office.
There are 5 different types of parties:
Elite Based: Small, dominated by elite, aimed to reward supporters with patronage
Mass Based: Aided by extension of franchise, large membership, highly dependent on
membership for resources, social clubs and outreach
Ethnic Parties: Seek to protect ethnic groups, aim to get resources for group
Catch All (Electoral-professional): Small membership, leader centered, ideologically vague,
focus on elections
Movement Parties: Non-hierarchal, small membership, concerned with core ideas
3. Are they necessary for a democratic society?
Structure choices in elections – independents do not do well
4. Do they still perform the same functions?
Leadership selection, candidate recruitment and nomination, electoral campaigning,
Campaigns: Parties run campaigns, volunteers less important now (technology),
campaigns are more expensive, despite all efforts – turnout in elections down
1. Basic typology (PR and FPTF)
Proportional Representation (PR): An electoral system that attempts to award seats to
parties in proportion to the share of votes earned. Such systems must be combined with
First-Past-the-Post (FPTP): An electoral system that requires the winning candidate to
receive more votes than any other in order to win the seat - that is, to receive a plurality
of votes. The majority of first-past-the-post systems employ single-member electoral
districts. 2. What values does each represent?
PR: Used in most European states, principle is representation, said to better represent
women and minorities, encourage higher turnout – every vote counts.
Representative, every vote counts, increase voter turnout, forces compromise between
parties, good for minority and women’s representation.
FPTP: Used in about 45 states, distorts electorate preference, tends to produce
majorities, effective governance.
Usually produces strong majorities, keeps fringe parties out, works best in 2 party
systems, constituency link
3. What electoral system would you want for your society?
Interest Groups and Civil Society
1. What are interest groups?
A group that brings together people with common interests and/or common sense of
identity for the purpose of influencing the political process.
2. Are they good for democracy? Bad?
Good: Raise issues not deal with in elections, influence policy, aim to influence society,
legitimize government policy
Bad: Narrow goals, state-oriented, expensive
3. What’s Civil Society?
Social institutions and organizations that are independent of the state and in which
citizens pursue their interests, express their beliefs, and live in communities.
4. What’s happening with Civil Society?
Canada and the World
1. Foreign policy changes after the cold war.
National interest, power, capacity (ability to influence), wealth, geography, international
The United States as the sole leader of the world affairs.
War on Terror: International military campaign (Sept 11, 2001)
New World Order: Global governance – identity, understand, or address worldwide
problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to solve.
Military-industrial Complex: Armed Forces (supply weapons and materials) 2. What’s a middle power?
Defined by objective characteristics (GNP, etc