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Political Science
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Ryan Hurl

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January 13 Culture Wars Fiorina Moris P. Fiona and his colleagues challenge the oft repeated idea that the U.S, is mired in a culture war. they disagree on abortion, gay marriage.. They argue that there is a deep division in U.S politics BUT not among the electorate or the citizenry. There are divisions among political activists, officeholders, and elites. They conclude that deepening conditions within the political elite have been driven by: 1) the ascendance of purists, 2) the expansion of government 3)the opening up of government. America is not polarized public opinion has grown more centrist on issues and more tolerant of the divergent views, values and behavior of other Americans. However religion has become a more important electoral cleavage in recent years These views /lies are inconsistent as there is a growing polarization of the political class the elite polarization. Purists: The change of values and views of both demo and republicans. Demos= environmental, civil rights, pro-choice, gay lesbian, and gun control groups Therefore, issue activists largely define the party images today. Republicans: pro-life, traditional values, anti-tax, and pro gun groups They changed views because: 1) the rise of material incentives for political participation 2) conflict of interest laws- made it hard to reward ones friend and punish ones enemy than a generation ago. 3) the increase importance of money in modern campaigns poor people dont contribute, in order to get elected demos had to move upscale and target middle class issues and activists in order to get elected. Expansion of the Government: Entered into spheres of life previously considered private. Before managers denying blacks for jobs was a highly contested notion, free smoking environments and developers could not fill in swaps because of the salamanders. = entered private life. Participatory democracy The biggest change was in the transformation of the presidential nominating process. In 1960 kennedy was nominated by demo party professionals. Goldwater was nominated by purists and McGowen was nominated by opposing purist who captures the demo party. Was a move from party centered elections towards candidate-centered elections. Problems: people who care deeply also tend to have extreme views on issues they care about = intensity and extremity. Also, extremist march, campaign, give money and push their views more strongly then moderates. Most people want: secure country, healthy economy, safe neighborhood, good schools BUT they do not get discussed and extremist who push for their issues are mostly about abortion, gun laws, marijuana. = This does not motivate the majority of the Americans. *A political order that debates policy proposals more extreme than necessary to address societal issues and community problems, a political order that spends inordinate amounts of time debating policy issues that most citizens do not view as among the most important issues, political order dominated by a political class whos behaviors and operating style would be unacceptable outside of politics Purple America Anasolabehere A nation divided on issues of abortion, gay marriage and school prayer A culture war. Democrats: The Democratic Party is viewed as the party of labor, favoring economic redistribution via higher taxes, social welfare spending and regulation. Republicans: business and upper-income voters, who favor lower taxes, less Government spending and minimal economic regulation Moral issues such as abortion and gay marriages dominate economic self interest. This means low income families will vote for republicans even the demos serve their needs better because of moral convictions. 1) voters are polarized over moral issues: ex religious affiliation 2) moral issues have more salience or weight on voters then economic issues 3) Red and blue cartography: red voters vote on moral issues without regard for their economic issues or preferences *how the electoral divides on moral issues* Americans are not polarized on economic issues - these issues follow more of a bell curve January 20 : th Aldrich. Why parties form in previous articles and scholars views, parties formed because 1) Madison and jeffereson opposed hamiltons fiscal policies and needed help in congress to block them, thus they organized opposition in congres which eventually became the Jeffersonian republican party. 2) As a result, Hamiliton organized his Federalist supported to defeat them. = Both organize supporters= parties Aldrichs view: parties were formed because politicians realized that a stable coherent party apparatus would help them win more consistently. Political parties form because they enhance the electoral prospects of politicians and allow them to win more regularly and to govern longer. Collective action problem within the government: The problem of collective policymaking. parties in government consist of officeholders who have preferences. Thereofore, parties form because it is a convenient coalition shared preferences are important bases of political parties. Collective action is a public good not a private good. this means that one persons use of a public good ex lighthouse, is often impossible to avoid from consuming it. A lighthouse: jointness of supply.. if one persons uses the light, it doesnt take away from someone else using the same light. However, national defence is nonexcludable: if it protects one family, it is impossible for it to protect their neighbours as well. Collective action: governments all but invariably act collectively, such as voting to select reps or to pass legislation. Another problem with collective action is that both parties or players can say that they agree on something, but actually go against it, making one player look like the sucker to create an effective agreement is required to make a binding commitment. Social choice problems within the government - January 27 Unlimited Power of the Majority in the United States A Tocqueville - 1835 Tocqueville is worried about majority rule and its potential abuse in the American democratic system. The equality among all citizens discourages dissent and freedom of thought. Opinions other than that of the majority are scrutinized. Society is constructed by the will of the majority. To gain political power, it must be gained from the ruling majority. Therefore, conformity to the liking of the majority is necessary - therefore change is nearly impossible. Argument: American officials are mainly elected directly and for brief terms. However, for the power of the majority to be considered legitimate, it requires the sanction of time, which the American political system does not provide. Argument: When there are several large factions, the will of the majority may not be in actuality the will of the people as a whole. Yet the majority still holds power above all. The influences of the majority are evident in all different levels of government, which leads Tocqueville to compare the power of the majority to that of a monarchy in Europe. Due to this, Tocqueville asks when a party is wronged in the US, to whom can he apply for redress? He is criticizing the lack of support given to the minority in being able to gain considerable ground over the majority. The public force consists of the majority under arms, explains the vast influence of the majority. Weakness: Tocqueville criticizes the level of power held by the executive branch as being subjected to the caprices of the legislature and took away any potential influence that the flexibility of the executive branch is supposed to allow. The article was written in 1835, and since then, and especially since the new deal, it can be argued that the power of the executive branch has greatly increased - at some points dramatically. The Myth of the Vanishing Voter M McDonald S Popkin McDonald and Popkin attempt to nullify claims of the decrease in voter turnout since the end of the second World War and 1972 especially. They achieve this by arguing against current standards which are used to measure voter turnout. The authors are arguing against claims that even after the notable increase in education, the removal of Jim Crow laws and less restrictive registration, turnout rates still dropped. The authors also argue that the number of ineligible voters is increasing faster than the number of eligible voters, thus giving rise to the perception that voter turnout is decreasing. The VAP is criticized heavily in the article. The authors claim that the VAP (Voter-Age Population) includes ineligible and excludes some eligible voters from the calculation. The VAP includes non citizens, disenfranchised felons, mental incompetents, and people who do not meet residency requirements, none of whom are eligible to vote. Furthermore, the VAP excludes Americans outside of America and US military personnel. To counter this, they produce the VEP (Voter Eligible Population). The authors created the VEP by adjusting the VAP numbers using census data from the gove
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