[POL 2] - Midterm Exam Guide - Everything you need to know! (67 pages long)

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POL 2
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Sep 22 2016
INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS
HOW TO COMPARE POLITICAL SYSTEMS ACROSS MANY COUNTRIES
- Classify countries into democracies and non-democracies (Authoritarian Regimes)
- All Democracies share some basic characteristics
- Freedom (Speech, Press, Assembly)
- Checks and Balances
- Let govt. Institutions be divided and arranged “That each may be a check on the other” (James Madison,
Federalist Papers)
- Most important is the check on the executive (more balanced country)
- Democratization -- A Process of Acquiring the Characteristics of Democracy
- Creation of the Institutional Requirements of Representative govt.: Checks & Balances
- Competitive elections = Extension to entire pop. of the right to vote in open and competitive elections
*Competitive elections ensured w/ checks and balances
Would democracy decline if the support for economical ?? declined
How did a country transform into a democracy from a single party state? (Poland - success)
MEASURING DEMOCRACY
1. Simple Yes/No (‘Dichotomous’ Measure)
a. Most common
i. Look at the ?? of competitive elections
2. Scale of more/less democracy. One country may be ‘very’ democratic while another is only ‘partially’ democratic
a. Freedom House measures ‘freedom’ around the world
i. Uses the criteria of freedom of human rights around the world
1. Ranges from 1 to 7 (1=most free)
2. Strong correlation between freedom & democracy (U.S.)
b. Polity IV Democracy-Autocracy score
i. Polity codes level of democracy based on governing institutions
ii. Is there an institution that can constrain the executive
iii. KEY: A Legislature that can constrain an executive
iv. Finding: The most important component of the polity score is that which captures constraints on the
executive
v. Ranges from -10 to 10 (10=Fully Democratic, -10=Fully Autocratic)
AMERICAN CONSTITUTION: INSTITUTIONAL CHECKS AND BALANCES
- Executive(Presidency) & Legislature(House and Senate) are to check/limit the power of the other
- Including, but not limited to: Judiciary and Federal structure of country itself
Ex. Russia. An unbalanced system. Kind of a failure of transition to democracy
- Putin, abused executive power
- Control of the media=country of the country
- 4 from freedom house and a 1 from polity
- Elections, controlled press
Ex. China (Authoritarian System)
- the Communist Party is in charge of the policies
- No public input
WHY STUDY DEMOCRACY?
- Democratization can succeed or fail
- Causes of success vs. failure help us understand the req. Of democracy
- After the post-cold war triumph of democracy, since the Iraq war and the global financial crisis, we have seen a
decline in freedom and democracy
- Will democracy as a system of govt. Survive globalization?
- Is it still the ‘best’ system?
- U.S.A. (from an article)
- People around the world does not see the usa as the most respected democratic country anymore
- Gridlock. Having trouble coping w/ globalization and a multi-polar world
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- Russia
- Partial democracy
→ Rise of the far right
- China
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATURE IS MOST DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC OF ANY
DEMOCRACY
3 INSTITUTIONAL “MODELS” OF DEMOCRACY
- 2 Basic Models:
- Presidential (U.S. ~200 years)
- Evolved from the parliamentary system
- Nation District State (Based on votes)
Cabinet ← President House Senate
- Gerrymandering: drawing state/district boundaries that help your party
- Parliamentary (Britain ~100 years)
- One national vote to Parliament
- Constitutional Court, no Supreme Court
→ Parliament is the final arbiter
- Parliament = Legislature
- House of Commons
- elected
- House of Lords
- appointed?
- Vote
Parliament = House of Commons (650) House of Lords (784)
Cabinet and Prime Minister (David Cameron)
- Combination of the 2 basic models:
- ‘Semi-Presidential’ or Mixed presidential/parliamentary (France ~50 years)
- Created to fix the problems of France’s old parliamentary system
- What most of the world has adopted
- Countries have come to understand the benefits of the parliamentary system, but would like a
powerful figurehead (Lead a Revolution, Opposition, etc.)
CHECKS AND BALANCES IN U.S. → MULTIPLE VETO PLAYERS:
- Veto Player: Institution or Political Party whose agreement is necessary to pass laws
- Ex. president, democratic & republican party
- Law must pass in both House and Senate
- President must sign the law (not ‘veto’ it)
- All 3 institutions must support the law for it to pass
- Each of these institutions has veto power
FOR A LAW TO PASS: 3 INSTITUTIONS W/ VETO POWER && 3 INSTITUTIONAL VETO POINTS BUT ONLY 2 PARTISAN
VETO PLAYERS
Partisan of Institutions, we count 2 veto players
→ Each institution controlled by a different party: 3 total veto players
HOUSE
SENATE
PRESIDENT
218 YEARS
51 YEARS
1 YEAR
REPUBLICAN MAJORITY
REPUBLICAN MAJORITY
DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Very Representative of the Nation
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