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TAMU POLS 315 - Missing Notes Exam 1

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Why are parties so common?• "contagion" explanations◦ Spreads easily◦ "copy cat" theory▪ Not competitive system▪ Ex. Iran Shaw allowed multiple political parties under pressure of the Western powers. His party always win◦ Gentle coercion theory▪ Colonies▪ Made a requirement by colonial parents in order for independence, to see if they would be able to govern themsekves• Functional explanation◦ Always have functions where ever you find a party▪ Educate▪ Articulate▪ Demands are articulated▪ Communicate demands to the govt from people of the party, one demand▪ Parties in Europe that can be narrow and small▪ Aggregate▪ Demands that are brought together from people with different kinds of demands and placed into one party▪ Multiple demands towards party▪ Democratic party▪ Hard for these parties to articulate because so large▪ Help recruit/select gov'tal leaders▪ America has competitive elections, USSR had plebacy electionsyes/no electionsTeam three• Problems with the US party system◦ Compromise - none in a two party system (but more in coalitions of a multi party system)◦ Minority representation - less in two party system than Multi party system◦ Winner takes all - as much as 1/2 the population are left out◦ Stalemate - Multi party system allows for more compromise and getting things done efficiently• Best things if the US party system◦ Consolidation of ideas - aggregate well◦ Voter education - educate voters, mass media play a role more now than parties◦ Adaptability (parties can be molded to what people want - simply to govern between two parties; not much "alliance") easier to get things done with two parties... Pull people together, highly aggregated◦ Stability - more stability in a two party systemWhich is better: 2 party or multi party system?1. Representation (multi-party) lots of different issues2. Compromise (either)3. Simplify for voters (two-party)4. Majority government (for accountability) (two-party)5. Continuity/coherence of policy (two-party)How to count parties• Count very small parties?• Count only parties in Congress?• Count only parties with "Coalition potential"?◦ Coalition potential = some seats + ideological acceptability.• Count also parties with black mail potential◦ Blackmail potential = some seats (but not ideology acceptability) + it'ssupport is necessary to maintain a minority government.◦ Progress party in Norway• Should parties with same percent of votes/seats be counted the same in all types of party systems?◦ Arend Lijphart's effective # of parties▪ 1/(.25+.25)=1/(.5)=


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