Exam 2 Study Guide

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POLS 207 1st Edition Exam 2 Study Guide: Lectures 8 - 14 Lecture 8 POLITICAL PARTIES Political Parties In a Nutshell:   3 Dimensions of Political Parties o 1) Party in the Government = all elected officials who identify with a party o 2) Party in the Electorate = all voters and supporters of a party o 3) Party as an Organization = the employees who work to further the cause of the party   The Responsible Party Model o 1) Parties should present clear policy choices and platforms to voters o 2) Voters should choose candidates based on the party policy and platform o 3) Parties thus should recruit candidates who agree with the party platform o 4) Parties should organize and direct candidate campaigns o 5) The winning party and candidate should carry out the platform once in office   Factors that weakened party control in the US o 1) Politics are more candidate centered due to reliance on mass media o 2) Decreased party identification, Increased number of independent voters  Rise of split ticket voting = pick different parties on voting day  Decline of straight ticket voting = vote completely for one party o 3) Candidates are now chosen through primaries by voters instead of party leaders at conventions o 4) Less patronage, Greater use of merit system  Patronage = winning party rewards supporters with jobs  Merit System = handing jobs out based on education, experience, skills, etc. o 5) Candidates can get support from PACs & Interest Groups rather than just parties   Big Flaws in the Responsible Party Model o 1) Parties do not present clear policy choices when trying to appeal to majority of voters o 2) Most voters do not vote based on platforms & issues, but based on the candidate o 3) Parties cannot discipline their members in legislative votes because legislators just need primary votes to get reelected   Party Competition in the States o Unimodal distribution = when majority of voters are in the middle between liberal and conservative, so parties try to be more moderate to appeal to most voters  Parties have little impact on public policy o Bimodal distribution = two peaks of voters, one peak more liberal and one more conservative, so greater distance between the two parties because they are appealing to different peaks  Parties have a greater impact on public policy since voters are looking for different policy   Role of Party Organizations in the States o Political Parties are actually decentralized organizations – exist at state & local level  Instead of 2 large parties, it is more like 50 state party organizations o Both parties do hold a national convention every 4 years to select presidential candidate Functions of State Party Elections  Structuring Elections – help narrow candidate choices  Candidate Recruitment – political parties help encourage leaders to run for office o Contested races = more than 1 party ...


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