Chapter 11 Notes: Political Parties and Political Action


I.                    The Two Party System

A.     Public Policy

1.      How policy will be developed affects who will be elected

2.      Political Parties aim to influence public policy

B.     A Political Party can be looked at

1.      As an organization

2.       The party’s relationship with the electorate

3.      the party’s role in government

C.     Common functions of a political party

1.      nominating candidates who can develop public policy

2.      running successful campaigns

3.      developing a positive image

4.      raising money

5.      articulating issues during the campaign so that the electorate can identify with one candidate

6.      coordinating in the government the policies they supported during the campaign

7.      If not elected, being a watchdog

II.                 History

A.     The Federalists v. The Democratic Republicans

1.      First election with two parties 1796.  John Adams defeated Jefferson

2.      With the help of Madison, Jefferson defeated Adams in the election of 1800. 

3.      In 1828, the Democratic Republicans spilt into the Whigs led by Clay and Webster and the Democrats led by Andrew Jackson. 

B.     Four Periods of Party Politics

1.      (1828- 1860)- Democrats Dominate

2.      (1860-1932)- Republican Era

3.      (1932-1968) – New Deal and Democrats

4.      (1968-present)- Divided Government

C.     Grand Old Party

1.      The Republican Party

2.      Abraham Lincoln the first Republican President

3.      Democrats were and older party

4.      The Republicans had the Whigs

5.      Populist Party- third Party

6.      Reform movement ended when the US entered WWI

D.     Party Realignment

1.      The shift in party loyalty occurred in 1932

2.      Roosevelt’s New Deal

3.      The growth of social programs became part of the Democratic Platform

E.      The Vietnam War

1.      Brought the Republicans back to power

2.       Have been unable to control Congress-divided government

3.      Rise of the Religious Right during Clinton’s term


III.               Third Parties

A.     Have played a major role in affecting elections

1.      Have little chance of actually winning the election

2.      Ideological, single-issue oriented, economically motivated, and personality driven.

B.     Populist Party

1.      Supported William Jennings Bryan’s free silver movement

2.      Their reforms included initiative, referendum, and recall were adopted.

C.     The Bull Moose Party

1.      Played political spoiler in 1912

2.      Faded after their presidential candidates were defeated

3.      similar to the fate of the Progressive Party and the Prohibition Party

D.     Modern Third Party

1.      Has revolved around a political leader who couldn’t get nominated within his own party

2.      Ross Perot- most well known

IV.              Party Dealignment

A.     The shift  to a more neutral and ideological view of party identification

B.     Example: shift of southern Democrats to the Republican Party because it’s considered more conservative

C.     Party Platform will show the ideological differences between the parties

V.                 Organization

A.     Hierarchical

B.     National Convention

1.      Publicizes the party’s position

2.      Highly scripted now days

3.      made up of a combination of state and national party leaders

4.      Chairperson

VI.              Future

A.     Voter turnout is down

B.     Unconventional participation- involves protest and civil disobedience

C.     Independents and moderates are on the rise.  Less people identify with one party

D.     Highly unlikely the two-party system will disappear