What is a political party?
A group of people who seek to control government through winning of elections of public office
Identify two functions of political parties.
Nominate candidates, informing and activating supporters, people elected govern in partisan ways, act as a watchdog - scrutinize the other party
In what ways is American Government conducted on the basis of partisanship?
Elected officials tend to conduct business along with party lines in order to get re-elected.
Which party is in power in the nation? In California?
In what ways do political parties unify rather than divide the American people?
Within a given party they have to compromise and bring people with different ideas and backgrounds together to support one candidate and one platform
The party out of power serves an important function in American government. Explain that function.
They serve as watchdogs for the party in power
Briefly explain four reasons why the US has a 2-party system.
It srarted that way, it became a tradition that is hard to break, most elections in the US are in single-member districts where only one person can win,
How do the terms pluralistic and consensus both apply to American society?
They have many different culures, but they generally have a consensus agreement about government
What is a multiparty system?
More than 2 parties, like in Europe
Why do some people favor multiparty it for the US?
Broader more diverse representation, but they can lead to frequent changes in instability
Many factors tend to influence party choice. Name four.
Family voting patterns, Significant events like wars and depression, socioeconomic status (wealth), age, education level, residence
Why do single-issue parties tend to be short-lived?
The issue resolves and the party collapses
What are economic protest parties? Why are they formed in times of economic distress?
Most of the more important minor parties in our history have been of which type? Explain the effect of one such party.
Splinter party, they "spoil" the elections by pulling the votes away
Why is the innovator role a source of frustration to minor parties?
The start to gain visibility on their issues/platfor, then one of the other 2 major parties takes up those issues as his own
Minor parties usually are willing to take definite stands on controversial issues. How might voters react to this tendency?
What are the major causes of the decentralized nature of political parties?
Party out of power has no leader, local, state and federal offices of each party that are only loosely connected, nominating process divides parties into groups who support a certain candidate
What are the four main elements of major party organization at the national level?
National convention, National committee, Nantional chairperson, the congressional campaign committees
Describe how wards and precincts are part of the local party organization.
Ward is a unit is divided for the election of city council members, Precinct - the smallest unit of election administration.
What is split-ticket voting? How has its increase contributed to the weakened state of the two major parties?
What are the 2 major parties in the US?
Democrats and Republicans (GOP)
What is partisanship?
Identify and vote along party lines and platforms
What is a single-member district?
Only one person elected to office
What is a plurality?
Most votes in an election, not necessarily a majority
What is bipartisan?
Parties working together to compromise and move things forward
What is a pluralistic society?
Society made up of different cultures, ethnicity.
What is a consensus?
Basic agreement on the fundamentals of all American people
What is a coalition?
Alliance of 2 or more parties to form a government
What is an incumbant?
The person who currently holds office and is up for re-election
What is an electorate?
what are ideological parties?
Minor parties based on ideology or politics like communist party, socialist party, labor party
What are single issue parties?
Minor Parties who arise around a single issue
What are splinter parties?
Minor parties who arise from the democratic or republican parties
What straight ticket voting and split-ticket voting?
Straight - vote all one party; Split - multiple
T/F: A plurality is more than half the votes cast.
F - that is a majority
T/F: A ward is a unit into which cities are often divided for the election of city council members.
T/F: An ideological party arises over a particular issue or crisis and soon fades away.
F, that is a single-issue party
T/F: Partisanship means membership in one of the major parties.
F - no, it is strong support of the party and its stance on policies
What is the major function of a political party?
Which term better describes political parties in American politics: divisive or unifying? Why?
Divisive - Partisan politics get in the way of governing, especially in congress with passing legislations
Cite two examples that show why American government may be described as government by party.
You can only vote for 1 of 2 candidates that are selected by the parties for president
In what 2 ways does the American electoral system tend to promote a two-party system?
Single-member districts in most elelctions allow only one winner, so most don't vote for a minority candidate as they will "waste" their vote
How can the diversity of views represented in a multiparty system be seen as both a strength and a weakness?
Better representation and diversity of policies, but this leads to needing coalitions to be formed for a majority which are often unstable and result in frequent changes in polical leadership
How is the ideological consensus of the American electorate reflected in the membership of the major parties?
Briefly describe the 4 types of minor parties.
Ideological, Single-issue, Economic protest, Splinter
Historically, what have been the most important roles of the minor parties? Briefly explain one of these roles.
Spoiler role, innovators
Why is the party in power more cohesive than the opposition party?
They have a leader
Describe the role of the national chairperson.
Leads the national committee and directs the headquarter's and staff in Washington DC
List and explain four factors that have contributed to the present weakened state of the major parties.
More independents, more split-ticket voting, advances in technology that make it easier to campaign and educate without parties, more openness of issues and internal conflicts within the parties
Describe 2 long-term trends that have characterized the history of suffrage in the US.
Elimination of restrictions on who could vote and increasing federal control over voting
Describe 5 distinct stages in the growth of the American electorate
1) No religious restriction, no property ownership requirement or tax requirement; 2) 15th amendment - no color or race restriction; 3) The 19th amendment - no gender restriction; 4) 1960's civil rights and voter rights increased African american access to voting; 5) 26th amendment - 18 years of age
Who exercises the franchise?
What restrictions does the Constitution place on the States in setting suffrage qualifications?
1) Anyone who votes in a national election should be able to vote in a local election; 2) no race restriction; 3) no gender restriction; 4) no poll tax; 5) 18 year olds can vote
What arguments pushed the right of 18 year olds to vote?
They were able to be drafted in the military so they should be able to vote.
Why do you think the Federal Government took more and more control over the setting of voter qualifications? Why couldn't the States have done this?
What are the Universal requirements of Voting?
Citezen of the US, residence for a certain period of time, 18 years old
For what reasons do most States require voter registration?
Identifies eligible voters and prevents fraud
What is the Motor Voter Law? What is its purpose?
Registration at the DMV and other public offices in order to increase number of registered voters
Why do election officials keep poll books? Why is it a good idea to purge them every few years?
To make sure only registered voters vote. Get rid of those who are not in that precinct any more
How was the poll tax used as a voting qualification?
Only certain people could afford the tax
Do you think you need to read to be a well informed voter today? Back 100 years ago?
No you can get information on the TV or radio without reading.
What is gerrymandering? What other devices were used to disenfranchise African Americans?
Drawing electoral lines to limit voting strength of a group or party. Poll tax, literacy requirement, violence, threatening them if they registered to vote
What part do injunctions play in the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
That was the main way that the new laws were enforced to make Southern leaders comply with them.
What is preclearance?
pre-approval of local election laws for states with <50% voter turnout
Identify the major civil rights laws enacted since the 1950's. Describe voting rights provisions in these laws.
Civil Rights act of 1957 - set up Civil Rights Commission; Civil Rights act of 1960 - set up federal voting referees; Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Outlawed racial discrimination in several forms incluing jobs; Voting Rights Act of 1965 - Got rid of literacy tests and poll taxes forever in all elections including local ones
How does a person's sense of political efficacy affect his or her voting behavior?
If they don't think their vote matters, they will be less likely to vote
What is the gender gap?
Women are more likely to vote than men
How are party identification and straight-ticket voting related?
Party identifiers are more likely to vote straight-ticket
List 3 sociological factors that affect voting behavior.
Income and occupation; education; gender; religion and ethnicity; geography; family
What is the electorate?
Population of eligible voters
What is political socialization?
How people get their political attitudes and behaviors
What is an independent voter?
Does not identify with any party
Suffrage and _____ mean approximately the same thing.
A(n) _____ is a court order that can be used to compel a public official to carry out a law.
Some people do not have a sense of ______ and therefore do not bother to vote.
Voters with a strong allegiance to a party often engage in ______when they go to the polls.
What 3 factors to all 50 states use to set voter qualifications?
Citizenship, residency, and age
Name 2 reasons why States adopted residence requirements.
To allow some time to become familiar with the candidates and the issues in a given area. To prevent voters from outside the area who were bribed from coming in to vote
How did Congress require States to ease their registration requirements in 1993?
The Motor Votor Act - allowed people to register to vote when they got their drivers liscence, to register by mail, and to make registration forms available in local social service offices.
What was the purpose of the 15th amendment? Name 3 ways some Southern states tried to circumvent it.
Lifted restriction by race. Still had literacy tests, poll taxes, and they were threatened when they tried to register or at the polls when they tried to vote.
To whom does the Civil Rights Commission report the findings?
Congress and the president
How did Martin Luther King, Jr's voter registration drive affect the passage of national civil rights legislation?
His drive and marches, led to violence by the white leaders which was televised and resulted in quick laws developed by Lyndon Johnson
What are the 2 key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Eliminated poll taxes and literacy tests
What is ballot fatigue?
Too many decisions on one ballot, people are less likely to vote farther down on the ballot
Why is nomination so important in the electoral process?
It narrows down to 2 candidates that everyone can pick from
Explain the difference between a closed and open primary
Closed primary - only party members can participate; Open primary - all voters can participate
What is a non-partisan election?
Election where the candidates are not identified by party (like school board, local offices)
What is the purpose of absentee voting?
To allow voters who are disabled or have difficulty getting to the polls a chance to vote.
What is a ballot?
The device by which voters register their choices in an election.
What is a polling place?
The place where voters who live in a certain precinct go to vote.
What are Political Action Committees (PACs)
They are the political arms of special interest groups and other organizations who have a stake in politics
What is a subsidy? What level election are campaign subsidies most important?
Funding from the government. Presedential
How did soft money create a loophole in federal election-finance law?
Before 2002, there were limits of hard money (cash) contributions but not on soft money - funds given to party organizations for "party-building activities" like candidate recruitment, voter registration drives, etc.
How do hard money and soft money differ?
Hard money is contributions specifically to elect candidates for congress and the presidency which has limits (is regulated). Soft money is for "party-building" activities and is unregulated (no limits)
cite two examples that show why American government may be described as government by party.
Where voters go to cast their ballots.
In a _____, voters must choose between the 2 top finishers in an earlier primary election.
Because of the _____, candidates can benefit from the popularity of another candidate on the ballot from their party.
_____ is given to State and local party organizations for "party-building activities"
One commonly heard criticism of the ______ primary is that it encourages "raiding"
Each _____ has one polling place
What are the 5 broad categories that describe how nominations are made?
Self-announcement, caucus, convention, direct primary, and petition
At which level is the convntion still a major nominating device in American politics?
Some of the states
What is the overall purpose and importance of election law in the American political process?
It ensures that elections are free, honest, and accurate.
To what extent is the Federal Government Involved in the regulation of elections? Give at least 3 examples of federal laws that regulate elections.
Congress chooses the date, time and place of federal elections, Civil Rights acts of 1957 and 60, Voting Rights Act of 1965; Help America Vote Act of 2002
What is the difference between the office-group ballot and the party column ballot?
Office group groups by office, while the party column separates the party's to make straight-ticket voting easier
Why did Congress force the States to abandon the use of punch card ballots?
Many are not punched all the way through and cannot be read by a computer so are thrown out
How important is money in the election process?
It is key as campaigns requires millions of dollars
Name 5 types of private donors to campaigns.
Small contributors ($5-$10 or so); Large individuals or families (much larger donations); The candidates themselves; PACs; temporary organizations for fundraising
What was the purpose of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002?
To ban soft-money contributions to the political parties
What is a medium?
A means of communication
What are the 4 major mass media that are important in politics?
Television, newspapers/magazines, radio, and the internet
What limits are there on the media's influence?
Very few people follow politics in the news; they only read and listen to what they want and what relates to their party; and most content is not very in-depth, but just superficial.
What is public policy?
Areas of interest to the government that require policy
List and describe 3 main areas in which political parties and interest groups differ.
1) Parties nominate candidates, interest groups don't; 2) Parties are interested winning elections and controlling government, interest groups are interested in influencing government policies; 3) Parties are interested in the whole range of public affairs while interest groups usually focus on one issue or area.
How do interest groups stimulate interest in public affairs?
They develop and promote policies they like and oppose policies that they see as threats to their interest.
Name at least 3 additional funcitons of interest groups.
They provide useful specialized and detailed information to the government on their interest area; They encourage political participation in like minded people; They act as watch dogs - checks and balances to assure performance of those in office.
Why are interest groups often criticized?
Some push an agenda that is not in the best interest of Americans, some have too much influence; they do not necessarily represent the views of all the people for whom they claim to speak
What are the 4 major types of economic based interest groups?
1) Business groups; 2) Labor groups; 3) Agricultural Groups; Professional groups
What reasons other than economic ones are interest groups formed?
Groups that promote causes, or the welfare of certain groups of individuals, or religious organizations
What is a public interest group?
An interest group that works for the good of all people and not for a small group
What are the 3 reasons interest groups reach out to the public?
1) Give the public information that it thinks people should have; 2) To build a positive image for the group: 3) To promote a particular public policy
Why do interest groups use propaganda?
To persuade the public to believe in their cause.
Why to interest groups try to influence political parties?
Because most of the government's policy-making machinery is organized by political parties
What is a single interest group?
PACs that focus all their efforts on one issue like health care or abortion
How is lobbying used to influence public policy?
They interact directly with the congressmen to persuade them to agree with their side of the issuemnm
The events and issues of concern to all the people in a society.
PACs devoted to one issue
A type of interest group that works for the pubic good
public interest group
The means by which group pressures are brought to bear on all aspects of the policy-making process
Of or from the common people, the average voters
Interest groups exist for the purpose of influencing _______.
Why are interest groups sometimes called "pressure groups" or "special interests?"
They exist to pressure/persuade policy
At what levels of government can you find interest groups operating?
In what ways are interest groups both similar to and different from political parties?
They both are groups of people united for a political cause; parties can nominate; parties worry about the "who" - the candidate, and special interest groups worry about the "what" - policy/issues and platform.
How do interest groups add an element of checks and balances to the polical process?
They analyze performance on there given issue
Summarize the debate over the role interest groups play in the American politics.
They are self-serving, but they also have benefits in educating people on public affairs issues, watchdog of the government, and provide specialized information to the government
Why is the US calld "a nation of joiners"?
We have thousands of organizations that we join readily
What is the difference between private and public-interest groups?
Private has the interest of the specific group, while public has the interest of all people in society
What are the goals of propaganda?
To persuade, convince, brainwash
To what extent are most interest groups concerned about elections?
Most interest groups focus on the public policy-making process. The exception to that are the single interest groups who support or oppose candidates on the basis of the stand on that one issue.
What stage of policymaking are lobbyists involved?
The Lobbying Discolsure Act requires registration by all those individuals and organizations that do what?
Seek to influence members of Congress, their staffers, or any policy-maker in the executive branch from the top down
Rep/Dem - Favor strong military and defense spending
Rep/Dem - Taxes increase % with income
Rep/Dem - National Health Care
Rep/Dem - Reduced taxes on small business
Rep/Dem - Tougher laws on industrial pollution
Rep/Dem - More oil Drilling in the US and offshore
Rep/Dem - Increased social welfare programs - homeless, jobless, etc
Rep/Dem - Aid to the poor should come from charities, not government
Rep/Dem - Support free trade with Mexico
Rep/Dem - Stop outsourcing jobs to other countries
Rep/Dem - Cut taxes despite the deficit
Rep/Dem - Abortion illegal
Rep/Dem - Increased money for education
Rep/Dem - Vouchers to send kids to private schools
Rep/Dem - Family leave for people who need to deal with health issues
Rep/Dem - CEO of a company
Rep/Dem - Coal Miner
Rep/Dem - Farmer with lots of land
Rep/Dem - Resident of a big city
Rep/Dem - Resident of a small town
Rep/Dem - Older retired person
Rep/Dem - Member of a minority group (African Americans or Latinos)
Rep/Dem - Steel Worker
Rep/Dem - Women
Where does the word idiot come from?
Greek - People who didn't vote or partake in public life
What percentage on average of eligible voters have voted in the presidential election? In the off year elections?
What are non-voting voters
Voters who vote for one office, but not another
Who cannot vote?
Resident aliens, Mentally institutionalized, imprisoned
Compared to voters, non-voters are more likely to be_______
<35, male, unskilled, unmarried
What is political efficacy?
The amount of impact people think they have in politics
Psychological factors of voting preference
Pariy identification (most important long term) and Candidates and their stance on issues(short term)
Who determines suffrage?
What is the size of the American electorate today?
What 2 bases do states grant citizenship?
birthright and naturalization
Can states let non-citizens vote?
yes, if they chose to (nothing in the constitution)
What was the Court's opinion of Dunn v Blumstein? What part of the constitution did they use to support their ruling?
They said that Tennessee's one year in the state and 90 days in the county residency requirement was unconstitutional (too long). They used the 14th amendment
Why did States establish residence requirements?
So that people from outside the area could not come in and vote and that people would know the issues of the area
What was the Court's opinion of Dunn v Blumstein? What part of the constitution did they use to support their ruling?