Terms in this set (77)
Types of political participation and trends
Signing a petition
Volunteering for campaigns
62% of American adults get their news and political information on social media
18-49 year olds are predominantly using social media
Who participates based on socioeconomic status, age, race, education
In the past, states have restricted suffrage towards certain groups
Race: Poll taxes, land ownership requirements, IQ tests, and literacy tests that targeted African Americans and immigrants as well as poor, uneducated Whites.
Gender: Women gain the right to vote through the 19th Amendment (1920)
Age: 26th Amendment (1971) lowers the voting age from 21 to 18.
U.S. compared to other countries in voting turnout
Voter registration and barriers to voting
Voter registration is required ahead of time in most states
Voter ID Laws
Barriers to Voting
Felons and mentally incompetent may be disenfranchised by law in some states
Weekday elections are difficult for working people with inflexible schedules
The Motor Voter Act of 1993 and its impact on voter registration
The Motor-Voter Act (1993): required state governments to offer voter registration opportunities to any eligible person who applies for or renews a driver's license
The Motor Voter Act made it easier to register but it has not increased voter turnout.
Many states are enacting same-day registration and early voting to give people more opportunities to vote
Online voter registration in 31 states + D.C. (not Arkansas)
activities designed to influence government's actions
participation that involves assembling crowds to confront a government or other official organization
the belief you can influence what the government does.
an attitude of indifference; is the opposite of efficacy
the right to vote, also called franchise
the percentage of eligible individuals who actually vote
Socioeconomic status (SES)
status in society based on level of education, income, and occupational prestige
efforts of candidates and their supporters to win backing of donors, activists, and voters in quest for political office.
congressional elections that do not coincide with presidential-election (AKA off-year election)
elections held to select a party's candidate for the general election
regularly scheduled election involving most districts in the nation/state
a representative who votes according to the preferences of his/her state
the presidential electors from each state who meet after the general election to cast ballots for president and vice president.
Function of campaigns and elections in the US
Get to know the candidates
Give citizens/groups a voice
Peaceful transfer of power and source of accountability
Determine confidence in government
Legitimize the government
The characteristics of modern day elections
Require money, media attention, and momentum to win
Primaries and caucuses
Plurality voting: candidates only need to win the most votes, not necessarily a majority of 50+1%
Winner-take-all system: receive all of the delegates for a state if they win at least a majority of the vote in that state
The nomination stage
A primary is used to select a party's candidates for elective offices.
Primary competition begins when candidates announce their going to run.
Actual voting begins in Iowa or New Hampshire in January or February of Election Year, followed by the rest of the states until June or July.
States hold *
*, Open, and Blanket primaries.
General election - voters make the final selection of who will fill the various elected offices.
In the presidential race, kicks off with conventions in late summer.
Three televised debates in September/October.
Election is on Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Types of primary contests held by states
When Americans go to the polls on Election Day, they are not voting directly for Presidential candidates
They are instead choosing among slates of electors selected by each party of the state
These electors form the Electoral College and ultimately select the president and vice president
With 538 electors, a candidate must garner a minimum of 270 to win.
Various avenues of political spending
Campaign finance- money contributed to fund election activities.
Hard Money - contributed directly to a political candidate; strict spending limits
Soft Money- contributed to a political party for general funds (not direct candidate support); no limits if used for the correct purpose
Dark Money - contributed to politically active nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups; unlimited and undisclosed
Political Action Committee (PAC): a private group that raises and distributes funds for use in election campaigns
candidate committee (i.e. Hillary for America)
Party committee (i.e. Republican National Committee)
Political Action Committee (PAC)
Connected PACs (hard and soft money): connected to labor or corporate groups
Independent PACs (soft money): often ideological
Super-PACs (dark money): advocate for or against federal candidates
Differences between congressional and presidential elections
Congressional elections are regional
Presidential elections are national
House races are less competitive than presidential or Senate races. The Senate races are less competitive than the presidential race
Lower voter turnout in congressional races
Presidential coat-tail effects on congressional races
Members of Congress can also communicate more directly with constituents
Congressional candidates can deny responsibility for problems of government
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act (1883)
banned asking civil service (AKA government) employees for political contributions.
Tillman Act (1907)
banned corporations and banks from making direct contributions to federal candidates.
Smith-Connally Act (1945) and Taft-Hartley Act (1947)
extended the contribution ban to labor unions
The Federal Election Campaign Reform Act (1974)
Set limits on direct donations (hard money) and created the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
Set caps on expenditures and ban on use of personal wealth
Required full disclosure of donors
Established presidential matching funds system
Buckely v. Valeo (1976)
Court banned caps on total campaign spending and on use of candidate's personal wealth.
Allowed for independent expenditures (soft money).
Created "magic words" test to determine soft money ads.
Citizens United v. U.S. (2010)
Court overturned limits on outside groups spending and the ban on corporate donations. Led to Super-PACs as we know them now.
How voters decide - partisanship, issues, the candidates
Issues and Policy Preferences
Role of political parties
Nominate candidates - primaries and caucuses
General Election and Mobilizing voters
Determine organization and leadership of Congress
Influence President's policy agenda
organized groups attempting to influence the government by electing their members to public office.
identification with or support of a particular party or cause
a political system in which only two parties have a realistic opportunity to compete effectively for control
the process by which large numbers of people are organized for a political activity
strong, often corrupt late 19th-early 20th century urban political-party organizations
an individual voter's psychological ties to one party or another
a movement away from the major political parties; a decline in partisan attachment
when the Presidency is controlled by one party while the opposing party controls one or both houses of Congress
the division between the two major parties on most policy issues, with members of each party unified around their party's positions with little crossover
Parties as Organizations
Host the National Convention and set rules
Establish a Party Platform which guides the party's philosophy, principles, and positions on issues
Run National Committee which fundraises and supports Party candidates through soft money
State and local party organizations
Critical Realigning Elections
Electoral Realignment is the point in history when a new party supplants the ruling party, becoming in turn the dominant political force in the US.
1860 - the country realigned by region based on racial issues: North vs. South, with Republicans coming to power under Lincoln and the Whig party collapses.
1896 - Republicans take control of the government and dominate for much of the time between 1896-1932. Economically based East vs. West split.
1932 - The issues surrounding the Great Depression created New Deal coalition, where farmers, urban workers, northern blacks, southern whites, and Jewish voters supported Democrats. Control until Nixon's election in 1968.
Now, we are in a time of dealignment
Golden Era of Political Parties
National Parties begin to hold National Conventions to select the nominee in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Political machines to control the nominating process
Delegates controlled by local "party bosses"
Delegates would "wheel and deal" with each other
In short, parties took turns controlling the government and did not allow third parties to have an influence
Progressive era reforms
Reformers in early 20th century push for
End to "smoke-filled room" decision-making controlled by party bosses
Introduce State-held primaries where voters decide on party nominees
Secret ballot introduced in many states
Direct election of Senators - 17th Amendment
Events in 1968 & the DNC
What was going on?
LBJ withdraws from re-election race in March
MLK, Jr. murdered in April
RFK murdered in June
VP Humphrey wins the nomination in back-room deal
"All Hell breaks loose" at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago
McGovern-Fraser reforms in the 1970s & consequences of reforms
McGovern-Fraser reforms in the 1970s (adopted by Democratic Party).
Party delegate selection open to the public via primary
Party delegates tied to popular vote
This begins the modern election cycle we have today
Frontrunners almost always win...
They receive most of the media attention
They raise most of the money
"Bandwagon" effect still occurs
Most nominations wrapped up by end of March of an election year, even though the party convention isn't held until late Summer
Attitude (or opinion)
a specific preference on a particular issue
the collective opinion of many people on some issue, problem, etc. especially as a guide to action or decision, or the like.
A cohesive set of values and beliefs that form a general philosophy about government.
The induction into the values and beliefs of a political culture or system.
Measuring public opinion
Polls/surveys use samples of the population.
Pollsters are interested in direction and strength (saliency) of public's opinion and what shaped it and level of knowledge on the topic.
Probability Sampling: a representative sample is when every individual in the population has an equal probability if being selected as a respondent
The agents of political socialization
Values (or beliefs) form a person's
opinion about politics and policy.
They are shaped by:
School & Peers
Online social networks
The problems with polling
Only snapshots of opinions
Questions aren't properly worded
Social desirability effect: respondents report answers they think are socially acceptable
Push polling: questions are designed to shape opinion
Bandwagon effect: shift in support for the front-running candidate
Illusion of saliency
Selection bias: sample under or
over-represents some opinions
Example: Chicago News Tribune, 1948
"DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN"
print and digital forms of communication (television, newspapers, radio, Internet)
the ownership and control of the media by a few large corporations
the power of the media to bring public attention to particular issues and problems
the power of the media to influence how events and issues are interpreted
the process of preparing the public to bring specific criteria to mind when evaluating a politician or issue
Government regulation of the media, the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Loosened federal restrictions of media ownership
Regulated content in the internet (later struck-down by SCOTUS)
Allowed for consolidation of the media industry
The functions & influence of the media
Reporting the news
Identifying public problems
Socializing new generations
Providing a political forum
Agenda setting and selection bias
Social Media in the 2016 election
Ownership of the media in the US
Media monopolies - 90% of the media companies in the U.S. are owned by the following:
The News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch)
Has led to growing distrust of the mainstream media due to perceived bias and conflict of interest
Questions the idea of the media as a "marketplace of ideas"
Traditional vs. New Media
Broadcast media: television, radio that transmit audio and/or video content
Social media is becoming a place for learning about politics and a primary source for news
Has impacted political activism, campaign mobilization, voter mobilization, & public opinion
Niche journalism: devoted to a targeted population of readers/viewers based on content or ideology
Examples: Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Gawker, the Drudge Report, Breitbart
Citizen journalism: ordinary citizens reporting, often as eyewitnesses
Interest groups and pluralism
The ideal pluralism allows interests to be free to compete with each other for governmental influence.
Major criticism is those with greater financial resources usually control the system
Theories on interest groups
Group Theory of Politics:
Groups provide a key link between people and the government
Groups compete against one another for government attention
No one group is likely to become too dominant
Groups usually play by the "rules of the game"
Groups weak in resources can use another group's
The different types of interest groups
Labor & Business and ex. unions, PACS
Consumer and Public Interests
Mancur Olsen's Law of Large Groups and free-rider problem
Mancur Olsen's Law of Large Groups: "the larger the group the more likely it will fall short of its goals"
Overall strategy of interest groups
Direct tactics- lobbying, testifying before Congress, help draft policy, and fund campaigns.
Indirect tactics- advertising, demonstrations and ratings systems
The drawbacks of the interest groups system
Some groups have more resources than other groups.
Hard to achieve the "ideal pluralism"
Groups are working hard to "capture" government officials and form "iron triangles"
individuals who organize to influence the government's programs and policies
the idea that all interests are and should be free to compete for influence in the government
society is divided along class lines; the group with power is those with the most resources
benefits sought by groups that are broadly available and cannot be denied to non-members
those who enjoy benefits but did not participate in acquiring or providing them
when organized interests seek to influence the passage of legislation by exerting direct pressure on government officials