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Political Parties Final Exam
Terms in this set (63)
In Chapter 1, Brewer and Maisel present three different figures showing national electoral competition in the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries. From these three figures, Brewer and Maisel conclude that:
there is a clear pattern of competition between two major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, for control of the House, Senate, and presidency.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 1, political scientist V. O. Key described American political parties as:
consisting of three distinct manifestations: party in the electorate, party organization, and party in government.
As we noted in class, in a country with a proportional representation (PR) electoral system:
the proportion of seats in the legislature that a party gets is roughly proportional to the percentage of vote received in the election.
In class we discussed "Duverger's Law." Duverger's law states that countries which have plurality electoral systems and single-member districts:
often have only two major political parties because third parties have a difficult time winning seats.
As we discussed in class, the earliest political parties:
began as elite caucuses as like-minded members of Congress joined together to either support or oppose the policies proposed by Alexander Hamilton.
As we discussed in class, since the 1960s the major American political parties can best be described in organizational terms as:
service parties because they seek to provide a range of services to their candidates to make them more competitive in elections.
As we discussed in class, the concept of "realignment" in realignment theory refers to:
a change from one party system to a new party system.
As we discussed in class, the difference between a "secular" realignment and a "critical" election is that:
a secular realignment takes place over a series of elections.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 2, the Progressive movement:
resulted in important reforms such as the use of the Australian ballot, direct primaries, and initiative elections that helped to weaken political party organizations in America.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 2, the idea of a "sixth party system":
is the subject of disagreement among political scientists although most scholars agree that the realignment of the South from a Democratic to Republican stronghold, the rise of cultural issues, and the resurgence of individual partisanship are important changes affecting competition between the major parties.
As we discussed in class, the contemporary Republican and the Democratic parties:
have similar structures because both have national committee organizations that are composed largely of state party representation.
In class we discussed the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee and noted that after a presidential election it is customary for the party that won the presidency to:
select a national party chair supported by the new president.
As Brewer and Maisel note in Chapter 2, state party organizations:
became stronger since the 1960s with the creation of permanent party headquarters and increased budgets in most states.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 3, the size of the American electorate has increased over time. One notable change in the size of the American electorate occurred with the ratification of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution in 1971 which:
made 18 years of age the minimum voting age for all elections.
In Chapter 3, Brewer and Maisel discuss the book The American Voter (1960). According to Brewer and Maisel, this book presents:
a relatively unflattering portrait of American voters as not highly sophisticated in making their voting decisions which led to criticism by V. O. Key and other scholars.
As we saw in class using data from recent presidential elections, the strength of an individual's partisan identification:
increases the likelihood that a person will turnout to vote and will vote for the candidate of the party that person identifies with.
As we discussed in class, according to the "Michigan model" individual vote choice is primarily a function of:
partisan identification, candidate image, and issue positions.
In Chapter 4, Brewer and Maisel discuss the use of group ratings which are
a tactic that interest groups use to try to influence legislators by identifying key bills and reporting whether the legislator voted in accordance with the group's view on the bill.
In Chapter 4, Brewer and Maisel discuss issue advocacy advertisements which are:
ads created by interest groups that advocate for or against a particular issue position rather than for or against a particular candidate.
As we discussed in class, when it comes to how influential certain interest groups are in national politics:
Democrats tend to regard labor unions as more influential while Republicans tend to see ideological groups, such as Americans for Tax Reform, as more influential.
As Brewer and Maisel note in Chapter 5, the first federal legislation related to campaign finance was the Tillman Act of 1907 that:
prohibited corporations and banks from contributing money to candidates for federal office.
As we discussed in class, the Federal Election Campaign Act (1971) and the amendments to the law in 1974 were particularly important because they:
limited individual contributions in federal elections and created the Federal Election Commission to monitor and enforce the provisions of the FECA.
As we discussed in class, the Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) was important because it:
ruled that it was acceptable for Congress to limit how much individual citizens could donate to a candidate but struck down limits on how much a candidate could spend.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 5, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BRCA), also known as McCain-Feingold:
was passed in 2002 after a seven year battle to change the campaign finance system.
As we noted in class, the term "super PAC" refers to:
an independent expenditure committee that can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors but cannot legally coordinate its spending with candidates for federal office.
As Brewer and Maisel show clearly in Chapter 5, the total amount of campaign contributions made by PACs between 1974 and 2014:
increased steadily from less than $50 million to more than $400 million.
As we discussed in class, the post Citizens United period of campaign finance regulation is characterized by:
an increase in spending by outside groups and a decline in how much spending is disclosed to the FEC.
As we discussed in class, one reasonable conclusion about campaign finance in contemporary US elections is:
being able to raise money is important to campaigns but raising the most money in a campaign does not guarantee winning the election.
As we discussed in class, the creation of primary election laws in states:
is an important consequence of Progressive era reforms that were intended to weaken the power of political parties.
As Brewer and Maisel discussion in Chapter 6, the "top two" system of primary elections used in California and Washington:
came about after California passed a citizen initiative that created a blanket primary which was challenged in the courts by state political parties and ultimately resulted in the Supreme Court ruling that a blanket primary violated the rights of state political parties.
As Brewer and Maisel note in Chapter 6, elected officials in states with open primaries are often concerned with "crossover voting" or "strategic voting":
even though there are almost no documented examples of this type of voting occurring.
As Brewer and Maisel note in Chapter 6, a possible alternative to the plurality decision rule for determining the winner of an election is:
the single transferable vote or instant runoff election in which voters provide a rank ordering of the candidates on the ballot.
As we discussed in class, the system historically used in Utah to nominate candidates:
allowed parties to select nominees through a caucus-convention system first, only using a direct primary if no candidate got at least 60% of the delegate vote.
As we discussed in class, Utah has recently seen a change to its nomination method because:
the passage of Senate Bill 54 in 2014 allowed candidates to chose whether to use the traditional nomination system or to get on the direct primary ballot by collecting signatures.
In Chapter 7, Brewer and Maisel discuss old style versus new style campaigning and note that:
in old style campaigning candidates represented their political parties whereas in the new style candidates use their own personal campaign organization to promote their own individual image, but most campaigns continue to have elements of both old and new styles.
In Chapter 7, Brewer and Maisel note that when it comes to campaigning:
state political parties tend to play a greater role in less prominent (or down ballot) races while candidates for more prominent offices, such as governor or US Senator, often use their personal campaign organization rather than rely on the party organization in the campaign.
In class we examined the changes in party control of state legislatures over the last 20 years (1997-2018). According to the data in this figure:
Republicans have won control of more state legislatures since the 2010 midterm elections.
As we discussed in class, a reasonable conclusion from the study of state party control offered in Statehouse Democracy by Erikson, Wright, and McIver is that:
both political parties tend to adapt themselves to the prevailing opinions in a state whether that is liberal or conservative.
As Brewer and Maisel point out in Chapter 8, in 1968 presidential primaries were:
seen as a tool for a candidate to show party officials that the candidate could be electable rather than as a means for winning the party's nomination.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 8, the McGovern-Fraser commission:
was important because its report created the conditions for change in how the Democratic party selected its presidential nominee in the post-1968 era.
As Brewer and Maisel note in Chapter 9, since the 1960 campaign for president of John Kennedy one of the key advisors in nearly all contemporary presidential general election campaigns has been:
the public opinion pollster.
As Brewer and Maisel state in Chapter 9, in any presidential general election campaign:
the basic goal is simple: get a majority of votes in the electoral college.
In Chapter 9, Brewer and Maisel discuss the role of third party candidates in presidential elections and state that:
there are three types of third-party candidates: candidates who run based on ideology, candidates who splinter from one of the major parties, and candidates who run based on their individual qualities such as Ross Perot.
In class we discussed the role of political parties in modern presidential campaigns and noted that:
political parties are important as auxiliary organizations but that presidential campaigns are largely dominated by the candidate's personal campaign organization.
In class we noted that the modern era of "candidate-centered campaigns" can be attributed to:
the use of television advertising by campaigns, the overall weakening of party organizations, and campaign finance laws.
In class we discussed some of the key elements of a modern presidential campaign. If you were hired as an "advance" person for a presidential campaign in 2020, you would be expected to:
locate, investigate, and secure the use of facilities to hold events such as a campaign rally or a speech by the candidate.
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 10, contemporary Americans:
use a highly diverse array of media to access news and for political consultants this means that they must consider not only what message to communicate but how to communicate it.
In their discussion of the media in Chapter 10, Brewer and Maisel draw a distinction between:
the use of paid media, such as campaigns advertisements, and the use of free or "earned" media such as coverage by local or national television news.In their discussion of the impact of media advertisements in Chapter 10, Brewer and Maisel point out that:
In their discussion of the impact of media advertisements in Chapter 10, Brewer and Maisel point out that:
there are four possible goals for media ads: to build a positive image for a candidate, to set the agenda for a campaign, to reinforce the loyalty of supporters, and to attack an opponent.
According to our discussion in class on the history of American political media:
during the early period of American history, there were only limited sources of public information and those tended to be highly partisan.
As we discussed in class, the Columbia school studies conducted during American presidential campaigns:
helped to establish the conclusion that media content has only a ‟minimal effect" on individuals.
In class we discussed the concept of "party image." From the evidence based on the American National Election Studies that we examined in class, it would be reasonable to conclude that:
most Americans have an image of the two major political parties that is based on economic or social class content.
In our discussion of "party image" in class, we noted that a common way to measure party image:
was to use the responses from four open-ended questions about what a person liked or disliked about the two major parties.
In class we examined public opinion data on whether Americans see important differences in what Democrats and Republicans stand for and concluded that:
now more than 80% of Americans say they see important differences between the parties which is considerably more than it was 30 or 40 years ago.
In Chapter 11, Brewer and Maisel discuss changes in the strength of political parties in Congress and note that:
party unity scores are much higher today than they were thirty years ago. As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 11, in the House of Representatives both political parties:
As Brewer and Maisel discuss in Chapter 11, in the House of Representatives both political parties:
rely on members of the party leadership known as "whips" to know the needs of members of their party and to count votes in order to inform House leaders whether proposed bills will pass or not.
As Brewer and Maisel point out in Chapter 11, the president:
clearly serves as the party's leader in government by setting the agenda and defining the issues for both Congress and the administration.
In class we discussed party control of government and pointed out that since 1994:
there have been brief periods of unified control for both parties but divided party control of government has been more common than unified control of government.
In class we noted that there are multiple meanings of the term "polarization" and that:
the evidence for partisan polarization is strongest in Congress.
As we discussed in class, the political scientist Edward Tufte has argued that:
midterm elections are a referendum on the president and often result in a loss of seats for the president's party in the House of Representatives.
Political scientist V. O. Key described American political parties as consisting of three elements: the party in the electorate, the party organization, and the party in government. This question is about what Key means by the "party in the electorate." Given that the vast majority of Americans are not dues paying members of any political party, does it make sense to talk about a party in the electorate at all? What connections, if any, are there between the average voter and American political parties? Do American political parties really exert any influence over whether or how Americans participate in politics? If so, is this influence beneficial or not to democratic government?
- Even though the vast majority of people themselves are not paying their dues to a political party, people still claim to be part of a party
- And even when an individual does not claim to be part of a party, their voting patterns usually identify what electorate to which party they are
- It is mostly based on perception
- The average voter is mostly in the middle when it comes to issues, so political parties themselves don't stray from that in order to remain one of the two popular; they tried to remain within popular appeal
- With the average voter, especially with the main parties (Democrat and Republican), they want to show that there really is one or the other.
- In displaying that there is one choice or the other, it helps facilitate influence with the two main parties, with the obvious that third parties rarely get elected at the national level, and sometimes on the state and local level
- In terms of participation, they have some influence, but it is starting to wane slightly with the upcoming generations. The millennials barely participated in voting in the 2016 election. Especially with the Democratic party, who they believe was corrupt due to the nomination of Clinton versus Sanders, which millennials supported.
- In terms of a democratic government, it is potentially beneficial because it does organize what people believe in, but does not help in the process of government, specifically since parties themselves don't encourage much cooperation between parties in determining and making laws, as well as the representation of parties only focuses on their ideology and the not representation of all people in their constituency and the United States as a whole, since they themselves are supposed to serve their community as a civil servant, not their party.
In this course, we discussed the organizational structure of American political parties and noted that the major American political parties are not just a single, centralized organization but in fact consist of several related organizations. How would you describe the organization of what we call the Democratic party and the Republican party in the United States and why do American political parties have such organizational structures? To answer this question, be sure that you first describe the organizations that make up each of the major political parties and then discuss why American political parties are organized as they are.
In their text, Brewer and Maisel discuss whether the United States should have a "strong party" government and we talked about this topic in class as well. What is "strong party" government and, have changes in US politics over the past 20-30 years led to the creation of a strong party government? To answer this question, first explain what is meant by the term strong party government and how political parties operate in Congress now. Is the way that parties operate now really a form of strong party government and, if so, is it beneficial or problematic for American government?
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