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Chapter 5 Notes

What Is a Party
* A political party is a group of persons who seek to control government by winning elections and holding office. * The two major parties in American politics are the Republican and Democratic parties. * Parties can be principle-oriented, issue-oriented. The American parties are election-oriented.

What Do Parties Do
* Nominate - recruit, choose, and present candidates for public office. * Inform and activate supporters - campaign, define issues, and criticize other candidates. * Govern - members of government that act accordingly to their partisanship, or firm allegiance to a party. * Acting as a watchdog - parties that are out of power keep a close eye on the actions of the party in power for a blunder to use against them in the next election.

Why a Two-Party System:
* The historical basis – the nation started out with two parties: the Federalist and Anti-Federalist. * The force of tradition – America has a two party system because it always has had one. Minor parties, lacking wide political support have never made a successful showing so people are reluctant to support them. * The electoral system – certain features of government, such as single member districts are designed to favor two major parties. * Ideological consensus – most Americans have a general agreement on fundamental matters. Conditions that would spark several strong rivals parties do not exist in the United States.

Advantages of Multiparty Systems:
* Provides broader representation of the people.
* More responsive to the will of the people.
* Give voters more choices at the polls.

Disadvantages of Multiparty System:
* Causes parties to form coalitions, which can dissolve easily. * Failure of coalitions can cause instability in government.

* One party system is where only one party is allowed.
* Modified one party system is where one party regularly wins most elections.

Party Membership Patterns:
* Factors that can influence party membership include family, major events, economic status, religion, occupation, and age.

* Led by Alexander Hamilton.
* Represented wealthy and upper-class interests.
* Favored strong executive leadership and liberal interpretation of the Constitution.

* Led by Thomas Jefferson.
* Represented the “common man”.
* Favored Congress as the strongest arm of government and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

The Era of Democrats (1800-1860):
* Democrats dominate all but two presidential elections.
* The Whig Party emerges in 1834, but declines by the 1850’s, electing only two Presidents. * The Republican Party is founded in 1854.

The Era of the Republicans (1860-1932):
* Republicans dominate all but four presidential elections. * The Civil War disables the Democratic Party for the remainder of the 1800’s.

The Return of the Democrats (1932-1968):
* Democrats dominate all but two presidential elections.
* Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President four times.

* Since 1068, neither Republicans nor Democrats have dominated the presidency and Congress has often been controlled by the opposing party. * Types of minor parties include ideological parties, single-issue parties, economic parties, and splinter parties.

Why Minor Parties Are Important:
* “Spoiler role” are when minor party candidates can pull decisive votes away from one of the major parties’ candidates, especially if the minor party candidate is from a splinter party. * “Critic” are when minor parties, especially single-issue parties, often take stands on and draw attention to controversial issues that the major parties would prefer to ignore. * “Innovator” is when minor parties will draw attention to important issues and propose innovative solutions to problems. If these proposals gain popular support, they are often integrated...
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