NOTES political parties campaigning and elections

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Transcript NOTES political parties campaigning and elections

Unit 3
Chapters 9, 10, 11
• What is a political party?
– A group of voters with common interests who want to
influence or control decision making in government by
electing the party’s candidates to office
• Terms: The “party agenda” (or how the party plans to address
public issues) is set out by the “party platform” (the public
issue). Each piece that makes up the platform is the “plank”
(specifically addresses the platform component).
• Party platform: national security
• Party agenda: help secure democracy in Iraq
• Party plank: Increase troops by 20,000
1. Gather people with similar values and views into a
2. To govern in a predictable way
3. To compete in elections & get their “candidates” elected
4. Inform citizens on issues
5. Manage government by filling government positions
6. Link together the different levels of government (national,
state, local)
7. Act as a watchdog (the party that loses the election watches
the other party to inform citizens when the party in power
makes mistakes)
One political party controls
Advantage: gets things done because of similar thought
Disadvantage: not all opinions are represented
Ex: China – Communist Party
– Allows for three or more competing parties; since no one party
usually wins a “majority vote”, parties form a “coalition” or
compromise on issues to form a majority
– Advantage: more opinions represented; many choices in a platform
– Disadvantage: may take long time to enact solution; divide country
– Ex: Great Britain
– Power shifts between two dominant parties; there are some
“third parties” or minor parties that sometimes win
elections. They exist to pull voters from one of the other
two major parties, splitting the votes
– “Grassroots” parties often get support from average
citizens and people of lesser means.
– Advantage: represents differences of opinions; not too
diverse to cause too much gridlock
– Disadvantage: may take longer to enact a solution; only
two main choices, no gray area
– Ex: US – Democrats & Republicans
– A political party that turns into an organization led by a “boss” who
controls the local government. This is a reciprocal relationship.
Machines work because the boss ensures the needs of the people
(job, housing, etc.) In return, the people vote to keep the boss and
the party in power. Also, the boss uses “patronage” (giving political
offices and jobs in exchange for support/votes) (also called the “spoils
1. What does the tiger represent?
2. What has the tiger mauled?
3. What is the setting supposed to resemble?
4. What is the artist’s opinion
on political machines?
1. Who is the
large man
supposed to
2. What is the
artist’s opinion
about votes in
a political
1. What and who
does the
2. What is the
artist’s opinion
about votes in
a political
1. Partisan elections: When knowing a candidate’s political party is important to the
2. Non-Partisan elections: When knowing a candidate’s political party is NOT
important to the election (Ex: Judges – fairness, do job without political influence)
3. General election: Candidates are chosen for a political office (held in November)
4. Primary election: Voters choose candidates to run on the ballot during the
general election
5. Recall election: Can remove an elected official from office by a vote of the
people (it begins with a petition signed by a certain percentage of voters)
6. Initiative: Citizens propose a law by petition and submit it to a vote
7. Proposition: A type of initiative placed on a ballot by a legislature or by a
8. Referendum: A direct, popular vote on issues (like taxes/bonds)
9. Presidential Election: Determined by the Electoral College, not a direct vote
from the electorate
1. Plurality voting: Candidate with largest number of votes wins
2. Majority voting: Candidate with more than 50% of the votes
Which one is required in a democracy?
• Step 1: Political parties nominate candidates to run
for office
– Presidential nomination: “National Convention” is the
meeting every 4 years of party delegates (representatives)
from each state to nominate president & vice-president and
they write a party platform
– Other candidates are nominated for office at a political
meeting called a “caucus”
• Step 2: If multiple candidates are nominated or register
to run for office, a “primary election” is held months
before the general election, which is in November.
– An “open primary” allows all people, no matter the party
affiliation, to vote in the primary
– A “closed primary” allows only members of the political party
to vote in the primary
• Step 3: IF any candidate doesn’t win a majority of the
votes in the primary, a “run-off election” is held between
the two candidates with the most votes.
• Step 4: Candidates need money to campaign
– The Federal Election Campaign Finance Act of 1971 set rules
for donating and using money for campaigns
– It can come from public funds. You can donate a few
dollars from your tax refund check to the Presidential Election
Campaign Fund.
– It can come from private businesses or people (most
money in campaigns comes from private sources)
– “Soft money” is donations to candidates not designated for a
particular purpose. In 2002, a law banned unlimited
donations. Money is to be used for general purposes like
voter registration drives and ads about issues. Most soft
money goes to TV ads.
established by corporations, unions, and special-interest
groups to donate money to candidates who support the
PACs position on issues. The 1971 law makes PACs
donate money to the political party, not the candidate. PACs
can also donate an unlimited amount of money.
– INTEREST GROUP– an organization whose members
share common concerns and try to influence government
policies that impact those concerns.
They use propaganda and lobbying to help make changes
to public policy
They are most influential at the Congressional level.
They also make challenges to laws and policies in the court
– What’s the difference between a PAC and an interest
• PACs focus on influencing the outcome of an election; interest
groups focus on influencing policies and already elected officials
– LOBBYING / LOBBYISTS - attempting to influence
decisions made by officials in the government, most often
legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbyists
are often hired by PACs or special interest groups.
• (Intro to lobbying)
m/interestgroupspacs.htm (graphic)
• (can lobbyists be
• (Jack Abramoff –
show 3rd quarter)
• Step 5: Candidates for the general election begin
– Candidates seek “endorsements” from celebrities, other
politicians, etc. to support them
– Candidates “canvass” for votes – they go door to door or
use the phone to ask voters how they are going to vote.
They use this information to try to persuade undecided
voters to choose them.
– Candidates use “propaganda” to persuade the
“electorate” (voters) to vote for them.
• They use “glittering generalities” (emotionally appealing words:
patriotism, family values, the American way). The words sound
good, but their meaning is “general”
• They use the “bandwagon” approach (says everyone
else believes or acts a certain way). Everybody’s doing it
• They use “stacked cards” (only show facts that support
their view). They show positives, but no negatives
• They use “just plain folks” (says the candidate is like
everyone else). It shows the candidate is like everyone
• They use “name calling” (referring to the opponent in
a negative way). It’s also called “mud-slinging”
• They use “symbols” (visual pictures that are
emotionally appealing). Like the American flag.
• They use “image molding” (experts use the media to
portray their candidate the best way possible to all
• Step 6: The General Election: Go to your polling
place (Elections are conducted by each state’s Board of
Elections office - a RESERVED power)
– To vote in the General Election, you must be 18, registered
to vote, be a resident of your state for a certain time period
(like 30 days), and a US citizen. Those who are eligible and
vote are called the “electorate”.
– You should be aware of your “voting district” and the
candidates for whom you can vote. The district is divided
into precincts and polling places (CHS is one of them).
• (chuck norris)
• (godless
• (sean haugh)
• (herman cain)
• (sarah palin –
wolf hunting)
• (fibber kay)
• (obama ad)
• (romney)
• (arnold)
• (bushisms)
• (lipstick on a
• Step 7: VOTE on your ballot
– There are several kinds of ballots: paper ballots,
mechanical lever machines, punch cards, Scantron,
butterfly (this type caused confusion in Florida in the 2000
election between Bush/Gore)
– If you are not going to be near your polling place on the
day of the General Election, you can vote early or fill out
an absentee ballot before the election
• Step 8: Exit poll
– When you are leaving the polling place, the media may ask
you who you voted for to get a random sample of who people
choosing to find out who’s winning the election