American Political Parties Midterm Study Guide

Political Science 100C American Political Parties
Midterm Study Guide
Define each term/concept
– Place it in a broader context that may combine 2-3 terms
– Give and example
– Reference readings
1. Cost- benefit model of voter participation
a. Benefits – Costs: a formula as to the benefits and costs of someone voting
determining whether they will vote
b. Note: Costs imply not only what you have to undergo, but also what you have to
forego (opportunity costs)
Discount function x difference between candidates + coefficient of obligation/affiliation to
candidate – uncertainty factor x (transaction cost + information cost)
Transaction Costs: [parties can help mobilize voters, not just through reduction of information
costs and uncertainty, but also through reduction of transaction costs] thereby reducing
transaction costs
– Costs associated w registration and voting
– Costs associated w performing the action of voting
– Mail in ballots reduce transaction costs significantly
Information Costs: Ex: learning about a candidate’s platform, what to vote on, what a certain
proposition is
– A successful party w articulate policies helps reduce information costs
– A strong centralized party reduces information costs
– bc party platform over candidate platform – easier for voters to digest/understand
– weak/decentralized parties have higher information costs, making it harder to vote
– Bc every new election, you have to relook @ candidates platform to decide who
to vote for
Uncertainty Factor: we want to be certain about the choice we make > need to acquire more
information to make the right choice > increases time constraints
– uncertainty about who/what to vote for
– uncertainty about if you can vote
– uncertainty about if you will vote
– partisanship reduces uncertainty factor
– can I trust the candidate to do as promised (see below
Ideological Differences:
– What is the role of the government? Should it be more intrusive or more limited?
– If there was to be more government activity, should it reside at the state level or national
Issue Differences:
– Often times with issues, they come with great emotional impact: taxes, LGBTQ rights,
abortion, etc.
– Government was simpler to understand in the 19th century bc issues weren’t as
emotionally tied, thus higher turnout.
Candidate Preferences:
– This goes beyond personality and does not matter whether you’re democrat or repulican.
People attach themselves to a candidate and what that candidate projects.
– “Who are you more comfortable with?” If you are more comfortable with someone, you
are more likely to listen to what they have to say about ideology, issues, and so on.
– US system w SMPD is more candidate based than the parliamentary system bc parties
run on candidate first
Importance: Does My Vote Matter?:
– There is a mental margin of error. People do not believe that their vote will make a
difference, but when the polls say it’s within that margin of error, then people believe
their vote could possibly make a difference.
– As long as people feel that they are part of that “Make it or break it group”, people will be
more inclined to vote.
– Elections with slim winnings increases the likelihood that people will vote
– Elections that are one sided and less competitive decrease the likelihood that people will
Importance: Can I Trust The Candidate To Do As Promised?:
– This could be an uncertainty factor
Importance: Is the System Dysfunctional?:
– Does our vote matter because our system is so messed up? The system is so messed
up that there is nothing that the candidate can do.
– Example: Donald Trump’s campaign was a huge success because of a campaign tactic.
People will not believe that a Republican/Democrat politician can “change the system”,
but an outsider [Trump] declared that he was the solution to the system’s corruption.
Since Trump was an outsider, his claims were significant and worked.
Obligation to Democratic System: (coefficient of obligation 1)
– Duty as a citizen to vote
– Some ppl care about this more to vote
– you preserve democracy by using your right to vote
– we fought for the this right to vote; we are supposed to vote
– no discount function here because it is an emotional stance
– even if we believe one person’s vote will not matter, emotion tells us to
vote anyway
– when we vote we feel good, when we don’t we feel guilty
Obligation to Party or Candidate: (coefficient o f obligation 2)
– almost a religious devotion or aversion to a party or candidate
– coefficient of obligation 1: obligation to vote as a civic duty.
– coefficient of obligation 2: more partisan approach — probably used more by
campaigns; obligation to ur party, encourages opp to vote too
2. Difference Between Purposive and Rational Activist Party Organizations
a. Purposive- promote specific policies; politicians get involved for good reasons
â–  Dem party
b. Rational-Activist- just get power for powers’ sake
â–  Professor noted the two are basically inseparable in practice.
â–  Rep party ish (make decisions that support money doing what money
– Parties highkey use both rational activist because both want to win to pass
policies > policy goals in mind
– Two party system tends to act more like rational-activist than
responsible/purposive party
– 2-party system parties tend to converge toward median voter
– Duncan Black’s Median Voter Theorem: loop; parties want to get voters in the l
– middle/moderates bc extreme will always b with the party, will converge to middle
to get indep/undecided voters
– today , bc of partisanship they are less likely to appeal to moderates
– In rational activist, power for powers sake u needa appeal to middle
voters which is duncan model
– Ideal world, how it works
c. Purposive Party Organizations
â–  US system/ Winner Take all when 2 parties
d. Rational Activist Party Organizations
3. Difference Between Individual Parties and the Party System of which they are a
a. Individual Parties
â–  Individual parties = organization of beliefs
â–  Functions of a successful party:
● Articulate policies in a clear and consistent fashion – if X party
wins, what does that mean? (objectives)
â—‹ helps reduce information costs (ic)
â—‹ helps reduce uncertainty (u)
○ increases accountability of office-holders (if…) even if they
retire—retrospective voting (i2)
â—‹ provides a common basis for evaluation of different offices
and different places (ic, u, 2)
â—‹ reinforces already held views (voting habits as a series of
actions) (ic, CO)
● Increases sense of importance of vote
● Helps mobilize voters, not just through reduction of information
costs and uncertainty, but also through reduction of transition
● Parties help legitimize the process by acting as adult socializing
b. Party System
â–  Rules that govern the number, types, and intensity of competition; party
● EX: SMPD (single member district) vs proportionality
â—‹ WTA (winner take all) makes things more extreme too
● Regulation of competition
● Monetary donations/campaigns
â–  Functions of a successful party system:
● Differentiation of articulation
â—‹ Presents clear and different choices
● legitimizes the system by channeling conflict into acceptable,
non-violent choices (CO) –establish a process and adherence to
controlled competition
4. Functions of a (purposive) party & how each fits into #1 (Tuesday, Jan. 12 Lecture)
● More like dems
● Based on policies, makes u more inclined to vote in ur own
b. Articulation of Positions
Articulate policies in clear and consistent fashion. This reduces information costs
and uncertainty. Increase accountability of office holders, even if they retire
because people will vote based off of what already happened. Provides basis for
evaluation of different offices/locations, because it should all be similar.
Reinforces already held views.
c. Control of Candidates and Policy
recruit/train people to run, rather than just letting them choose to on their own. No
mavericks/sore losers. Allows the party to coordinate government activity, makes
articulation more meaningful because it gives them the control to enact their held
positions. Accumulate preferences.
● Control of candidate is a proportional/parliamentary party thing top
down w distinct ideals
● Individually based
● Primary system of US is NOT very purposive except for
d. Mobilization
Parties can help to mobilize voters not just through reduction of information costs
and uncertainty but also through reduction of transaction costs.
Provide info about voting, help register, GOTV (get out the vote drives) . in the
modern era some parties try to demobilize groups of people they do not want to
e. Legitimization
socializes adults in the system, sometimes helps to assimilate immigrants and
convince them to be on their side. [seek new immigrants coming into America
and help them get familiar to the process and also vote for your own party]
Creates obligation to party.
[derogatory term used for people without papers (wap)]
5. Functions of a Party System → How they compete/work with one another +
organization > each party is part of the party system > rules of competition — whole is
greater than the sum of its parts
a. Differentiation of articulation – present clear, consistent, and different choices Δ
[going back to original formula] (there has to be differentiation of articulation, has to be
different from the oppositional oppositions) which allows people to decide which
message they’re comfortable with , and knowing that they have a choice
â—‹ A clear difference makes things digestible and easier on
the voters
â—‹ If candidates in the system too similar, it makes it harder to
b. If the party is well at differentiating themselves then they can Legitimize the
system by Channeling Conflict into acceptable non-violent choices (CO), and
establishes a process and adherence to controlled competition
â–  Settle differences in a peaceful way
â–  When differences are soooo polarized, we can’t have good democratic
competition w peaceful transitions of power
● BIG POLITICAL CLEAVAGES – important for realignments
Why might (a) and (b) lead to conflict or dysfunction?
if the difference is extreme or about a non-negotiable issue…
differentiation could lead to stalemate in a situation in which no compromise is reached
→ becomes an unresolvable conflict
– U.S. Civil War broke out b/c of failure to contain conflict
Lincoln became President with less than 40% of popular vote (not that the election
was stolen but electoral college weird af so it had already moved to mainly winner take
Note — when does differentiation lead to stalemate?
– If parties stand for what they believe in and refuse to compromise, it is possible if the
party system competition has no sense of competition or consensus can lead to
– Lead to unresolvable conflict
– When does being a “partisan” become purely rational active?
– Congress was extremely polarized in late 19th century but seemed more effective — WHY ?
6. How do the cultural dynamics influence…
a. Number of Parties – cultural differences and different beliefs lead to different
types of needs and interests, thus possibly creating the doorway to there being
more political parties as more groups may need representation (what do ya’ll
â–  More cleavages, more parties (ex: religious cleavages)
â–  The number of cultural divisions you have within society will help to define
how many parties you can sustain within that legal structure…
● Regional cultures differ, may have more parties
b. Organization of Parties (centralized vs decentralized) if a party can control
nominations and institutional beliefs then it is strong and centralized (reduced
info. costs) and a weak decentralized party tends to need more information in
order to become stronger, especially if there are district elections
â–  Certain cultures are more heterogeneous
● Lotta culture differences that are tighter, you may want more
decentralized parties
â–  Homogeneous societies have centralized parties
c. Importance of Federalism, Cultural Divisions in early US, and the “freezing”
of a party system
â–  Federalism: a pact between national government and its states (+ local)
● Modern party system developed by about the 2nd decade of the
19th century. Some states were fairly religious and homogenous
(the same)
● The development of our party system first starts within the states.
● Representation of local cultural communities in local government
which leads to state and then national?
● Agreement of state and federal power
● Cultural divisions more represented in local but federal we
become more homogenous
● One states culture div in local govt CANT impact another’s
â–  Cultural divisions in early yrs
● Religions was a cultural division NOT important in us
â—‹ 1st amendment and federalism and timing
â—‹ States maintained homogeneity which decreases cultural
differences in a SMPD system
● Ethnic
â—‹ Melting pot so 1-2 parties efficient. Ethnic development
was very meaningful in the development of politics.
● Class
â—‹ Lack of class consciousness in the US because many
people would answer in the polls that they were part of the
middle class even if they weren’t because they wanted to
believe that they were part of the great “American Dream”.
Everyone aspires to be wealthy.
● Regional (Midwest vs south
● Centre-Periphery
â—‹ (new winners vs new losers)
â—‹ Is this the central, common theme of Tea-Party Activists?
○ is/will “age” become another
â—‹ New dynamics cause main group to cling to out
â—‹ Those who are privileged think equality is discrimination
â–  Freezing of party system: even when party system is frozen, cultural
divisions still impact how parties choose to align themselves
● no new minority parties/ force for realignment – maintenance of
party system
● Only time party system is frozen is in its inception
● Ware says main division for Americans in founding was: how
much govt do we want?
â—‹ Shaped federalism, federalists vs anti federalist
â—‹ This is why are system is so homogenous while we as
people are heterogeneous
******ALAN WARE**** – in the “alan ware reading”
In the grand scheme of politics, politicians emphasize/deemphasize various
social cleavages for the sake of winning elections by making it easier to appeal to
voters*=(religion, race, etc). At the inception of the United States, the biggest
social cleavage was how big government should be (keep in mind that there were
those who would spit in King George III’s face and those who would polish his
7. What are the following electoral rules and how do they influence party numbers?
â–  Legal determinants of party system type
b. Degree of Proportionality – (Duverger’s Law) in order to determine how many
parties there will be, this degree will affect party numbers????? favors the 2 party
■ Duverger’s law: electoral system that uses single ballot voting is gonna
end up w/ 2 parties, [T]he simple-majority single-ballot system favours the
two-party system
● Australian ballot
● smaller parties aren’t gonna survive bc ppl are gonna realize their
vote doesn’t matter.
â—‹ Concept of a wasted vote
c. Plurality vs Majority Rule – in a plurality system, the candidate that receives the
most votes out if all candidates, wins, but in a majority rule, the candidate that
receives more than 50% of the vote shall win. Even in proportional
representation, a minimal threshold is important.
â–  Majority: threshold bc low threshold means more 3rd parties
● District magnitude – how many seats in govt determined by single
â—‹ 1 member 1 district in SMPD (WTA)
Can hav 5 member for 1 district in proportional
â—‹ Example: Costa Rica had proportional representation at
the time you got to vote for a party, not for a single district.
And if the party got a certain percentage, then they would
get that certain percentage of seats provided it reached
the minimum threshold. Then they broke the country into
provinces, the proportionality was in each province.
â–  3rd parties less likely to win in plurality bc if they don’t win majority in a
district, they don’t get any representation
● US
â–  3rd parties work in maj system bc they can still get seats proportional to
their # of total votes
● Israel very low threshold
d. Presidential vs Parliamentary – in a PRESIDENTIAL system, the president is
the leader of the executive, there is a separation of powers, judicial, executive,
and legislative. In a PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM the Executive receives its
legitimacy from its ability to command confidence of legislature. Party with the
greatest representation forms the government and the leader of this party
becomes Prime Minister.
â–  Presidential system: separate election of executive
● Reduces parties again bc only 1 president
● Electoral college is a WTA in each state
● Primaries slim out 3rd party candidate making 2 party system
â–  Parliamentary system: executive is leader of legislature
● So prime min can have to to respond to 3rd parties needs to reach
maj control
â—‹ Coalition for control
e. Ballot Entry Requirements – What’s it take to get a party and its candidate on
the ballot? Finances, lots of money, a high signature count possibly that has
conditions/requirements/due times, etc, distribution/minimax of signatures. For
example: must receive 200k signature but no more than 220k
â–  Fusion: tend to have more parties if you have candidates who can run
under more than one party label.
1. Ex: New York it used to be the case that the liberal party would
not choose their own candidate, they would nominate the same person
that the democratic party would nominate and vice versa. What this
means is that “I am not a democrat, but I like Chuck Schumer and I can
vote for him on the liberal party ticket and now I feel better because my
vote didn’t get wasted.” In spite of all the voting requirements and hurdles,
New York usually tended to have 5-6 parties that would do fairly well due
to this method.
2. Fusion is a holding pattern. You can vote as a third party
specifically if they fuse together with one of the major parties in terms of
their choice of candidate, you can vote your party conviction and not have
your vote wasted because it will be lumped together with a major party.
â–  Sore loser – cant run for independent if u got primaried out. This is
intended to limit 3rd parties.
● US has this
● Bernie couldn’t run for indep party in 2016
â–  Sign requirement/
● Limits regional parties
â–  finances
● 3rd parties have a hard time raising necessary funds
8. Under What Circumstances might 3rd Parties be influential even in a
winner-take-all/SMD system?
3rd parties tend to be more influential when there is economic adversity, particularly
when the agriculture sector is suffering. Minor parties also do well when the 2 major
parties fail to address salient issues or when they nominate unappealing
candidates(Hernson, pg 27).
a. 2016
b. Teddy -1912
â–  Split dem vote
â–  Prog party
9. Why are WTA/SMD systems likely to lead to lower turnout than Proportional
Representation systems? Think in terms of extremes: WTA=2, Proportional = as
many as district magnitude will allow
■ Ppl feel their vote isn’t gonna count/be a wasted vote if you vote other
â–  Fewer party choices
â–  perception of importance of vote (i1) is diminished, unless elections are
viewed as consistently competitive, and competitive in the proper mental
â–  Margin of victory in WTA is not as critical as with proportional
b. Threshold Effects
■ SMD/WTA: ‘intermediate threshold effects’
● Does my vote count?
â—‹ 50% +1
â–  Vote only matters if its a close election
â–  Polls project winner, ppl wont go out to vote
c. Possible constraints on articulating preferences
â–  Parties are also (usually) less able to articulate preferences because they
will tend to have less control over that articulation and the individuals who
run under their label
● Candidate centered politics in WTA/SMPD makes it harder to
understand what ur voting 4
â–  (greater potential for candidate centered politics):
● Proportional representation necessitates policy, articulating
preferences is easier
d. Tendency towards Rational-activism and exceptions
■ Duncan Black’s Median Voter Theorem
● Under different assumptions; nowadays vote isn’t in middle
● Exit fear
● 2 party tends to act more like rational-activist than
responsible/purposive party model
● In a 2-party system, parties have a tendency to converge toward
the median voter
■ *** If both parties are in the middle it doesn’t matter who u vote 4, so
middle ppl are apathetic and less likely to vote
e. Exception to WTA/SMD leads to lower voter turnout
â–  Minor parties that are regionally based.
Example: 5% of the people in this country were libertarian. If they were
spread out throughout the country, not a single liberterian would be
elected in the country. But what if all the 5% of libertarians were living in
one or two states, then they could be the plurality/majority of those
regions and more people would vote for them because there would be a
higher chance of them winning.
â–  Effects of district divisions
● in/decr uncertainty of winning side
● in/decr perception of importance of single vote
10. Which is generally more stable (depends on definition) — WTA / SMD or PR?11.
a. WTA/SMD – professor Galderisi argues that Winner take all systems can be
volatile, 1% change can lead to total victory, WTA tends to artificially enhance a
winning party’s power (cube rule). Conversely, a 10% change in vote share can
change nothing if the party went from 39% to 49%. There are major differences in
the legislature, without needing major differences in the public when it comes to
voting. Or the opposite, dramatic change in voting does not lead to dramatic
change in policy (CA).
â–  In wta/smd–extreme change in outcomes with limited change in voting
preferences possible
● (1% change = 100% change — New Deal?)
● 2000, 2004 and 2016 and 2020 Electoral Vote
â–  or substantial change in voting does not lead to change in outcomes
● (65-35% example — California in the last decade?)
â–  in reality, wta/smd systems generally tend to artificially enhance a winning
party’s power (cube rule)
â–  in reality, regionally concentrated parties (often extreme or single issue in
orientation),advantaged by smd, can also control the balance of power
● anti-slavery and Southern states rights in 1840s and 1850s/
● George Wallace 3rd Party Attempt in 1968
â–  Good Example – 1988-1992 Canada
b. PR – it is argued that PR is generally more unstable and volatile as it allows for
more parties, with shifting coalitions, may reduce voter turnout.
■ usual though t—pr, with more parties, shifting coalitions, importance of
extreme minor parties
● –may actually reduce turnout because of uncertainty (u) of which
parties will enter into governing coalition (Downs’s i3)
● So—smd-wta better for stability—or is it?
^^^^(There are arguments to be made for both PR and WTA being volatile or more stable)^^^^
Go back for readings for previous questions
11. Partisanship:
a. What is it? General definition – self identification with and loyalty to a political
party (philosophy, party, not necessarily organization)
■ Much like religious self-identification/ethnic, etc.—you are a partisan if you
think you are/or subconscious
● Often defined or reinforced by what you are not (ABRAMOWITZ)
b. What is meant by ‘affective partisanship’? The steady growth of mutual dislike
of Republicans and Democrats since the 1970s; viewing opposing partisans
negatively and co partisans positively
c. How is it acquired?: socialized from parents. “Standing decision” as an adult
(retrospective appraisals): looking back over several administrations and in your
mind you feel that one party has always done better.
â–  Like religion (@ childhood fr parents)
■ As an adult—“standing decision”—a series of retrospective appraisals
â–  Genetic disposition: studies show that some people are more likely to be
partisan by simply observing their DNA.
â–  Usually reinforced throughout lifetime if it starts off strong
â—‹ social connections (race/ethnicity/religion/class)
○ party acts as an “orienting device,” or filter through which
information is processed. Process of cognitive or perceptual
screening (partisan lens).
â—‹ Choose source of information
â—‹ Evaluate source of information
d. How is it reinforced?
â–  Usually reinforced throughout lifetime if it starts off strong
â–  Social connections: (race/ethnicity/religion/class)
■ party acts as an “orienting device,” or filter through which information is
processed. Process of cognitive or perceptual screening (partisan lens).
â—‹ Choice of source of information
â—‹ Ways to evaluate information to reduce cognitive dissonance
e. How do partisans perceive members of the other party? Negatively.
f. ***ABRAMOWITZ, Chap 1***
12. What are the major coalitional differences between Democratic and Republican
â–  Dems:
● Democratic party maintains the same agenda in terms of priorities
and sides
● Percentage of irish who affiliate/vote democratic stays the same –
● But proportion of irish increases compared to other groups
● Ergo: democratic share of vote increases
● Without change in proportional irish support or reason for irish
â–  Reps:
● Agenda changes more easily
● Appease their voters, dont stick to a specific platform
● More intensely partisan
● Are in support of russia, less of FBI
● Interests hav flipped
● South and white ppl
● homogenous
b. How does WTA/SMD and federalism affect the ability of nationally small
groups to carry potential political power?
â–  WTA/SMD effect on small groups
● Small groups aren’t much of profile/constituency
● Yet, because of SMD-WTA, geographically concentrated
minorities can affect elections
● Jewish vote (and support) in tri-state area/Florida/Los Angeles
● LDS vote in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, even Oregon and
● Cuban-American vote in South Florida
● LGBTQ vote in SF/Hillcrest, SFran (local elections)
â–  Federalism effect on small groups
● Electoral system and Party system are inseparable (federalism)
● Small groups cant win presidency, national level is harder to reach
4 small groups
13. In what ways do partisans behave differently from non-partisans (independents)?
a. Turnout
partisans tend to vote more as they see a benefit to it, there’s reduced info.
Costs, uncertainty is reduced, sense of obligation; help your side.
b. Loyalty
much more loyal to their party than non-partisans would be to either side,
reduced uncertainty and reduced info. Costs lead to them becoming more loyal to
their party; political cohesiveness.
14. In which ways does ideology influence party choice?
â–  Ideology consistency has increased
● Led 2 partisanship – split sides
â–  Partisan makes u more likely to vote
b. Has that become more ‘sorted’
â–  Partisan sorting or geographic sorting is an effect in politics in which
voters with specific viewpoints migrate to specific areas, becoming much
more concentrated in them than in the wider electorate Thats the
â–  When ideology becomes consistent, ppl are likely to stay w their side
â–  Little similarities/agreement between dems and reps which has led to big
differences and sorting of ppl
c. What about issue positions?
â–  Specific policies ppl support
â–  Single issue voting
● Ppl can stay w one party solely based on one issue
â–  Keeps parties split
15. Has ‘independence’ increased in the U.S. over the last half century?
â–  At least until 2000, indep was more rhetorical than behavioral
● Ppl would still vote 4 the same party even tho they call themselves
â–  Nowadays, ppl less likely to call themselves indep bc we r so polarized
■ “Independent leaners” often act more like partisans than “weak partisans”
● Surveys @ polls indep had tend to stay w one party
● Weak partisans may vote opp side
■ Level of “pure independents” has remained fairly stable (around 6-14%)
â–  Only 14% of indep are actually independent
b. rhetorical vs behavioral independence
â–  Rhetorical –
● Say something, anyone can call themselves a independent
â–  Behavioral –
● In actuality, who u consistently vote for
16. Do individuals ever ‘convert’ from one party to another at the individual
– Very few converts that change their point of view
– Why?
– A. Social connections, status changes (W2 Syndrome, multicultural
associations: W-2 syndrome is if you are of a certain cultural
(economic/race) class, this leads you to choose a certain party because
of ideology and how you are brought up. Multicultural associations: there
are more interracial marriages than ever before, or say you move to a
new neighborhood; this may loosen up your view.
– BUT Bc of reinforcement, its hard to change party
– Parties have not changed their association, but rather people adapt and
change to that new party
– People that end up converting become more partisan.
– B. Orienting device failure (realignment)–incongruent information due to
shift in agenda pof politics. The notion of realignment, parties change
positions and have to reorient yourself with a new agenda.
– When ppl convert, they usually take baby steps
– Ex: w ½ houses with 3rd parties
– Transitional phase
17. Broad concept comparison: What is a secular realignment? How does it differ
from a ‘critical one’?
â–  Secular: Each party still holds same set of beliefs
● Each party stays on same side of issue divides
● Each party still has the same priority list of which issues are most
● Cultural groups maintain the same proportional support for each
● Only change takes time (secular)
● …and is caused by a change of the proportion of individuals in
each cultural group that benefits the minority party, making it the
new, numerical majority (or enhances majority)
● Growth can also occur from better mobilization of previously
low-turnout group(s)
● Environment change
● Pop adapts to party
● Immigration, internal migration
● Generational – boomers vs gen z
â–  Critical:
● A new division that is long-term
● Schattschneider: “a remobilization of conflict” (graphic)
● agenda change is dramatic, even if old issues are still part of
difference between parties/now secondary
● …or “old issues” are settled? Allow space for new?
● Cultural groups that support each party change to “realign”
themselves into new partisan division
● Two roles for 3rd parties:
● Half-way houses
● Implicit actors—“new issue” mobilizers
● New issues causes cultural groups to shift their party support
● Biggest one: 1932
b. issue position of parties and the difference between/among parties
â–  Critical diff issue
â–  Sec – same issue; new ppl/voters
c. hierarchy of importance of those issues (agenda)
d. which groups support each party and at what proportional level?
â–  Black people migrate to north during civil rights movement, changing
● Secular
e. Importance of differential demographic growth and mobility
â–  Part of secular realignment
f. Role of 3rd parties
â–  Transitions voters
● If a republican doesn’t align themselves w that party anymore,
they prob will move to 3rd party b4 dem party
â–  Issue makers, brings issue to forefront
● More extreme issues, not on agenda
● Campaign finance reform, Nader 2000, 3rd party candidate
â—‹ Campaign finance reform WASNT an issue b4 nader
â–  EX roosevelt progressive party
● Shifted agenda
â–  Half-way houses
● 3rd parties can be solution to polarization
â–  Implicit actors – new issue mobilizers
g. In what way(s) is(are) critical and secular realignments connected?
â–  Younger voters might turnout IF a new issue is brought to the forefront
● Critical can lead to sec realignment
18. Critical Realignments:
a. Reasons for ‘cyclical’ nature
â–  Cataclysmic event (depression/social change)
● Politics follows economy
● As it booms and busts it forces ppl to rethink their political
â–  Generational change
â–  Mobilization of new voters more than conversion of old
● Harder to convert than recruit
â–  NOTE: New can mean immigrant, newly enfranchised voters, or
traditional voters
b. Agreed upon ‘critical realignments’
â–  Agenda change/addition
● Importance of new or promoted issues
â–  Jeffersonian Reps: 1st party transition
â–  1828-1832: Mass based partied modern realignments, more voter turnout
● D/W
â–  1860 (regionalism)
● D/R
● N vs S slavery
â–  1896 (return to regionalism)
● Rep Hegemonic party maj
● South still w Dems and Reps w north and West
■ 1932 (Mother of All)—smd (table)
● New deal
â–  Has there been any since?
● Maybe
â–  Describe issues, etc.
● Role of govt (big vs small), State vs Federal 1828-1832
● Slavery in 69s
● Shift fr nationalism to regionalism 1890s
â—‹ Everyone mad @ reconstruction; federal getting involved in
local issues
â—‹ Repub hegemony
â—‹ William Jennings Bryan
■ But first—anything peculiar about those years?
● Very volatile, war, depression
â–  Change in cultural dynamics
● Country shifted during each realignment
● Ex decided slavery was bad
c. Role of 3rd parties (again)—which ones at which time
â–  1857 depression
● Liberty, social, nativist, republican
â–  1893 depression
● Greenback, populist, american
â–  1929 depression
● Socialist, progressive
d. Potential effects of SMD/WTA
â–  Amplifies realignment
*****1896 reference DAVID MAYHEW (skeptical about realignment)
Realignments are not cyclical, can’t say they happen every 30 yrs
19. Have there been realignments after the New Deal one?
a. When?
â–  Traditional view: it happened gradually if at all
● Couldn’t function the same bc institutional arrangements
● Party in power didn’t change until well after expected date
(60s-70s) — 1968
● Economic ups and downs are no longer catastrophic bc of New
Deal and Grt society programs – so no economic trigger
● Social programs made it so ppl didnt feel full weight of econ
● 1/3rd+ of the electorate stays home – is there realignment if no
one shows up?
â—‹ But then, do we discount 1932?
â—‹ Bc lower turnout
â–  Updated view:
● Maybe just polarization since 1932
● Duncan Black Median Voter theorem
● Shift along same side; not tradition realignment (POMPER, 1972)
â—‹ Polarization grew along same issues
● There was a party split
● Division was same, just split larger
● Employment practices, labor laws, education
● Same issues fr should there be unemployment to issues like how
long should you have it
â—‹ Same agenda
â–  1968 as a realignment diverted
● Nixon and “law and order” (culture
war-Nixonland”-centre-periphery without necessarily being at
â—‹ Dems picked up civil rights as their focus
● Original view-wallace/AIP are “new issue mobilizers” (political
suburb)-fully picked up by Nixon and Republicans in 1972, aided
by nomination of liberal Democrat, McGovern (much like 1896 and
william Jennings Bryan)
● But… impeachment and imprisonment
● CRA & VRA was start of southern voters shift to repub party
â–  Somewhat contrarian-now accepted view: Realignment occurred in the
late 1960s
● Dems become champions of civil rights/not GOP (party of lincoln)
● Not just left-right: Civil Rights becomes a major issue
● Dems increasingly become party of liberal social views-unlike the
Dems of the early 20th Century
â—‹ Same party in majority, but agenda is altered: D-D but
drastically diff dem party
i. Dems more party of civil rights in60s
● Wallace not as new-issue mobilizer but right-moving mobilizer as
reaction to swing left of both parties on civil and other group right
â—‹ Required mobilization
● Helped by GOP nomination of conservative Barry Goldwater
(R-Az) in 1964/liberal McGovern (Dem) in 1972
● Mini-Realignments and delays caused by institutionalization of
Congress/lack of GOP farm team in South-realignment at
presidential level first, congressional next, local last
○ Defection rates were highest between 1952–1960
○ GOP wouldn’t take Congress until 1994
● Secular realignment is also important to consider because, after
the war in-migration increased thereby shifting the proportion of
nonwhite voters present in the electorate as a whole
******ABRAMOWITZ CH 2**** (voter suppression, why Southern Whites went
● White southerners used to be 25% of Democrat voter base
● Biggest defectors during 1952/56/60 pres elections were White Southern Democrats
â–  1994 – permanent GOP majority
● Contract with America
● …but is this really 1960s pre-nixon realignment continued?change
in south occurs in 1960s-although not a majority until 1990s-again
smd, as well as long history of democratic party dominance (no
GOP farm team)
● New religious dimension – abortion/gay rights/school prayer,
etc-different kind of social conservative
â—‹ New cultural dimension-actively religious vs
● Extension of civil rights division…but politics of group rights
● Not just civil rights for racial minorities (change also, but lesser, in
b. New Agenda?
â–  Cultural issue mobilization
● Civil rights and law and order
â—‹ Wallace – new issue mobilizer
c. Role of 3rd Parties
â–  Suburbs became new issue mobilizer
● G. Wallace was an ardent advocate for segregation and the
amount of support he garnered revealed a deep divide between
Dems and GOP over issue of race
â–  Halfway houses; implicit actos?
● Wallace’s American
d. Secular realignments or Critical?
â–  Secular realignment: Each party still holds same set of beliefs
● Each party stays on same side of issue divides
● Each party still has the same priority list of which issues are most
● Cultural groups maintain the same proportional support for each
● Only change takes time (secular)
● …and is caused by a change of the proportion of individuals in
each cultural group that benefits the minority party, making it the
new, numerical majority (or enhances majority)
● Growth can also occur from better mobilization of previously
low-turnout group(s)
â–  Critical Realignment
● A new division that is long-term
● Schattschneider: “a remobilization of conflict” (graphic)
● agenda change is dramatic, even if old issues are still part of
difference between parties/now secondary
● …or “old issues” are settled? Allow space for new?
● Cultural groups that support each party change to “realign”
themselves into new partisan division
● Two roles for 3rd parties:
● Half-way houses
● Implicit actors—“new issue” mobilizers
● New issues causes cultural groups to shift their party support
● New issues cause younger ppl to vote
â–  1960s realignment was critical bc civil rights was new issue that changed
● Secular aspect of non-white proportion of electorate increased
â—‹ Mobilization of Black voters
● This was likely a critical alignment bc long term shift of dem party
to party of civil rights, which was rep’s role b4
Quote/Reading Bank
Ahler. The Group Theory of Parties
â—‹ Elite vs affective polarization
â—‹ Partisanship is both a form and product of social identity
â—‹ Partisans view partisans belonging to the opposite party in terms of
â–  GOP thinks 35% of Dems are agnostic (actually only 9%)
â–  Dems think 42% of GOP make >$250k/yr (actually 2%)
Ware. Why Party Systems Differ
○ Sociological approach to party systems (Lipset & Rokkan’s 4 lines of
cleavage): cleavages are the primary influence on party system
â–  Centre-periphery
â–  State-church
â–  Land-industry
â–  Owner-worker
â—‹ Institutional approach: electoral institutions (rules/procedures like
WTA/SMDP vs PR) in conjunction with party leaders’ strategies are the
primary influence on party systems
■ Duverger’s Law
● WTA/SMDP encourages two-partism
● PR discourages two-partism
â–  Threshold
● The higher % of vote required to attain a seat in government,
the harder it is for minor parties are to form
â–  Presidential vs Parliamentary
● Presidential elections are WTA/SMDP by virtue of the fact
that there is only one president and therefore encourage
â–  Federalism
● devolved power reduces intraparty tension at the federal
level thereby encouraging two-partism
â–  Party Patronage (spoils system/clientelism)
● Can lead to a monopolization of power which leads to a
monopolization of the opposition which leads to two-partism
â—‹ In reality, both theories (sociological and institutional) are adequate in
explaining the origin of different party systems; sociological is good at
explaining the European party system (more active social cleavages) and
institutional is good at explaining the American party system (less active
social cleavages and strong institutions)
Hernson. Two Party Dominance and Minor Party Forays in American Politics
â—‹ 5 party eras
â–  Feds vs dems
â–  Dems vs Whigs
â–  Dems vs Reps
â–  Dems vs Reps (1896)
â–  Dems vs Reps 1930s) Depr
â–  *6th Party era up for debate
â—‹ Institutional deterrents to minor parties in the American party system
â–  Federalism – provides foundation for candidate centered politics
â–  Separation of powers
â–  Bicameralism
â–  SMDP
â–  Electoral college – minor parties may win sign share of pop. vote
but doesn’t rarely enough to capture a state’s EC votes
â–  Ballot entry requirements
â–  Primary election system
â–  Party finance laws
â–  Mass media bias towards major parties
â—‹ Behavioral deterrents
â–  The US has had a large white majority for most of its history and is
generally very class unconscious
â–  Major parties are better at attracting competent candidates and are
able to quickly copy issues brought up by minor parties
â—‹ Historic roles of minor parties
â–  Raise attention to new and ignored issues
â–  Vehicle for voters to express discontent with major parties
â–  Propel realignment
■ Innovate campaign strategies (Perot’s United We Stand America)
Abramowitz Chapter 1
● Biggest ideological split between parties in a century
● Supreme Court justices are divided
● People have increasingly negative feelings towards the opposing party
● Negative partisanship: people would rather vote against the opposing party
rather than support their own
● Electoral votes reflect the results of presidential election
● Racial tensions, division between size of gov, and cultural divide over values,
morality, and lifestyles
● More young, non-white voters
● America in the 21st century is more racially and ethnically diverse
● Trump appealed to people who fear they were losing their power in America
Harmel “The impact of New Parties on Party Systems”
● This chapters about new parties in the extent to which they make a difference
and it is based on the premise that it is possible to learn a lot about one’s own
political institutions by comparing them to counterparts in other countries
Stephen Goggin – “Seeing red (or blue):how party identity colors political
● Republicans are more in support of Russia and less of the FBI (dramatic flip)
● Political parties compete for votes and strategic position and imposition of
political will
● Voters are referees who assess the actions of the “players”, but today that is not
as clear. Now partisans are the ones cheering
● PID = Party ID
● Balanced Identity Theory: social identity and self-categorization theory together
● Congruity theory, cognitive dissonance theory, balanced identity theory
● We want to feel good about ourselves and have that aligned with positive
feelings about our “group”
● An insult to the party becomes an insult to the person’s self
● Party identification leads you to accept or reject information depending on
whether it aligns with your beliefs
● Voters interpret information and objective economic conditions very differently
depending on their PID
● Partisans are more willing to dehumanize members of the out-party than
● Partisans are more likely to skip ads from the other party and watch ads from
their own
● Theodorisis’s newspaper article experiment (2017)
â—‹ Article described a politician making a public announcement about having
engaged in misconduct
â—‹ Whether or not the politician was from the same party as the reader had a
significant effect on how they perceived the incident: if the politician was
from the same party, the reader was more likely to excuse the misconduct
● Republicans are more intensely partisan, they have more implicit identity and
greater partisans motivated reasoning
● 38 states and DC have voted for the same party since 2000
● Political opponents see the opposite as bad people with dangerous beliefs which
attracts us to conspiracy theories and claims or fraud that serve to demean or
delegitimize our adversaries
Shanto Iyengar Partisanship as social identity: implications for the study of party
● Partisan identity has become more important (salient)
● Partisans have become more negative towards the opposing party
● Group identity plays a large role in party choices
● Any form of group affiliation, triggers positive feelings for the in group and
negative evaluations of the out group
● Group identity influences group polarization
● Identity salience: the basis of predicting the extent of inter-group polarization
â—‹ More salient affiliation = more divergent the individuals beliefs about group
● Negative rise of partisanship since early 200s
● Affective polarization = party affiliation is a test of character and compatibility
● Polarization = the degree to which partisans consider their opponents a
stigmatized out group
● More hostility since 1980s
● Partisans are more informed on financial incentives that benefit their party
Abramowitz – Chapter 2
● FDR New Deal appealed to white people and black people
● Many African Americans still lived in areas that were in the confederacy
â—‹ Many obstacles preventing them from voting
● Fragility after New Deal
● After LBJ in 1964, AA’s be awe the most reliable democratic voting bloc
â—‹ After the civil rights act, more white people became republicans
● More black people in the Deep South but were almost completely
● The area with the greatest concentration of black people had barely any black
● At this time, only 19% of southerners were republicans
â—‹ Republicans were college-educated northern whites
● Republicans and democrats in the 50s were not divided by gender, marital
status, or religion
● Allegiance to political party changed in the 50s
â—‹ Democrats suffered large-scale defections in al out every voter group that
supported the New Deal except catholics
● Ticket splitting 1952-1960
● Democrats could rarely find a single candidate who would appeal to their entire
coalition —> LBJ was an exception
Abramowitz Chapter 3: From Dealignment to Realignment
● 1970s/80s featured the peak of divided government with GOP winning majority of
presidential elections and Dems winning majority of congressional ones
● The partisan revival begins
â—‹ 1994: GOP takes Congress for the first time since 1950s (54 House seats
and 8 Senate seats gained
â—‹ Helped by nationalization of Congressional elections and increased GOP
voter loyalty
● Race and Realignment
○ Nonwhite share of the electorate went up significantly 1976–2012
■ 16%–45% for Dems, 4%–10% for GOP
● Religion and Realignment
â—‹ GOP has become increasingly religious and opposed to abortion and gay
● Ideological Polarization, Negative Partisanship, and Party Loyalty
â—‹ Negative affect towards members of the opposing party has been
increasing since ANES started measuring ideology in 1972 thereby
increasing partisan polarization
â—‹ Increased polarization -> increased straight-ticket voting
● Nationalization of Congressional Elections
â—‹ There is an increasing correlation between the party and popularity of the
incumbent president and the outcome of congressional elections
■ In other words, if a district’s electorate doesn’t like the president,
they are more likely to elect a congressmember of the party
opposite of the president’s
â—‹ GOP benefits more from nationalization has there are more GOP-leaning
districts than Dem-leaning ones
Ron Formisano, “The populist tsunami of the second gilded age”
Rosenstone “Theory of Third Party Voting”
Joel Silbey-“The rise and fall of American political parties 1790-1990”
Orren and Mayer “The Press, Political Parties, and Public-Private Balance in
● the media substituted themselves for the party in an intermediary role enabling
more direct contact between the politician and citizen
â—‹ over the past three decades the party apparatus has atrophied and
partisan ties in the electorate have eroded
â–  as a result the functions of the party have devolved to other
â—‹ with each election the media becomes Bolder and more assertive and
appropriating tasks once reserved for political professionals
● 19th C political parties dom instrument for party communication
● today journalism has become a far more professional occupation Bound by
● starting in the Progressive Era from the 1880s to early 1920s the strong local
● due to increased immigration and transportation and urbanization even if old
Precinct organizations were more active it is questionable how effective they
would be
● the mass media are not the principal movers behind candidate centered
campaigns but the media makes such campaigns possible by offering candidates
a channel to the electorate and bypassing the party organization

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