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Political Parties

Introduction
Why are political parties less important in America than in the UK?
o Size of US ­statebased organisations (e.g. Democrats in New York
and Alabama hugely different)
o Parties aren't sole custodians of powers to fundraise, communicate,
form policies etc. ­ pressure groups, PACs (Political Action
Committees)…

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Religion Secular state More faithbased/religion plays
bigger part in government and life
Urban/Rural Urban Rural
Ideological Changes
New Deal
o 1930s
o Big government to help the poor
o Democrats became party of big government
o Republicans had to follow or be left behind
Civil rights and affirmative action
o…

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o How much overlap is there between the two?
o Differences between or within greater? Make a judgement
o Must include viewpoints ­ e.g. Brogan, Rossiter
o Conclusion: differences within significantly greater despite beliefs of general
public, highprofile issues and divided government gridlock RomneyPerry,
Bill ClintonObama, geographical differences, Brogan, parties…

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Desire for expanded suffrage won over the poor
farmers in the South
What happened?
1828 ­Andrew Jackson wanted more popular
participation in politics (e.g. wider suffrage)
Changed name from DemocraticRepublicans to
Democrats
Outcome?
Democrats gained Southern power base among poor,
white, male farmers
Established reputation as party of `havenots'
o…

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Republicans were party of business (big and small),
didn't believe in government getting involved
Did for the Republicans what civil war did for
Democrats ­ Republican wilderness
Outcome?
New Deal Coalition ­ South, unionised and urban
labour, liberals, ethnic minorities, religious minorities,
etc. all heading Democrat
o (1960s) Civil Rights…

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19681972: Richard Nixon launches `Southern Strategy' for '72 election
(Southern Strategy: mobilise white vote by making them feel victimised by
civil rights and black people, who vote Democrat ­ black people vote
Democrat, racist/'negrophobe' whites will vote t'other way)
The '5050 nation' & `red vs. blue'
o What is a…

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State governors, party overlap Congress (porkbarrel
mayors etc. are very (southern politics)
powerful Democratnorthern
Republican) McCain & Romney ­
President is not the party never properly
leader of the party Lots of evidence of unified behind them, not
nonpartisan voting really accepted by
Party committees grassroots voters
operate at state,…

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But Clinton had trouble with healthcare reform despite united
government
o Now between ­ since 60s partisanship has become increasingly
clear
Even vaguely liberal Republicans are a dying breed
Impeachment of Clinton ­ not a single Democrat in Senate
voted against him, while only 10 Republicans voted to acquit
him…

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o Parties are as Tweedledee and Tweedledum ­ identical but arguing
over apparent differences
o But this is challenged by various other apparent ideological
distinctions between the two parties
o 50party system
o Parties are not disciplined, centralised national parties with national
leaders and national policy programmes ­ not true…

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o E.g. 2000: Ralph Nader's 2.7% vote almost certainly cost Al Gore the
presidency
Florida: Bush won by 537 votes, Nader polled nearly 100k
New Hampshire: Bush won by 7k, Nader had over 22k (exit
poll data suggests half would have been Gore voters, half
would likely not have voted…

Comments

Old Sir

A detailed and useful set of notes covering the two major US parties. It refers to recent issues and outcomes and these might form a good starting point for students wishing to extend their ability to discuss the influence of the big two in order to maximise marks at AO2 (evaluation and analysis).

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