US pressure groups

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Political parties: Key questions
What is the link between the major parties and ideology?
What is the organisational structure of the major parties?
Does the USA have a twoparty system?
What role is played by third parties?
Are the US parties in a period of decline or renewal?
What is the Tea Party movement and how important is it?
Key terms/concepts
Compassionate conservative:
Term popularised by George W. Bush during his 2000 presidential election
campaign to denote a strand of the conservative Republican philosophy which
took a more compassionate view on such issues as welfare, education,
immigration and poverty.
Liberal:
View that seeks to change the political, economic and social status quo in favour
of the wellbeing, rights and liberties of the individual, and especially those who
are generally disadvantaged by society.
Conservative:
View that seeks to defend the political, economic and social status quo and
therefore tend to oppose changes in the institutions and structures of society.
The solid South:
Term used to refer to the Democratic Party's solid political and electoral control
of the South during the century between the Civil war and the 1960s.
Partisanship:
Term used to denote a state of affairs in which members of one party regularly
groups together in opposition to the members of another party. Partisanship is
therefore typified by high levels of party discipline, frequent occurrences of
partyline voting, and little of any cooperation and compromise between
politicians of different parties.

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Twoparty system:
Party system in which the two major parties regularly win the vast majority of
votes in general election, regularly capture nearly all of the seats in the
legislature and alternately control the executive branch of government.
Party decline:
The theory, popularised in the last three decades of the 20th century, that
political parties were in decline in terms of membership, functions and
importance both in elections and in Congress.…read more

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Essay:
1. Does the USA still have a twoparty system?
2. `The ideological differences between the Democratic and Republican parties are
far greater that the differences within them.' Discuss.
3. Why do third parties in the USA always fail?
4. `Moderate conservatism is a declining force in the Republican Party.' Discuss.
5. `The theory of "party decline" is increasingly out of date.' Discuss.
Specification
Further reading/research
www.politics1.com click on `Politcal Parties'
www.democrats.org
www.rnc.org
www.ballotaccess.org (ballot acess for third and minor parties)
Ashbee, E.…read more

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Bennett, A. J., US Government & Politics: Annual Survey 2011, Chapter 8, Philip
Allan Updates, 2011.
Knight, J., `the Republicans: where do they go from here?', Politics Review, Vol.
20, No. 1, September 2010.
Maisel, L.S., American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford
University Press, 2007.…read more

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Major Parties and Ideology
Ideological differences
Clear ideological differences exist between the parties. This can be seen by the
different stands they take on certain highprofile issues.…read more

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Position % of all Voted for Voted for
voters Obama Romney
Liberal 25 86 11
Conserv 35 17 82
ative
It used to be thought there was little ideological difference between the two
parties.
But, people are seeing them as increasingly distinct.…read more

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Bill Clinton (DLC) candidate broke the succession of defeats.
First Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to serve two full terms as
president.
Did the Clinton's reshape carry on after his presidency?
No:
Al Gore (2000) distanced himself from Clinton during campaign.
John Kerry (2004) identified much more with `oldstyle' Democrats.
Obama (2008) won against combined campaigning power or Hillary
and Bill Clinton. Described as "most liberal member of the US
senate.…read more

Page 8

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Major Parties and Ideology
Ideological differences
Clear ideological differences exist between the parties. This can be seen by the
different stands they take on certain highprofile issues.…read more

Page 9

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Position % of all Voted for Voted for
voters Obama Romney
Liberal 25 86 11
Conserv 35 17 82
ative
It used to be thought there was little ideological difference between the two
parties.
But, people are seeing them as increasingly distinct.…read more

Page 10

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Bill Clinton (DLC) candidate broke the succession of defeats.
First Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to serve two full terms as
president.
Did the Clinton's reshape carry on after his presidency?
No:
Al Gore (2000) distanced himself from Clinton during campaign.
John Kerry (2004) identified much more with `oldstyle' Democrats.
Obama (2008) won against combined campaigning power or Hillary
and Bill Clinton. Described as "most liberal member of the US
senate.…read more

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