Topic #3 Political beliefs and behaviors

Topic #3 Political beliefs and behaviors

POLITICAL BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS THEORIES OF GOVERNMENT A. Pluralism B. Elite and Class Theory C. Hyperpluralism POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION The process by which one acquires their

political orientation and beliefs POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION, CONTINUED Family The most important agent of socialization Kids usually end up voting like their parents Mostly informal POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION, CONTINUED Mass Media

The New parent Elementary school kids spend more time watching T.V. than in school. Dont watch political coverage New media Internet, social media Has the growth of media options helped create fragmentation? POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION, CONTINUED School

In the U.S. public schools promote basic values like loyalty and democracy, not a specific ideology. AMERICAN POLITICAL CULTURE Political culture are the beliefs a people have about the role and purpose of government

POLITICAL CULTURE, CONTINUED Equality Legal Americans believe in equal treatment under the law and freedom from discrimination Sources of legal equality include the 14 th Amendment, legislation such as the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965), Title IX POLITICAL CULTURE, CONTINUED Equality, continued

Political The right to participate in the political system by running for office, voting, or engage in other forms of political participation Political equality has been expanded by the 15 th, 19th, 26th Amendments as well as the Voting Rights Act (1965) POLITICAL CULTURE, CONTINUED Rights Freedom of Speech Most support in theory, but are often intolerant in

practice. Fringe groups often targeted like Communists during the Cold War POLITICAL CULTURE, CONTINUED Rights, continued Freedom of Religion Increased tolerance during the 20 th century Anti-Catholic bias declined JFK Some groups still targeted Muslims

Religious Right tends to be intolerant of non-Christian belief. THE POLITICS OF VOTING VOTER TURNOUT Comparison to Other Countries The U.S. has one of the lowest voter turnout rates

among industrialized democracies. Below 50% in 1996, 55% in 2004, and 62% in 2008 Turnout is even lower in midterm elections 36% - lowest since 1942

VOTER TURNOUT Reasons for low voter turnout Voting is not mandatory. Voter fatigue Party dealignment Weaker parties (less mobilization, etc) Declining trust in government Increase in minority groups and young voters Larger electorate NOT ACCEPTABLE Apathy, cynicism, loss of efficacy

DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS THAT AFFECT VOTER TURNOUT Demographics characteristics that can be used to divide a population into smaller groups Important demographic factors in the United States that impact voter turnout include: DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS THAT AFFECT VOTER TURNOUT

Age Older voters have greater turnout. Education The more educated one is the more likely they are to vote Region The area of a country someone lives in has no significant impact of voter turnout. DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS THAT

AFFECT VOTER TURNOUT, CONT. Income The more someone earns, the more likely they are to vote. Gender Women are more likely to vote than men. Race BE CAREFUL When adjusted for other factors (income, education, etc.) minorities have a higher voter turnout than whites. Political Efficacy - Not a demographic characteristic, but citizens with a high political efficacy vote more often. Political efficacy is the

sense that your participation is important and makes a difference. SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION Considering all elections at all levels of government, which of the following best describes electoral behavior in the United States? (A) Primary elections tend to elicit a higher voter turnout than do general elections. (B) The majority of the electorate does not vote in most elections. (C) Voter turnout plays an insignificant role in election outcomes. (D) Adult citizens under the age of 30 tend to have the highest rate

of voter turnout. (E) Voters with strong party identification vote less regularly than do independents. HOW PEOPLE VOTE (LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE) Age Americans tend to get more conservative as they age

Education Evidence used to show that the more education one had the more liberal they were. Evidence is not at strong today Region Rural and Southern voters tend to be more

conservative; Urban, West coast and Northeasterners tend to be more liberal Income Working class Americans tend to be more liberal. HOW PEOPLE VOTE (LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE)

Race Again BE CAREFUL African-Americans and Latinos tend to vote liberal (Latinos less so) while Asians tend to be more conservative. Gender Party Identification Even though the numbers

of party identifiers has decreased it is the best predictor of how someone will vote. 2008 Women are overwhelmingly liberal 39% Independent

This is referred to as the gender gap 26% Republican 32% Democrat TYPES OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

VOTING Voting is the most common form of political participation in the U.S. It is easy to study and quantify. OTHER FORMS OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION Litigation

Hold office Contact public officials Political discussion Contact the media Join a political organization

Work on campaigns Protest Work on voter registration drives NOT Violence Contribute money


Iran-Contra Clinton-Lewinsky DIVIDED GOVERNMENT Divided government Since 1968, government institutions have often been controlled by different parties. More Partisanship Decline of the middle Political moderates are starting to be frozen out

Politicians appeal to the base Congress more polarized now than anytime since the Civil War DIVIDED GOVERNMENT, CONTINUED Results Frustration Slows the confirmation process Gridlock

ROLE OF MONEY IN POLITICS Candidates spend too much time fundraising Increased power of interest groups and lobbyists (Abramoff Scandal) Keeps good people from running Perception of wasteful spending CONSEQUENCES OF THE DECLINE OF TRUST

More protest Decline in voting Increase in the number of independents Non-partisan community action APATHY does not count! PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES Primaries More common than caucuses (38/50 states) New Hampshire is the 1 st primary

Primaries weaken party control Increase in the number of primaries one result of the 1968 Democratic National Convention Increase the number of people involved in choosing the candidate greater citizen input. Got rid of backroom deals and weakened party bosses PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES, CONTINUED Primaries, continued

Primary voters more affluent, educated, and ideological than general election voters. Open vs. Closed Primaries Caucuses More participatory Iowa holds the first caucuses CONVENTIONS Conventions Held in the summer before the presidential election

Mostly a reward for loyal party supporters Delegates again more educated, affluent, and ideological than the average voter McGovern-Fraser Commission Increased the number of female and minority delegates to the Democratic convention The Democratic Party later added superdelegates to give party leaders greater control over the nomination process. ELECTIONS

Primaries and caucuses are nominating elections they are the process used to select candidates for the general election A general election is the election in which voters select which candidate they actually want to serve in each office. ELECTIONS How the votes are counted Presidential election Electoral College forces presidential candidates to compete in swing

states These are states that are competitive and have relatively large populations Winner Take All System helps create swing states Electoral College does give more weight to smaller states because of the 3 vote guarantee.

ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Elections in the U.S. are First-Past-the-Post/Single-Member District contests Members of Congress represent a specific geographic area Winners do NOT need a majority, only a plurality in order to win This marginalizes third parties in American politics Candidates only need a plurality to win, not a majority

SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE An electoral system based on single-member districts is usually characterized by (A) strong, centralized political parties and a weak executive (B) higher rates of voter turnout than are common in other systems (C) legislative representation of each party in proportion to the number of votes it receives (D) domination of the legislature by two political parties (E) ideological rather than mass-based parties

ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Incumbents enjoy a huge advantage in winning elections Advantage is greater in the House than the Senate ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Congressional Districts Reapportionment Dividing the 435 House seats amongst the 50 states. Every state is guaranteed one seat.

Redistricting District boundaries are drawn by state legislatures Usually done every 10 years after the census Gerrymandering is drawing districts to give one party an advantage over the other SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE Congressional district boundaries are usually redrawn every ten years by the (A) Bureau of the Census

(B) state legislatures (C) President (D) House Rules Committee (E) Federal Elections Commission ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Congressional Districts, continued The SCOTUS has created some basic rules about redistricting Districts should be roughly equal in population

Districts should be compact and contiguous Race can be a factor but not the primary factor Should keep communities of interest together SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE Which of the following is generally true of gerrymandering of congressional districts? (A) It results in more Democrats being elected in the House. (B) It results in more Republicans being elected to the House. (C) It guarantees that all minority parties will be equally

represented. (D) It creates districts that favor one political party over another. (E) It violates the principle of one-person, one-vote. ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Congressional Districts, continued In districts with large numbers of non-English speakers, voting materials must be provided in native languages according to the Voting Rights Act (1965)

ELECTIONS, CONTINUED Critical Elections Critical Elections result in party realignment Realignment is when the basic supporters of a party have changed For example, the South used to be controlled by the Democrats. Today it is solidly Republican Proof of long term shifts rather than nature of the times shifts. Some critical elections include 1932 and 1968

SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE The concept of critical elections is most closely associated with (A) the electoral college process (B) elections during wartime (C) the nomination process (D) economic recession (E) party realignment

MONEY AND CAMPAIGNING FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT (1974) Created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) In charge of administering campaign finance laws Led by a bipartisan commission Requires disclosure Candidates must file quarterly reports detailing where the money came from and where it went

Political Action Committees (PACs) PACs are a tool to track union and corporate donations A PAC can contribute $5000/candidate per cycle The number of PACs has grown tremendously over the past 30 years SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE Which of the following is a correct statement about political action committees (PACs)? (A) The number of PACs has remained stable over the past decade. (B) Most PAC money is distributed to challengers in an effort to

unseat hostile incumbents. (C) The amount of money that a PAC can contribute directly to an individual candidate is limited by law (D) PACs are illegal in most states. (E) PACs rarely attempt to influence legislation through lobbying activities. FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT (1974), CONTINUED Created Matching funds for presidential campaigns

Once a presidential candidate reaches certain thresholds, the federal government will match funds raised by that candidate If a candidate took federal money, they agreed to federal limits Recent candidates have not accepted federal funding Limited hard money contributions to $1000 Did not address soft money Soft money was money donated to parties for GOTV and grass-roots campaigns BUCKLEY V. VALEO (1976)

SCOTUS ruled that an individual could spend as much of their own money on their political campaign. SCOTUS said is was a free speech issue Spending independent of campaigns by outside groups, usually known as 527s, is also protected as free speech Circumvented the ban on soft money spent $254 million in 2008 These are called independent expenditures THE BIPARTISAN CAMPAIGN REFORM

ACT (MCCAIN-FEINGOLD) 2002 Eliminated soft money money donated to parties was now capped. Was meant to create a more level playing field Required more disclosure and transparency Raised the limit on hard money to $2000 Indexed for inflation CITIZENS UNITED VS. F.E.C. Citizens United v. F.E.C. overturned many provisions of McCainFeingold (BCRA)

One of the most basic ideas to emerge from the decision is that corporations and unions have First Amendment speech protections. This decision has allowed unions and corporations to spend more in political campaigns esp. independent expenditures. Facilitated the creation of Super PACs SAMPLE FRQ 2011

Nominees for the presidency of the two major parties are chosen by delegates at national conventions. How these delegates are chosen varies across states and between the political parties. a. Define each of the following methods used by states to choose delegates to party conventions. Open primary

Caucus b. Republican Party rules permit winner-take-all primaries. Describe one consequence of this rule for the Republican nomination process.

c. The Democratic Party has used superdelegates in the presidential nominating process since 1984. Explain why the use of superdelegates increases the influence of party leaders in the Democratic nomination process. d. Explain why a candidates strategy to win the nomination is often different from the strategy developed to win the general election.

SAMPLE FRQ 2011 5 points Part (a): 2 points One point is earned for a correct definition of open primary: a primary election in which any voter can cast a ballot in any partys primary. One point is earned for a correct definition of caucus: a meeting or gathering of members of a political party where members deliberate and choose from the list of those seeking the

presidential nomination. SAMPLE FRQ 2011 5 points Part (b): 1 point One point is earned for an acceptable consequence for a winnertake-all primary, which can include the following: Shortens the timeframe for candidates wrapping up the nomination. Affects strategic decisions (e.g., allocation of funds, time). Advantages those with more prominence or better name

recognition early in the process. SAMPLE FRQ 2011 Part (c): 1 point One point is earned for an acceptable explanation of how superdelegates increase the power of party leaders, which can include the following: Party leaders are now assured a role in the nomination process, regardless of which candidate they support. Party leaders can cast the deciding vote in close nomination contests. Superdelegates are unpledged and therefore can change their minds

on candidates as the process unfolds. SAMPLE FRQ 2011 Part (d): 1 point One point is earned for an acceptable explanation for why campaign strategies often differ between primary and general elections, which can include the following: The electorate in the primary election is different from the electorate in the general election. A candidates opponents in the primary are fellow partisans, whereas

opponents in the general election are from other parties. There are differences in financing, media coverage and current events leading up to the general election.

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