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Political Parties and Electoral Process

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Political Parties and Electoral Process

Strayer University
POL 110
December 8, 2014

Political Parties and Electoral Process Democrats and Republicans have shaped the political landscape in the U.S. throughout history. Both parties intend to do what is best for the American people but vastly differ in philosophy and ideals. Democrats have been generally viewed as supporters of social services while Republicans encourage a limited government influence and a robust foreign policy. Furthermore, Democrats tend to lean towards an active government with the belief of improving the opportunity and equality. Meanwhile, Republicans tend to be more adamant about being pro-business and more self-reliant. The recovery of the economy has been a very divisive issue between Democrats and Republicans and has been well documented in recent years. A prime example is the dispute over the stimulus package released few years ago. One major dispute between the Republicans and Democrats regarding the growth of the economy is the proportion of tax cuts. Democrats heavily favored tax cuts for the lower and middle class and conceded to the idea of raising taxes for the 1 percent to stay economically balanced. While Republicans were opposed to the idea, they were in favor of tax cuts across the board. In addition, Democrats were in favor of impermanent exceptions for businesses creating additional employment opportunities. Another issue where Democrats and Republicans differ ideally is social programs. Democrats have been more supportive of additional finances going to welfare, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and other various programs designated to help people in need. Republicans recognize the need for these programs but were in favor of stricter funding for these programs. The idea of private social programs financed by the government was what Republicans were firmly set on, while Democrats believed that the welfare programs were in a better position being ran by federal and state governments. Immigration has been another divisive issue between both parties. Both parties had different views on the impact of granting the legal status to unauthorized immigrants. Most Republicans thought this action would be seen as an opportunity for more people to enter the U.S. illegally and would impact government services. In addition, Republicans believed that granting immigrants legal status would have an effect on the job market as well. Third parties in the U.S. have had little to no success at the national level. The two-party system is most seemingly ingrained in voters in the U.S. This is perhaps the reason why third party candidates lack the national platform needed to present themselves. One most notable reason that third parties have been unsuccessful is simply money. Funding has been proven to be essential to a presidential campaign. Howard Phillips, who ran on the Constitution Party ticket in the 1990s, is a prime example. Due to the lack of funding for his campaigns, Phillips was unable to see much success receiving a platform. In the 2008 presidential election, Barrack Obama raised $778 million while John McCain raised $383 million. In contrast, independent candidates or third party members failed to raise anything more than $5 million. Funding has not been the deal breaker for winning the presidency but it will give the platform. Another factor has been ballot access. It has been apparent that there is difficulty for third parties to get their names printed on election ballots. Every state has different requirements for candidates to have their names on these ballots. In the majority of the states, voters can write in the candidate’s name but this has been proven to be difficult. This has been especially difficult for third parties with the lack of resources. The process of the two party system has strict governing laws. Initially, single-member districts elect the House of Representatives members. Due to the district seat requiring the candidate of one party, the Democrats and Republicans are the only parties to most likely have candidates. Following this, a plurality vote determines the race for Senate or the House of Representatives. The plurality vote is simply attaining more votes than the opposing candidate. The majority of the states do not hold runoff elections for two candidates holding majority of the votes. A notable example of the plurality system is the electoral-college. Carrying a state determines the presidential candidate’s chances with the electoral votes despite the number of popular votes. This system also makes campaigning difficult for third parties. Most voters acknowledges this and have trepidations casting their votes for a “lost cause”.

References
Bollier, S. (2012). What’s the matter with third parties? Al Jazeera (Qatar).
Mandel, D., Omorogbe, P. (2014). Political Differences in Past, Present, and Future Life Satisfaction: Republicans Are More Sensitive than Democrats to Political Climate.
Motel, S. (2014). On immigration, republicans favor path to legal status, but differ over citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/28/on-immigration-republicans-favor-path-to-legal-status-but-differ-over-citizenship/.
Wilson J., Dilulio J., Bose M. (2014). American Government. Brief Version 11th Edition. Cengage Learning.

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