Free Essay

Political Parties and the Electoral Process

In: Social Issues

Submitted By akjordan1998
Words 1359
Pages 6
Political Parties and the Electoral Process
Dr. Michael Keith Smith
U.S Government- POL 110
Strayer University
March 7, 2015

Political Parties and the Electoral Process The relationship between political parties and the electoral system has always been a significant one. Federalists and Anti-Federalists formed political parties, each seeking control over the destiny of the new nation that was emerging from the Revolution. It was not long into the foundation of the United States that the protection of the people became a divergent issue among the country's first political parties. Federalists and Anti-Federalists clashed over how to best represent the needs of American citizens in the one document that would become the highest law in the nation — the Constitution. The issue of particular controversy was a component that has since become the mainstay of protecting the interests of the people: the Bill of Rights (Auerbach, 2015). This paper will take an in-depth look at the nature of political parties, as well as the two-party system that has evolved in the United States since its creation in 1776. An ideological difference between political parties is the contrasting visions that constitute their distinct mission and actions as well as the electorial program. While other democracies have numerous active political parties, in the United States there are but two major parties taking part in national elections—the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The main ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans is their fundamental philosophy of which The Democratic Party is the liberal one, while Republicans are comparatively believed to be conservative (Levendusky, 2009). This leads to their respective stance on major economic, taxation/government spending, defense/military, and educational/religious issues that are described herein:
Economic Issues Republicans believe that each person is responsible for his or her own place in society. Government should enable each person the ability to secure the benefits of society for themselves, their families and for those who are unable to care for themselves. Republican philosophy is based on limiting the intervention of government as a catalyst of individual prosperity. Government should only intervene in specific cases where society cannot effectively act at the individual level. The belief is that a person’s destiny should be in their own hands. Governmental power and resources should be kept close to the people, through their state and community leaders, and not centralized in distant federal government agencies (Levendusky, 2009). Democrats believe it is the responsibility of government to care for all individuals, even if it means giving up some individual rights and/or “subordinating” enterprise and initiative. Democrat Party administrations have pushed for the centralization of power with only secondary consideration for the rights of both individuals and communities. (Levendusky, 2009). Taxes and Government Spending Republicans work to cut government spending and to eliminate government waste. Republicans believe individuals should control both their own and their government’s pocketbook – the people should authorize all tax increases. Democrats believe that government knows what is best for individuals. They argue that federal bureaucrats better understand the needs of a community than a locally elected council and the federal government should define the tax burden necessary to meet its obligations, because this is too complicated for individuals to comprehend (Levendusky, 2009).
Defense and Military
Democrats promote deploying lesser military force and prefer lowering military and intelligence services’ expenses. They believe in strengthening the foreign policy of the country to ensure its safety and defense and are hesitant towards the use of military force against nations. Republicans consider a strong national defense as an elementary responsibility of the government. Following 9/11, the Republicans believe in ensuring maximum safety and national defense by scaling up military resources and expenses to lessen the probability of future terrorist acts (Adamic & Glance, 2005).
Education and Civil Rights The Democratic Party does not believe in overburdening students with exams and assessments while Republicans believe that conducting assessments and tests are the best way to assess students’ intellect. Republicans believe that this asserts accountability of students as well as teachers and improves the overall educational system. Republicans have had a tendency to support freedom of individuals and condemned the age old tradition of slavery by passing a bill with majority of Republicans voting in favor of the abolition of slavery. Democrats on the other hand voted with a lesser percentage in favor of the bill which may indicate that they did not consider slavery as condemnable as the Republicans (Carsey & Layman, 2006). When examining the role of other political parties, one has to wonder why “third” parties have done so poorly at the Presidential Level. Probably the single most important reason that the United States has a two-party system is the “winner-take-all” electoral system, instead of proportional representation. In nearly all elections, the winner is the one who receives the largest number of votes. The winner does not need to have more than 50 percent of the vote, only one vote more than his or her opponents. Because a party does not gain anything by finishing second, minor parties can rarely overcome the assumption that a vote for them is “wasted.” Elections for national and most state representatives are based on single-member districts. One person represents the people within a small area, or district, of a state. No matter how many people run, the person with the largest number of votes wins. This encourages parties to become larger, spreading their “umbrellas” to embrace more voters. Parties without big groups of voters supporting them have little hope of winning, and often even have a hard time getting their candidates listed on the ballot (Carsey & Layman, 2006). Consequently, no third party has ever been able to attain major representation at the Presidential Level. The role of the campaign process in maintaing the two-party system is as follows:
The campaign process involves campaigning for financing, resourcing and media coverage. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) provides major parties a huge sum for their campaign and Democratic/ Republican National Committees serve as central groups that manage finances and other volunteer activities for the campaigns. On the contrary, third parties are denied any substantial funds and are only eligible for it when they win at least ten states or acquire 5% representation. With fewer resources allocated to minor parties, their chance of winning is quite grim as they are unable to hire technical experts and political intelligence the way majorarity parties are alloted. In the absence of any representative party committees for minor parties, ballot access drives are also constrained. Media coverage which is a crucial part of any successful modern-day election campaign is minimal for third parties while Democrats and Republicans receive enormous press exposure. All these campaigning strategies have contributed in upholding the two-party system (Levendusky, 2009).
In conclusion, the analysis in this document shows that electoral systems are central processes that govern political parties and the overall phenomenon of democracy. The emergence and persistence of two major political parties in the history of the American political scenario has been a noteworthy journey.

References
Auerbach, M. (2015). U.S. Politics: Political Parties. Research Starters. Retrieved from Strayer Library Website: eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=25&sid= 4ac37165-76ae-439a-af9f-0463a6e253cf%40sessionmgr4002&hid=4105
Adamic, L. A., & Glance, N. (2005). The political blogosphere and the 2004 US election: divided they blog. In Proceedings of the 3rd international workshop on Link discovery (pp. 36-43). ACM, retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1134277 on May 6, 2014
Carsey, T. M., & Layman, G. C. (2006). Changing sides or changing minds? Party identification and policy preferences in the American electorate. American Journal of Political Science, 50(2), 464-477.
Levendusky, M. (2009). The partisan sort: How liberals became Democrats and conservatives became Republicans. University of Chicago Press, retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=O0mTXyhQnD8C&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=democrat+and+republican+ideologies&ots=M1dwS3ydu0&sig=6zos5dmkW7yIQLKKm-qJOncAuhI#v=onepage&q=democrat%20and%20republican%20ideologies&f=false.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Political Parties and Electoral Process

...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......

Words: 839 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Political Parties and the Electoral Process

...1. Identify three to four (3-4) ideological differences between America’s two (2) major political parties. Political ideology is known to be a certain set of ethical ideals, principles, myths, doctrines, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, etc that explains how society should work and offers their political and cultural blueprint for a certain order. In America, we have various parties including two major political parties known as Democrat and Republican. Both parties both agree and have and ideas on how to run the country and what’s acceptable and not acceptable. Like any other party, both Democrats and Republicans may have some similar views but also have different views or beliefs that separate them. • One ideological difference between the Democrat and Republican parties is their view on personal security. The Democrat party believe that governments should not only secure the U.S. borders but to also advance on personal security. This belief has been translated into policies that extend health care access to as many citizens as possible, raising the minimum wage and expanding unemployment insurance as a result. Republicans on the other hand, vigorously opposes this use of government, insisting that we should not be compelled to our brothers’ keeper. It is known that of the 13 states that have refused the offer of the federal government to pay 100 percent of the costs to expand health care coverage, 12 of them are Republican controlled. Republicans......

Words: 856 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Relationship Between Electoral Process and Stability in Nigeria

...to the study Structured election process is one of the indicators of stability in Nigeria’s democracy. Elections in Nigeria continue to elicit more than casual interest by Nigerian scholars due to the fact that despite the appreciation that only credible election can consolidate and sustain the country’s nascent democracy, over the years, Nigeria continues to witness with growing disappointments and apprehension inability to conduct peaceful, free and fair, open elections whose results are widely accepted and respected across the country (Ekweremadu, 2011). All the elections that have ever been conducted in Nigeria since independence have generated increasingly bitter controversies and grievances on a national scale because of the twin problems of mass violence and fraud that have become central elements of the history of elections and of the electoral process in the country (Gberie, 2011). Despite the marked improvement in the conduct of the 2011 elections, the process was not free from malpractices and violence (National Democratic Institute, 2012). Thus over the years, electoral processes in the history of Nigeria’s democratic governance have continued to be marred by extraordinary display of rigging, dodgy, “do or die” affair, ballot snatching at gun points, violence and acrimony, thuggery, boycotts, threats and criminal manipulations of voters' list, brazen falsification of election results, the use of security agencies against political opponents and the intimidation......

Words: 23070 - Pages: 93

Premium Essay

To Which Extent Does Party-List Proportional Representation Provide Political Participation of Minorities in Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Namibia?

...TO WHICH EXTENT DOES PARTY-LIST PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION PROVIDE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF MINORITIES IN BENIN, GUINEA-BISSAU AND NAMIBIA? Pavel Pylypcuk, Alexandra Sidorova Aalborg University 2014 Table of contents 1. Introduction 3 I. PART 5 2. Electoral system 5 2.1. Types of electoral system 6 2.2. Proportional representation 6 2.3. Party-list proportional representation 7 II. PART 8 3. Structure of case studies 8 4. Benin 9 4.1. Historical introduction and the electoral system 9 4.2. Elections to National Assembly in years 1991-2007 10 4.3. Political parties in Benin: profile, electorate and interactions 11 4.4. Conclusion 12 5. Guinea-Bissau 13 5.1. Historical introduction and the electoral system 13 5.2. Elections to National People's Assembly in years 1994-2008 14 5.3. Political parties in Guinea-Bissau: profile, electorate and interactions 15 5.4. The electoral process in Guinea-Bissau 16 5.5. Conclusion 17 6. Namibia 18 6.1. Historical introduction and the electoral system 18 6.2. Elections to National Assembly in years 1989-2009 19 6.3. Political parties in Namibia: profile, electorate and interactions 20 6.4. The electoral process in Namibia 21 6.5. Conclusion 23 7. Final conclusion 24 8. Bibliography 26 1. Introduction Electoral systems are considered as an instrument, which can relatively quickly and......

Words: 9889 - Pages: 40

Premium Essay

The Pros And Cons Of Abolishing The Electoral College

...The existence of defined and disparate political parties and the Electoral College creates the environment for subversion within the political arena undermining national security. The current American political system is no longer working! Corporations and millionaires now own the political parties resulting in political candidates representing the needs and desires of those entities instead of their constituents - the American people. “Six major corporations donated anywhere from five to seven figures to political organizations during the 2010 election cycle” (Wilson 2010). These companies include News Corp., General Electric, National Amusements, Comcast Corp., Time Warner, and Walt Disney Co. An election is impossible to win without the...

Words: 1258 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Gfjiutyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

...Electoral reform is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results. That can include reforms of: * Voting systems, such as proportional representation, a two-round system (runoff voting), instant-runoff voting, Instant Round Robin Voting called Condorcet Voting, approval voting, citizen initiatives and referendums and recall elections. * Vote-counting procedures * Rules about political parties, typically changes to election laws * Eligibility to vote * How candidates and political parties are able to stand (nomination rules) and how they are able to get their names onto ballots (ballot access) * Electoral constituencies and election district borders * Ballot design and voting equipment * Scrutineering (election monitoring by candidates, political parties, etc.) * Safety of voters and election workers * Measures against bribery, coercion, and conflicts of interest * Financing of candidates' and referendum campaigns * Factors which affect the rate of voter participation (voter turnout) Electoral Reforms in India: Issues and Challenges before theElection Commission INTRODUCTION “An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul  concerned  in it.”  - George Bernard Shaw Electoral reform means introducing fair electoral systems for conducting fair elections. It alsoincludes recuperation of the existing systems to enhance and......

Words: 8277 - Pages: 34

Premium Essay

Elections, Electoral Reforms and Post-Election Violence: Problems and Way Forward

...ELECTIONS, ELECTORAL REFORMS AND POST- ELECTION VIOLENCE: PROBLEMS AND WAY FORWARD BY IRABOR PETER ODION DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL STUDIES COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, IGUEBEN, EDO STATE 07037830536. p24real2000@yahoo.com ABSTRACT In the contemporary world of today, elections have become the most accepted means of changing the government. Although history has shown that it is usually difficult to hold elections that are free and fair. But the importance of a good electoral act cannot be underestimated especially in a developing country like Nigeria where elections were reported to be marred by irregularities by foreign and local observers. It is on this basis that this paper critically observed, even with the electoral reforms carried out, the reasons why there were violence after the 2011 general election and recommended that adopting the basic part of the reforms, devolvement of power at the centre are other plausible way forward to true and sustainable democratic system in Nigeria. INTRODUCTION The electoral system of any given country plays a fundamental role in sustaining and moulding the political behaviour of its citizens (Okolo,2000). The way and manner election is conducted in a country goes a long way to determine the level of poltical culture, political participation and good governance in...

Words: 5044 - Pages: 21

Free Essay

Life

...Political Studies (1998), XLVI, 572±588 Parties, Party Systems, and Satisfaction with Democratic Performance in The New Europe CHRISTOPHER J. ANDERSON1 Introduction Political parties and the party systems they form constitute the major channels of interest aggregation and citizen input in contemporary democracies. They are the vehicles through which political elites supply policy alternatives, and they constitute the major route for citizens to organize the demand for such alternatives.2 Parties also play a crucial role in the nature of democratic governance because they help legitimize the state. After all, free and fair elections in which parties compete for oce are a prime criterion for whether a system should be considered a democracy in the ®rst place. Outside of elections, political parties also have long been the most important mediating institutions between citizens and the state, in particular as parties have taken on the roles as simultaneous agents both of the state and its citizens.3 While virtually all democracies have political parties that compete for oce, political systems di€er in a number of important ways with regard to how they go about channeling inputs or providing policy alternatives, and with regard to the roles they assign parties in this process. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the ways in which political institutions condition the formation, functioning, and development of political parties and party systems varies......

Words: 8246 - Pages: 33

Premium Essay

Essay On Electoral College Should Be Abolished

...our choices and select our next president. We hope that as they vote, they are truly representing the vote that we just completed in that booth. We can all agree that while the process created with 13 states in 1787 was fair and...

Words: 1058 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Elections

...Plot 496 Abogo Largema Street, CBD, Abuja Email: alliwo@yahoo.co.uk; Mobile: 08035991377 ABSTRACT Elections are essential in a democracy and are fundamental features of representative democracy.. When free, fair and transparent, they confer credibility and legitimacy on the outcome. However, Nigeria's electoral history has always been marred by various levels of violence with grave implications for the polity. Since return of democratic rule in 1999, Nigeria, has conducted elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 but with an ever increasing rise in electoral violence. The April 2011 elections, which benefitted from the electoral reform efforts of President Yar ‗Adua, and was considered the most credible since the return to democracy also turned out to be the most violent as the country witnessed an orgy of bloodshed after the elections. The 2015 elections were to be held against the background of a prediction about the disintegration of Nigeria against the background of several socio-economic, political and security challenges, including insurgency in the nation‘s North East. The emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a formidable opposition to the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) fifteen year rule also added more tension to the charged atmosphere of the elections. The Peace Initiatives which started immediately after the 2011 elections attracted the attention of stakeholders including development partners, non-governmental organisations and eventually the government......

Words: 9153 - Pages: 37

Premium Essay

Political Parties

...Political Parties and the Electoral Process Clara O Ebulu U.S. Government - POL 110 December 13, 2014 Ideological differences between America’s Political Parties Political ideology is known to be a certain set of ethical ideals, principles, myths, doctrines, or symbols of a social movement, institution, and class that explains how society should work and offers their political and cultural blueprint for a certain order. In America, we have various parties including two major political parties known as Democrat and Republican. One ideological difference between the Democrat and Republican parties is their view on personal security. The Democrat party believe that governments should not only secure the U.S. borders but to also advance on personal security. This belief has been translated into policies that extend health care access to as many citizens as possible, raising the minimum wage and expanding unemployment insurance as a result. Republicans on the other hand, vigorously opposes this use of government, insisting that we should not be compelled to our brothers’ keeper. A second ideological difference between the two parties is personal liberty. Democrats believe that governments should not only secure our borders but also advance our personal security.  As reflected in recently enacted state laws, that belief translates into policies extending health care access to as many as possible, raising the minimum wage and expanding unemployment insurance......

Words: 1340 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

The Electoral College: the Fear of Mobocracy

...The Electoral College: The Fear of Mobocracy Katherine Kinert Olympic College, Bremerton Abstract The Electoral College is a very important part of the United States Electoral System. However, very few Americans actually understand how it works. The lack of political efficacy in this country is a large reason of why some people do not think the Electoral College should be abolished. However, as Eric Black (2012) stated in an article on PBS News Hour, “Polls for many years have reliably shown that a majority of Americans would prefer a straightforward popular vote for the presidency.” Originally the Electoral College was established to prevent majority factions from having too much power causing mobocracy to occur. However, this system is outdated and the conditions that prompted the founding fathers to institute this precaution no longer exist today. Also, the fact that almost all the states use a winner-take-all system to determine which candidate gets all of the electoral votes for the state. Will abolishing the Electoral College rid the United States from mobocracy? Introduction The Electoral College is outdated and does not follow the true spirit of American Democracy. David Stewart (2013), a lawyer in Washington, D.C., states that, “Because most people knew little about public events or leaders from distant states, the convention delegates reasoned, they would not make a wise choice between presidential candidates.” Today, people have access to information through......

Words: 2333 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Electronic Voting System in Punp

...the most crucial stages in the election process. Failure to complete the count and transmit results in a quick, transparent and accurate manner can jeopardize public confidence in the elections and will directly affect whether candidates and political parties accept the final results.” (The ACE Encyclopedia) Block Voting (BV) belongs to the “family” of plurality / majority Electoral Systems (The other two big “families” being proportional, or mixed Electoral Systems) and is in fact a first-past-the-post (FPTP) system with the difference that it occurs in multi-member districts with voters having as many votes as there are positions to be filled. In a five-member constituency for example, the five candidates with the largest number of votes are elected, regardless of the actual percentage level of votes they receive. In BV systems, voters are usually free to vote for individual candidates regardless of party affiliation, but they are not entitled to cast the same vote more than once. Voters are also most often free to not use all the votes they are entitled to if they like. (In other words, in the above case of five seats, the voter could choose to only vote for three candidates for example and leaving the remaining two votes empty). The rationale for using BV is generally known to be the possibility to provide a good opportunity to retain voters' ability to vote for individuals while at the same time increasing the role of political parties...

Words: 1653 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

How the Electoral College Works

...The Electoral College: How it works Axia College University of Phoenix How do we elect the President? Many people do not understand the process by which we elect the President. They do not understand how the Electoral College works. Bill Stern (Andrews, 1996) said, “Our elections are free, it's in the results where eventually we pay.” Oftentimes, people vote based on public opinion or information obtained by the media. Voters should inform themselves on how the Electoral College works in order to make good decisions when voting for the president. Electoral College delegates elect the President. Voters elect Electoral College delegates. The Electoral College was created as a compromise between election by Congress or popular vote for the presidential election process. At the time, some politicians believed an election by popular vote was not good for the country, and others did not want to give that much power to the Congress. Although the Electoral College has had critics and controversy since its beginning, it has delivered a President and a Vice President in 54 elections. Our founding fathers formed the Electoral College in Article II, Section I, of the United States Constitution, it states, “each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress (U.S. Constitution, 1787)”. The Constitution does not state...

Words: 2577 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Electoral College Dbq

...The electoral college serves as vital tool in the presidential election process. Since the early days of our history, we have had a federalist-republican form of government with the electoral college helping decide the presidency. It was created in the early days of the constitutional convention of 1787, so as to limit uneducated voters power in the election,and to leave the vote into the hands of informed people, and still remains part of our system today. The electoral college functions as so, if a presidential candidate wins the majority of the population in one state, then the state and it’s electoral votes go to that candidate, after a certain threshold of 270 electoral votes has been reached, that person becomes the president, most of...

Words: 1315 - Pages: 6