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American Government
Unit 2: Political Parties, Voting, and Elections
Chapter 16, Section 1: Development of Political Parties (Prezi)
A group of people with broad common interests who organize to win elections,
control government, and influence government policies.
One-Party Systems
In these systems, that one party is the government. These party leaders set
government policy.
Examples: Communist Cuba and North Korea
Theocracy: A form of government in which the country is ran by __________________
leaders. In these nations, like Iran, the clergy controls the party. All other parties are
either outlawed or are inactive.
Multi-Party Systems-- Many countries have multiparty systems. France has 5 major
parties. Italy has more than 10. Voters have many options on election day, and
many ideologies are represented. Often, coalition governments must be formed
after the elections.
Many coalitions often break down, and new ________________________ are required.
Many multiparty nations are politically unstable.
Two-party systems: Only about a dozen countries in the world have two-party
systems, including the United States. Many of our Founders, like Washington,
warned against them. Nevertheless, two emerged at the end of his second term: the
Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.
Our two parties today: Republicans use the symbol of the ________________________.
Democrats use the symbol of the _______________________.
The role of minor parties--Third Party: Any party other than one of the two major
parties in a country. Third parties all agree on one thing: that the two major parties
aren't meeting the needs of the people.
Single issue parties, like the Free Soil Party in the 1840s are narrowly focused and
are generally short-lived.
Other type minor parties: Ideological (broad ideas). Third parties can greatly sway a
major election, even if that candidate doesn't _____________________.
Party Organization: 16.2
Political Parties in America like Republicans and Democrats are very
____________________. They have permanent offices with full-time employees.
-During elections, they rely on not only their full-time employees, but masses of
volunteers who are interested in getting their candidates elected to office.
Parties also seek out the help of professionals for various reasons, such as preparing
commercials, pollsters to take opinion polls, and writers to prepare speeches for the
Membership and Organization:

-Democrats and Republicans are organized into 50 state parties and thousands of
local parties that operate independently of the national organization (although all
three levels generally cooperate, different authority exists at the various levels).
-In many states (like Nebraska) voters identify themselves with a particular party.
People can list themselves as __________________________ as well.
-People who belong to a political party typically do so because they support most of
its candidates. Both Republican and Democratic Parties do everything they can do
attract people.
-Many people do nothing beyond voting--meaning they often dont attend meetings
or donate money. But some do, and ones level of involvement is optional.
-The basic local unit in a political partys organization is the ______________________.
This voting district can range in size from just a few voters to thousands of voters.
They all cast their ballots at the same place.
-People often go to vote at regular places in the community like churches,
community centers, etc.
-Each state has a state central committee, which is usually made up of people from
the countys party organizations.
-The national party organization has two main parts: the national convention and
national committee.
National convention: gathering of party members and local and state party officials.
It meets every four years, primarily to nominate the partys ______________________
and vice-presidential candidates. Beyond this, it has very little authority.
National Committee: comprised of various state officials and some members of
Congress may sit on the national committee as well.
-The partys national chairperson is often in the news making statements about the
party. They are elected by that national committee and manage the daily operations
of the party.
The Constitution does not provide for political parties or even mention them. Yet,
political parties have been around for a long time and are an essential part of the
American democratic system and election process.
-Through the election process, the people select the officials who will
_______________________ them.
-Political parties seek men and women who appear to have a good chance of being
Party Organization
Each party does its best to educate the public on issues and give their own take on
Politicians at the local, state, and federal levels all try to stay informed in what their
party beliefs are.
Political parties also dispense patronage, or favors given to reward party loyalty, to
their members. These favors often include jobs, contracts, and appointments to
government positions.
For example, a worker who helps get someone elected may later get offered a job in
that persons office or administration.

The party that is out of power in the ________________________ or executive branch

assumes the role of watchdog over the government.
It observes the party that is in power, criticizes it, and offers solutions to political
If the opposition party does this successfully, public opinion might swing in its favor
and return it to power in a future election. This has happened many, many times
before and will continue to happen.
Party Organization
To win elections, parties realize they must appeal to a large audience. Their goal is
to state their beliefs but appeal to as many people as they can.
If their views are very unpopular, they will likely be forced to make changes to their
Nominating Candidates: 16.3
National conventions are the climax of a long process of choosing a partys
presidential and vice-presidential ______________________.
-To win elections, a party must offer appealing candidates and conduct expensive
campaigns. Party nominations are typically hard-fought contests.
Incumbents are those who currently hold
office and are running for re-election.
Although election laws vary greatly from state to state, all candidates reach the
ballot through one or more of these methods:
1. _______________________
2. nominating convention
3. primary election
4. petition
Caucus: were held early in our nations history and they used to choose nearly all
candidates for office.
-Private meeting of party leaders
-Modern caucuses are more democratic than in years past and they allow more
people to participate
-Candidates are selected at the neighborhood level, then county, congressional
district, and then at the _______________________ level.
-19 states still use them today
Nominating Conventions: as political caucuses came under attack for not being
open and democratic enough, these became more popular.
-Under this system, local party organizations send representatives to a county
nominating convention that selects candidates for a state convention. The state
convention selects candidates for statewide office and chooses delegates to go to
the national convention.
-In theory they were more democratic than caucuses because the power flowed
from the bottom up, but people called ______________________ ended up choosing
-Public reaction turned against them in the 1900s and convinced many states to use
the primary system and elections to select candidates.

Primary elections: the method most commonly used today to nominate candidates
is the primary (sometimes called a direct primary). Here, candidates square off
against each other and let the voters decide the winner.
Closed primary: only members of that party can vote (only Republicans can vote for
Republican candidates, Dems for Democratic candidates).
Open primary: all voters may participate, even if they dont _____________________ to
that party.
Primaries are held according to each states laws and theyre at places general
elections are held.
-Each state sets the date of its primary, provides the ballots and the workers, and
counts the votes.
-In most states a primary candidate doesnt need to win a majority, just a plurality
(meaning more votes than anyone else).
-In some states, if no one gets a majority, a runoff primary is held.
Petition: under this method, a person announces his or her candidacy and files
petitions that a specified number of voters have to sign in order for it to be placed
on the _____________________.
In a primary, the party-backed candidate will have an advantage because they get
the support of the partys resources (money and people willing to work).
Established leaders dont like primaries because it creates a certain civil war
against people from their own party. Information used against established leaders is
often later used by the opposing party in the November general election.
Presidential Nominations:
Most consider this to be the most exciting election in America. People talk about
presidential contenders four years down the road the very next day after an election
(the cycle never stops).
A ticket is a list of candidates for office (president and vice-president). For example,
Obama and Biden in 2008 and 2012.
Nominating Candidates
From 1800 and 1824, congressional leaders from each party met in secret and
selected their partys ticket.
-In the presidential election of 1824, _______________________________ made the
caucus system an issue, saying that a small group of representatives did not speak
for the entire nation.
-Jackson lost the election but his revolt against King Caucus made many people
see the flaws in the caucus system.
A minor political party, the Anti-Masons, held the first national convention in 1831,
and the two major parties quickly copied the idea.
-Since 1832, a convention of party members has chosen major party presidential
By 1996, presidential primaries existed in 44 states and were part of the selection
process for about three-fourths of the delegates to the two national conventions.
-Like other primary elections, presidential _________________________ operate under a
wide variety of state laws.

-Some states give their delegates as a winner take all and other states give
delegates proportional to how many the candidate won. Democrats are
proportional, Republicans use both systems.
There are a few criticisms of presidential primaries:
1. They are too long. From February to June of the election year, these drag out
a long time.
2. They seem to make the candidate the biggest issue instead of the issues
3. Relatively few people vote in primaries. So, the winner of a primary might not
be as popular as the victory would indicate.
The National Convention announces its choice for president. Both the Republican
and Democratic parties have their own.
-They choose cities they feel are _________________________ towards their goals.
A partys platform is a statement of its principles. They spell out the issues vital to
their mission.
A partys planks are the various issues that exist within a party. For example, some
Democrats in 1968 supported the Vietnam War. So, these planks can create issues
within a party accepting the overall platform.
A presidential candidate gets to select their vice presidential running mates.
-Vice presidential candidates are always strategic in nature. They are typically
chosen to balance out the ______________________________.
Election Campaigns: 17.1
Every two ___________________, national elections are held that select all of our
representatives and one-third of our senators. Elections are an ongoing part of
American life.
Candidates for president must spend a great deal of time organizing their
campaigns--raising money, giving speeches, kissing babies, etc.
Elections for the presidency are intense--especially so after the national conventions
held in the late-summer.
The campaigns end on election day, which is always held on the Tuesday after the
first Monday in _____________________________.
To win: candidates must secure 270 electoral votes (there are 538 total--the number
of reps in the House, plus Senators and 3 electoral votes from Washington, D.C.).
This number is a simple majority.
Presidential candidates typically pay the most attention to states in which:
-there is a large population
-there is uncertainty over which party will win the state (swing states)
They dont spend as much time in states where:
-there isnt a big _______________________.
-they realistically dont have a chance to win
A candidate who secures the 11 largest states will win the presidency because they
have so many electoral votes (although this is highly unlikely).
-States like California and Texas are huge--but Democrats will almost guaranteed to
win California, and Republicans will be almost guaranteed to win Texas, for example.

Candidates have to appeal to a broad range of people, because in swing states

like Ohio, Colorado, and North Carolina, either party could _________________________
win the election. So, candidates have to attract a wide range of supporters.
-Social media and television are big in election years
-A candidates image means a lot and they spend a great deal of time and money
to project the right one
A major campaign for political office is ran by a campaign manager. They are
responsible for the overall strategy and planning of the campaign.
-In national campaigns, these campaign managers will deal with television, radio,
and the print media. They will also handle finances, advertising, opinion polls, and
campaign materials.
Television is critical for presidential candidates. Every election cycle there are three
major debates between __________________________.
-In 2008, 70 million people watched the debates between vice-presidential
candidates Joe Biden (Democrat) and Sarah Palin (Republican)
Election Campaigns
The internet is also key in reaching audiences. Candidates for nearly every office,
from county clerk, city council, school board, etc. all the way to the president use
the internet to try and gain support.
The public can use the internet to learn about a candidate, and
___________________money if they want to.
Financing Campaigns:
Running for office is very expensive. In the 2008 elections, presidential and
congressional candidates spent more than $4 billion.
Candidates need money for office space, staff salaries, travel, and advertising.
Once elected, many politicians feel the need to reward those who helped them get
in office (patronage).
Campaign financing is regulated. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971
and its later amendments (1974, 1976, and 1979) provide regulations that apply to
campaign financing.
The 1974 amendment created the Federal Election Commission as an independent
agency in the executive branch to _______________________federal election laws.
The 1974 campaign finance law established public funding for presidential
-Presidential candidates can accept federal funding from the Presidential Election
Campaign Fund for primary campaigns and the general election but must agree to
limit their total campaign spending.
-From 1976 to 2004, all major party candidates accepted these funds for the
general election. Third-party candidates can received funds if their party received at
least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election.
In every election, most campaign funding comes from private sources, such as
individual citizens, parties, corporations, and special-interest groups.
Donations to candidates also come from political action committees, or PACs. PACs
are established by special interest groups to raise ____________________ to support
candidates or parties.

Soft money-contributions given directly to a party by PACs or individuals for general

purposes, like mailings, etc. They werent regulated in the same way as other
In 2002, Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold sponsored a bill to place new
controls on campaign spending, called The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BRCA).
It targeted issue _____________________ and soft money donations to national political
parties. In 2000, each major party had raised more than $250 million in soft money
BRCA banned soft money contributions, but raised the limit for individual direct
donations to $2,000.
In 2010, Citizens United v. FEC allowed corporations to donate to candidates and in
2014, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no limit to how much wealthy donors
can give to presidential candidates.
So-called Super PACs can raise intense sums of money for candidates. Some
candidates run as non candidates so they dont have to follow the same
guidelines as those officially running.
Influences on Voters: 17.3
Five major factors that influence voters:
1.) Personal background of voter
a. _______________________
b. Education
c. Religion
d. Racial or ethnic background
2.) Degree of voter loyalty to one of the political parties
a. Not all people who consider themselves Republicans vote Republican
with complete consistency
b. Straight-party ticket is when you vote only for your party
3.) Issues of the campaign
a. Voters arent always __________________________ on the issues (this has
gotten better over time, largely due to television and more people going to college).
b. candidates use issues of the day to attack and/or defend their elections
4.) Voters image of the candidates
-If voters believe that a candidate has done a good job, they may reward him
or her with re-election
-Perception in politics means a lot--whether someone is trustworthy,
intellectual, steady under pressure, etc.
5.) Propaganda
-Political parties, interest groups, and ______________________ need to convince
people about the value of their candidates
-Propaganda isnt necessarily lying or deception, but it isnt objective, either.
-Candidates will try to use the feelings of the electorate to sway people in their
direction, or away from their opponents
Profile of Regular Voters
-In general, the more _______________________ a person has, the more likely they are
to be a regular voter

-Middle-aged voters have the highest turnout rates for voting. Also, the more a
person makes, the more likely they are to vote
Profile of Nonvoters:
-Some dont meet state voting requirements (citizenship or residency--have to live
there for a certain time in some states)
-49 states require people to register to vote, and some dont or wont fulfill this
-In the 1960 Presidential Election, 62% of Americans voted. In 2000, it was just over
-Ideas on improving voter turnout:
a. Switch Election Day from Tuesday to Sunday
b. Allow people to register on election day, and allow a national registration,
which would allow registration to follow a person from state to state
Your Elected Officials
Mayor: Dwight Livingston
State Senator: Mike Groene
Governor: Pete ________________________.
U.S. House of Rep: Adrian Smith
U.S. Senators: Deb Fischer and Ben ___________________.