Part 1- Individual Rights and the Obligations of Government / Part 2- Voter and Voter Turnout

User Generated




Part 1

Reflect: Our political system is characterized by certain fundamental features to include a system of laws, rights, and liberties. The laws, created and supported by the Constitutional framework, are designed to protect and secure the rights and liberties of individuals and groups throughout the United States. However, the government also must provide for the security of its citizens from serious internal and external threats that could cause severe damage to our country. Think about how the need for homeland and national security can create a dilemma where conflicts emerge between these security needs and the demands for civil rights and liberties.

Write: Explain what obligations the U.S. government has towards its citizens and how these obligations impact individual and group rights.

Provide real-world examples to support your explanation, including one personal example from your own experiences.

Using your personal example, explain the position of the two major parties and a third party, regarding the example you presented.

Must be at least 300 words. If you are citing statistics our outside resources, please list the website or the reference entry in APA format.

Part 2

Reflect: The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among modern democratic political systems. During the last decade, many initiatives have been undertaken to increase voter participation, yet concerns about the possibility of election fraud have also increased. Additionally, some political interests feel threatened by the increase in turnout among some traditionally low-turnout ethnic minorities. Several states have recently passed legislation imposing new registration and identification requirements. This has sparked debate about whether these are tactics intended to suppress turnout or to prevent fraud. Think about the media’s role in the election process and how both mass media and social media can impact the election process. How has the media’s role changed in recent years, especially considering President Trump’s stance on “fake news”?

Write: Describe voter ID laws in a state of your choosing. Summarize any recent developments or controversies regarding voter ID laws in the state you have chosen.

Analyze and describe the pros and cons on both sides of the debate about these laws.

Is voter fraud a major problem for our democracy, or are some groups trying to make it harder for some segments of society to vote?

Analyze the impact that media (mass and social) has had in influencing public opinion, specifically regarding voter ID laws.

How was the Trump/Clinton election in 2016 impacted by voter laws and the media?

Must be at least 300 words. If you are citing statistics our outside resources, please list the website or the reference entry in APA format.

To be used as a references (in addition to the attachments)

Fine, T. S., & Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2016). American government (2nd ed.).

I will later attach chapters 8-12

Unformatted Attachment Preview

12 The Mass Media Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais Learning Objectives By the end of this chapter, you should be able to • • • • • Describe the evolution of the media in American politics. Outline the role of the media in political campaigns. Demonstrate how the media monitors and influences government. Examine the role of the Internet as a contemporary media source. Analyze media bias and the role of the media in shaping public opinion. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 281 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Evolution of the Media in American Politics Section 12.1 On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black teenager and recent high school graduate, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot at least six times, including two shots to the head, one of which resulted in Brown’s death. On November 24, the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that Wilson would not be indicted by a grand jury. Demonstrations and protests erupted after both the police shooting and the grand jury’s decision. The media was criticized for its coverage of these events and for inadvertently fueling the subsequent violence because of how it portrayed the Ferguson story. Some television stations presented the public’s response as consisting solely of riots and excessive property damage; other media outlets indicated that the crowds were protesting corruption in the Ferguson police department. Many argue that the media shaped the events in Ferguson by influencing how the public both outside and inside Ferguson responded to the protests. In essence, critics suggest that how the media framed the issue shaped public perception of the events that unfolded in August and later in November. For example, several major news outlets, including the New York Times, printed only Officer Wilson’s account of the events the next day and did not report the story from any other vantage point. The New York Times reported St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar’s statements from a news conference that indicated that Brown had been shot and killed after he and another man had assaulted Wilson and that Brown and Wilson had struggled inside a patrol car. At least one shot was fired from inside the car, the police chief claimed. This report placed the blame for the event solely on Michael Brown and his accomplice. Questions later emerged as to who had begun the altercation in the vehicle, whether the first shot had been fired inside or outside the car, and how far away Officer Wilson had been when he had shot the remaining bullets. Critics of the reporting also questioned why the New York Times did not ask what would motivate a recent high school graduate to assault a police officer as well as why Officer Wilson would leave his patrol car. In essence, the New York Times and other media outlets were criticized for not investigating whether there was another side to the story. It was not for another two days, amid protest and criticism, that the New York Times and other well-known and highly used media outlets reported something other than the police department’s version of events. Critics suggest that the way the events were handled by the police, along with the media reporting, provoked the protests and riots. The mass media plays many roles and serves multiple functions in American politics. Some say that it is the “fourth branch” of government, which means that it checks the other branches, while others suggest that the mass media shapes the relationship between the public and government. Protecting the public, filtering information, and setting the public’s agenda as to what government should do round out the roles of the media. This chapter will include a discussion of how media has evolved in American politics, focusing on its functions of reporting the news and serving as a vehicle for campaign advertising. Finally, this chapter will address concerns about media bias. The chapter will be framed within the context of how technology has influenced the emergence of the mass media. 12.1 The Evolution of the Media in American Politics The notion that the media is an effective mechanism for informing the public about and influencing the public’s relationship with government is not a new one. During the French and © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 282 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Evolution of the Media in American Politics Section 12.1 Indian War (also called the Seven Years’ War), which took place between 1754 and 1763, a political cartoon composed by Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) and published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754 depicted the colonists’ lack of unity. The cartoon, titled “Join, or Die,” represents a snake cut into eight parts with each part representing most of the 13 colonies, as either individual colonies or regions. The cartoon was published to accompany Franklin’s editorial about the fractured experience of the colonies, which contributed to colonists’ collective struggles and desire to support Great Britain in winning the French and Indian War. The cartoon later came to be seen as a call for independence and a symbol of the colonists’ pursuit of freedom during the American Revolutionary War. Soon after the French and Indian War, the British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act in 1765 to raise revenue to pay for the costs of the war. Requiring a stamp on every piece of printed paper not only added to the cost of doing business but also limited the level of the public’s information about government. Fewer people purchased newspapers because the stamp increased the cost. One other use of the media during colonial times was as a call to action. In January 1776, Thomas Paine Everett Collection/SuperStock (1737–1809) published Common “Join, or Die” is a political cartoon created by Benjamin Sense, which encouraged colonists Franklin in 1754 showing the disunity of the colonies to seek independence from Great and advocating for unity. Britain. The pamphlet accused King George III of England of tyranny, challenged his right to hold power over the colonists, and blamed him for treating the colonists unfairly. Paine also wrote that the colonies needed a written constitution with a set of rules that everyone would have to follow and a government that could not abuse its power. These three examples show how the media affected the colonists and how a free media was a meaningful priority for them. The use of political cartoons to take a point of view as well as advocate a call to action demonstrated the positive effects of a free media, while the Stamp Act showed the colonists how limits on the media affected the flow of information. The First Amendment and Freedom of the Press Recall that one of the key debates over whether to ratify the U.S. Constitution focused on whether an enumerated bill of rights should be included. Opponents of the proposed Constitution, the Anti-Federalists, thought it was important for the Constitution to include a bill of rights. This listing of specific rights included protections of freedom of the press, among others. The Bill of Rights was eventually added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, and it included the First Amendment, which reads: © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 283 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Evolution of the Media in American Politics Section 12.1 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The fact that freedom of the press was included in the first 10 amendments to be added to the U.S. Constitution is evidence of the primacy of a free press. The First Amendment has since protected the freedom of the press in multiple ways. Freedom of the press has been protected as a news source and as a mechanism for candidates, political parties, interest groups, and advocates to communicate their messages to the people. The media has also served in a hybrid role by taking part in the political process and endorsing candidates, broadcasting campaign debates, taking positions on policy questions, and publishing diverse opinion pieces and columns produced by political elites. The Influence of Technology The media is often referred to as the black box between the public and government because the public learns most of its information about government and politics from the media. The image of a black box is fitting; individuals cannot see what is between them and the other side. The public must trust the information that they receive through the media, as they have no real means to verify it. The black box metaphor also works in reverse; government and political entities such as political parties, candidates, and interest groups know that the media is reporting on their activities. Being aware of the media’s presence shapes their behavior. Individuals on both sides of this relationship depend on the media to receive or transmit information. As technology has evolved, so has the public’s access to information about government through the media. Technological and educational advancements have broadened how the news is consumed and who consumes it. These technological and educational advancements have occurred parallel to advances in political rights. Universal suffrage is now the law of the land and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution through multiple amendments, which means that the per© Nik Wheeler/Corbis centage of citizens eligible to vote is Newspapers used to be a main source of news, but the at its height. Together, this means media has evolved to include television, the Internet, that the media can now reach far and social media for its coverage. more people and the percentage of those people eligible to vote has never been higher. The implication is that government, political parties, interest groups, and issue advocates must now reach the largest number of people ever in order to accomplish © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 284 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Evolution of the Media in American Politics Section 12.1 their objectives, and they have the technological means to do so better, faster, and through more methods of communication. The large number and percentage of people who are able to access information about government because of advances in education and literacy also contributes to increases in the number of media consumers and their consumption levels. The opportunities for the media to serve in its role as the black box of American politics have never been greater. The Rise of Regulation Associated Press/Charles Dharapak President Bush and Jo Bonner, former U.S. representative for Alabama’s first congressional district, tour the damage done during Hurricane Ivan in Orange Beach, Alabama. The president’s media coverage in this event did not fall under the equal time coverage rule of the FCC. As technology has advanced, questions have arisen as to whether the press should be free to function without government intervention and regulation. After all, if the government regulates the media, one could argue that it is limiting and shaping what the public learns about government to the government’s own advantage. For instance, the Federal Communications Act of 1934 (FCA) created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable communications throughout the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The FCA includes Section 315, the Equal Time Provision, requiring that television and radio stations give candidates seeking the same office the same opportunity to use those stations. Translated into practical terms, this means that stations give candidates seeking the same office reasonably equal news coverage with three key exceptions. First, if one of the candidates is engaged in a bona fide news event, such as an incumbent fulfilling his or her obligations of office, that coverage time is not considered in terms of determining equal time. An example of this exception took place in 2004. The state of Florida was hit by three intense (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes between August and September 2004. The last of the three hurricanes, Ivan, began at the end of the Republican National Convention. George W. Bush was running for reelection while U.S. Senator John Kerry was seeking to unseat Bush. Both Bush and Kerry traveled to Florida, one of the largest electoral vote states, to survey the hurricane damage. While coverage of Bush did not fall under the Equal Time Provision because he was surveying the damage in his role as president (a bona fide news event), coverage of Kerry, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, did fall under the provision because Kerry was spending time in Florida as the Democrats’ nominee. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 285 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Media in Political Campaigns Section 12.2 The second exception is that the media does not need to extend equal time to minor party candidates. Finally, the third exception is that the tone of the coverage does not need to be equal; one competitor may receive mostly positive coverage while another candidate for the same office may receive mostly negative coverage. In addition to the Federal Communications Act, the FCC created the Fairness Doctrine in 1949 to ensure that controversial issues would be presented in a balanced manner. The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated by the FCC in 2011, on the grounds that the Obama administration deemed the doctrine to be “outdated and obsolete.” Measures of consumer preferences, such as ratings and circulation, also influence the types of stories that the press report on, the amount of time (if on television or radio) or print (if in a newspaper, on an Internet site, or in a news magazine) devoted to any subject or story, or the overall length of the broadcast or printed text in a publication. Because press organizations are themselves private entities, their desire to succeed as corporations influences how they operate. News coverage, including campaign coverage, is no different. Coverage that does not interest the public will result in lower ratings or circulation, which affects the media outlets’ profits. Taken together, this means that media organizations make strategic choices when deciding which aspects of campaigns to cover and how that coverage will take shape. 12.2 The Media in Political Campaigns The media also takes an active role in political campaigns. Freedom of the press extends to election campaigns, where press coverage includes providing information and commentary about the candidates, issues, and political parties. The media also serves as a vehicle for candidates, political parties, interest groups, and even ordinary citizens to convey their messages during election campaigns through advertising. Each role the media plays influences the course that campaigns take, affecting the campaign messages put forward by candidates, interest groups, and political parties; the manner in which these messages are presented; and how the public receives and responds to those messages. Providing Information and Commentary The way that the media covers campaigns can have a strong impact on elections. The nomination process is especially affected by media coverage because primaries often bring out candidates who lack widespread name recognition, especially in open-seat races where there is no incumbent. The media lacks the time to give all candidates equal press coverage. Consequently, the media focuses on those candidates believed to have a serious chance at winning. Critics argue that such practices demonstrate media bias, the idea that the media chooses how news is presented to the public. These practices create a self-fulfilling prophecy where the media pays more attention to “serious” candidates. Voter interest and support then follow. The opposite is also true. If a candidate is portrayed as a loser, it is then more difficult for that candidate to raise money and other forms of support. Lacking financial and volunteer support makes it more difficult to enhance name recognition and voter support. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 286 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Media in Political Campaigns Section 12.2 Regardless, the media provides commentary on all aspects of political campaigns, including the role of the media in political campaigns. One form that such commentary takes is with cartoons that often appear in newspapers on the opinion or the comics pages. It should be noted that those news outlets that perform editorializing functions, such as newspaper editorials, retain free speech and press protections when performing these functions. This means that newspapers may endorse candidates for any office on their editorial pages, but not in any other place. Still, researchers have found that newspapers that endorse candidates tend to extend more positive news coverage toward those candidates that they have endorsed compared with candidates not endorsed by those newspapers. Scholars have noted that the news focuses far more attention on characteristics about the campaign itself—such as who is ahead or behind in public support, fundraising, or votes (the “horse race” aspects of the campaign)—than it does on information about the candidates themselves or candidate issue positions. One consequence of news organizations’ tendency to focus on horse race aspects of campaigns is that commercials and other campaign messages may end up doing a better job of informing voters about policy positions, helping voters distinguish between candidates, and educating the electorate about candidates compared with the news media. This means that campaign communication is a more essential voter information resource than is campaign-related news coverage. Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill Because there were so many 2016 Republican presidential candidates, media coverage could not accommodate all of them in the GOP debates. The candidates with lower poll ratings participated in lesspublicized debates at earlier times on the same day. This could be considered media bias. Hosting Advertising Campaign-related entities pay media outlets to advertise their messages. Unlike news coverage, where the news organizations control what they broadcast, print, or produce, campaign advertising gives candidates, interest groups, and political parties the opportunity to control their messages about themselves and their opponents. Most campaign-related advertising is available where there are the most consumers. There are far more television consumers than there are radio, Internet, newspaper, or news magazine consumers. Thus, far more campaignrelated advertising is found on television than in any other medium. Among non-television media, radio and the Internet, including social media (see section 12.4: Media and the Internet), are far more often used as campaign advertising outlets than are newspapers or news magazines. Electronic media draws far more consumers than does print media. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 287 3/24/16 1:44 PM Monitoring and Influencing Government Section 12.3 Electronic media enjoys a core advantage for reaching large audiences because these outlets are free to use, provided that one already owns or has access to a television, radio, or computer. Print media must usually be purchased in order to enjoy access, and periodic issues, such as daily, weekly, or monthly publications, render regular purchase or access necessary in order to keep current. As accessing electronic advertising is much easier than accessing print advertising is, it follows that the more readily available media will enjoy higher consumer use and will attract more campaign advertising dollars. Televised campaign advertising spots were first aired in 1952. The cost and use of television advertising has grown exponentially since then, which has resulted in shorter television spots (and, critics argue, the inclusion of less information and a greater emphasis on entertaining viewers). More recent presidential campaigns have seen television advertisement spots run from 30 to 60 seconds. Large-scale races are often contested using television, which is the most widely used news source in the United States. Television commercials tend to blanket the airwaves during highly contested elections; their short duration means that they are easily broadcast during regular television programming. However, as freedom of the press is not absolute, neither is freedom of the press in campaigns. Campaign coverage and advertising has been regulated by the federal government since the Federal Communications Act of 1934, discussed earlier. Since then, other laws have been enacted that limit and otherwise regulate campaign coverage and advertising. More recently, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) placed restrictions on campaign advertising sponsored by interest groups. BCRA bans corporate or union money from being used to pay for broadcast advertising that identifies a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or nominating convention, or within 60 days of a general election. These restrictions were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission 540 U.S. 93 (2003). 12.3 Monitoring and Influencing Government Individuals and organizations seeking to influence government will use the media to bring attention to government actions. The media also acts alone to bring attention to government actions, thereby enabling the public to use its First Amendment rights to monitor and influence government. Interest groups form to draw attention to government actions, encourage their members to interact with government and with the press, and raise money to accomplish their political and policy goals. The Media as Watchdog The Founding Fathers believed that a free media was necessary to monitor government. In fact, in a 1787 letter to Edward Carrington, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Jefferson believed that an independent media was needed to prevent government from abusing its power. Government © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 288 3/24/16 1:44 PM Monitoring and Influencing Government Section 12.3 functioning out of the spotlight might take actions violating the public interest, while a media free to watch and report on government to the people keeps government honest and the public informed. Freedom of the press allows the media to serve in a watchdog role as one means to protect individuals from the government infringing on their rights. © Bettmann/Corbis Bob Woodward (left) and Carl Bernstein research the Watergate case at their Washington Post desks. They were the two key investigative reporters covering the scandal. Media independence occurs when the media brings attention to government actions. In bringing attention to the public about government actions, the media informs the public about possible government wrongdoing. Democracies require an independent and free press to add another check and balance on the potential abuse of power. A story in the press about a Cabinet member may catch the attention of members of Congress, leading to oversight hearings into the actions of the executive branch. In this case, the press serves as a watchdog to help keep public officials honest. Related to the media’s watchdog role is the preponderance of televised campaign debates. The media plays critical roles in these debates. First, because the television networks broadcast the debates (and they are simultaneously broadcast on the radio), they have a say in various debate-related aspects, including the length of the debate (some debates last an hour, while others may last 90 minutes or more), the date that the debates take place, and whether the debates will take place toward the earlier or later part of the evening, which affects viewership in different time zones. It is unlikely that candidates would participate in debates that they were not certain would be broadcast widely. The second role that the media plays in debates is that one or more well-known news media personalities moderate the debates—they write the questions, ask follow-up questions, and oversee the debate as it transpires by ensuring that participants do not go over their allotted time and that candidates have the chance to make rebuttals if they are entitled to do so. That media personalities, and not well-known leaders from other sectors of society, moderate the debates suggests that the public perceives the media as an objective watchdog and is comfortable with the media holding this role. The Media as Gatekeeper Another way that media independence occurs is through the media’s gatekeeper role. When members of the media act as gatekeepers, they decide which information to share with the public. In deciding what the public should know, the media is deciding which stories are appropriate as well as identifying the most appropriate sources to use when reporting a story. The reason that gatekeeping is essential is that the public depends so much on the media for quality information about subjects they would otherwise have little to no access to. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 289 3/24/16 1:44 PM Monitoring and Influencing Government Section 12.3 In fact, the public now depends more than ever on the media acting in a gatekeeping role during election campaigns. Journalists engage in fact-checking when candidates make claims about their record or the record of their opponents. The Tampa Bay Times investigates politicians’ claims through a tool called PolitiFact. The truthfulness of politicians’ statements is reported to the public with such labels as “False” and “Pants on Fire” for particularly problematic claims. The Washington Post reports on the truthfulness of politicians’ statements using “Pinocchios,” where the more Pinocchios a politician’s claims are assigned, the worse the lie is. In reporting the results of its research, the media strengthens its gatekeeping role with the public and reinforces to politicians that their claims will be investigated before being reported as factual. The public and government both rely on the media taking its gatekeeping role seriously, because the public’s primary means of learning about government is through the media, and politicians depend on good coverage to earn the public’s trust. Another perspective on the media’s gatekeeping role is linked to whether a story should be reported because of concerns about national security. One well-known instance in which this issue arose was in the “Pentagon Papers” case. The U.S. Supreme Court decided New York Times v. United States in 1971 in response to President Nixon trying to keep the New York Times from publishing classified Defense Department materials that included a study of U.S. activities in Vietnam. President Nixon argued that the Defense Department materials included “classified information,” which justified that the New York Times should exercise “prior restraint” and not publish the Pentagon Papers. In Nixon’s view, national security should take precedence over freedom of the press. The U.S. Supreme Court took the side of the New York Times in a 6–3 decision that the Nixon administration did not justify the need for “prior restraint” in this situation in part because it had failed to properly outline the specific national security concerns and the threat to the safety of American forces that justified limiting the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in the Pentagon Papers case reinforces the media’s role as gatekeeper in that the decision demonstrates the media’s right to report what it deems worthy of reporting. The media’s role as gatekeeper focuses on its value to the public in keeping it informed by reporting what it deems important for the public to know, broadcasting and moderating campaign debates, conducting research on claims made by candidates and officeholders, and reporting about government actions even if the government would prefer to operate out of the public eye. The Media as Agenda Setter The primary way that government officials communicate with the citizenry is through the media. Public officials are well aware that the media is monitoring them and reporting their actions to the public; at the same time, policymakers fully understand that, if they want the public to know and understand their motives and actions, they must use the media for that purpose. The idea that the news media can influence what the public considers important is known as agenda-setting theory. Government officials manage information for public consumption in how they present issues. Issues about which government officials seek public support may involve those officials using the media for press coverage of their actions. For example, government officials will try to use the media to set the public agenda such that the media prioritizes issues that the government © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 290 3/24/16 1:44 PM Media and the Internet Section 12.4 wishes for the public to focus on and presents the information in a way that causes the public to support the government’s position on those issues. An independent media sets the public agenda as to what is important and which aspects of it the public should focus on. 12.4 Media and the Internet The media takes many forms. Various forms of more traditional media, including print (newspapers, news magazines) and broadcast (television, radio), have been discussed earlier in this chapter. Over the last generation, there has been a meaningful increase in the use of social and interactive media that has changed the face of American politics. Of particular interest is the preponderance of the Internet in American political life. The advent of the Internet began sometime in the early 1980s when the U.S. Department of Defense created a computer network whose primary purpose was to link the Pentagon to faraway military bases and defense contractors. Soon after, large research universities joined the network. At that time, its applications were limited. Since then, the Internet has become a multipurpose communication tool. Its value for education, political mobilization, information dissemination, marketing, and social networking has brought the Internet into multiple, far-reaching private and public realms. Ian Dagnall/age fotostock/SuperStock Accessing news on the Internet has become increasingly popular in the 21st century. The opportunity to disseminate real-time and immediate information updates to Internet consumers has transformed the Internet into a critical, functional link between government and citizens. It is now common for elected officials at the national, state, and local levels to publicize their email addresses on their own or government-sponsored websites. This means that citizens may now contact their elected representatives and other public officials directly. The Internet also serves as a tool for government officials and agencies to share information with their constituents. The Internet has become an established tool of political engagement because it provides a readily available opportunity for communication between citizens and the government. News organizations now enjoy a regular Internet presence. It is common for both broadcast and print media to have web pages. This means that, long before the next edition of a newspaper is printed (and distributed the following day), and hours before the next scheduled television news broadcast, media organization websites can provide up-to-the minute news updates and, as appropriate, live coverage of news events. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 291 3/24/16 1:44 PM Media and the Internet Section 12.4 The value of the Internet for political campaigns has changed campaign strategy in critical ways. The Internet is a relatively cheap way to control one’s message, and it is relatively easy to create and maintain a web page. Candidates may publish responses to recent events or opponents’ attacks within minutes of these events, and they can provide links to other Internet sites (such as those of political parties or government institutions), thereby easing navigation among various information sources. Candidates can also provide information updates, such as newly scheduled appearances, and use their Internet sites to show campaign commercials. Candidates can also carry on virtual conversations using social media, which allows individuals, organizations, businesses, and government offices and officials to create and share content or participate in virtual networks all through the Internet. Examples of social media are websites and phone applications where users can share content and interact with one another. Twitter, an online social networking service, allows users to send and read short messages (called “tweets”) to individuals and groups of persons (“followers”) who share a particular interest, such as a student environmental group. Twitter provides an inexpensive mobilization strategy for political candidates. For example, in 2008, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama had 100,000 Twitter followers before Election Day. By 2012, President Obama had more than 20 million Twitter followers by Election Day. Also in 2012, the campaign staffs affiliated with both President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney engaged in online “Twitter duels” with the intent of having the media and others read the tweets. The Internet also eases fundraising for candidates because donors may give to one or several candidates with a few mouse clicks. The low cost associated with maintaining an Internet site, coupled with the relative ease in sending out multiple email messages at little cost, increases exponentially the opportunities for candidates, political parties, and interest groups to ask for financial and volunteer support and get a fast response. One adjunct to the Internet as a news and information source is web-based logs, or blogs, which are online journals. Blogging has become a popular way for candidates, interest groups, and political parties to share and discuss information. It is not uncommon for news organization websites to have blogs or other mechanisms for news consumers to post their responses to news items and to participate in an online discussion with other interested individuals. Individuals can also create a blog with relative ease. While questions have arisen as to the validity of information found on blogs, they do provide an outlet for political discussions. Social media enhances opportunities for democratic participation with widely available technologies encouraging interaction among citizens and between citizens and government. Government use of social media to encourage citizen-government interaction has increased steadily, as has public familiarity with these tools. Governments at the local, state, and federal levels now use social media tools to engage citizens in government decision making. Participating governments use these tools to invite public input and enhance two-way communication. Public trust is enhanced when governments demonstrate their efforts to be transparent, accountable, and responsive. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 292 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Forms of Media Bias Section 12.5 Table 12.1: Civic engagement in the Digital Age Political engagement on social networking sites 60% of American adults use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter; these are some of the civic behaviors they have taken part in on these sites: % of SNS users who have done this % of all adults who have done this “Like” or promote material related to political/ social issues that others have posted 38% 23% Post your own thoughts/comments on political or social issues 34 20 31 19 21 12 Encourage other people to vote Repost content related to political/social issues Encourage others to take action on political/ social issues that are important to you Post links to political stories or articles for others to read Belong to a group that is involved in political/ social issues, or working to advance a cause Follow elected officials, candidates for office, or other public figures Total who said yes to any of the activities listed above 35 33 28 20 66% 21 19 17 12 39% “Civic Engagement in the Digital Age,” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC (April, 2013). /civic-engagement-in-the-digital-age/ 12.5 The Forms of Media Bias The role of the media in presenting information is often not balanced—the media may pre­ sent information in a way that favors one perspective (media bias), advocates a clear point of view or action (propaganda), or references or presents images to serve as information shortcuts (symbolism). Media bias may take several forms. One form of bias involves the information shared with the public. It is impossible for the media to report all information to which the public has no direct connection; thus, the media chooses what to report on and how much information to share about that news item. Another form of media bias focuses on how information is presented to the public. For example, a media story on poverty may show members of a specific race, gender, age, or ethnic group as being impoverished, which may affect how the public reacts to news stories about poverty; people’s perceptions about poverty may be shaped by their opinions about the impoverished persons portrayed in the news story. Bias may also be demonstrated in the importance given to a news item, such as by placing a news story on the front page of a newspaper or by leading with that story on a televised news program. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 293 3/24/16 1:44 PM The Forms of Media Bias Section 12.5 Propaganda is a way for government and political entities to shape or motivate political action or public opinion. For example, the government may use public information campaigns to bring about certain behaviors, such as during World War I when the federal government sponsored a campaign to encourage the public to buy liberty bonds to fund the war effort. Symbols provide the public with information shortcuts; they often replace text. Symbols may also bias public opinion and serve as propaganda tools. For example, “U.S.” is often used to represent the “United States.” The “United States” is also often represented as an older White male dressed in clothing with red and white stripes, and white stars on a blue background (the colors, symbols, and patterns of the American flag). This “person,” “Uncle Sam,” is a symbol of patriotism toward the United States and has been used to encourage individuals to fulfill civic responsibilities such as registering for the draft, paying taxes, and voting. In transmitting information to the public, political entities use the media to shape information that includes bias, symbolism, and propaganda when sharing information with the public. These communication methods influence public opinion and political behavior; how the public learns information affects the public’s reaction. The press often plays a role in shaping public opinion because what people learn through the media will affect their views on the issues being discussed. Changes in public opinion may result in the public putting pressure on government that it otherwise would not have. The media is a powerful force in American politics because it decides what it will report and how much time to devote to a particular story. As gatekeepers, newspaper editors and television news producers decide which stories are important. Editorial page editors decide what types of editorials to print. By shaping the agenda, the press can influence public opinion, which in turn can affect election outcomes. Central to media power is its ability to frame and set an agenda. Framing involves how a particular story is set up and the context in which it is presented. Framing affects how the public interprets political events and results. If news stories involving former President Bill Clinton are introduced with a reminder of his impeachment, the public might consider his presidency more in terms of his impeachment and not in terms of his political accomplishments. Similarly, setting up stories about political candidates with a discussion about the “Tea Party” can affect viewers’ preferences about that candidate. Priming is another source of media influence. Priming occurs when media coverage affects how the public evaluates political leaders and candidates. For example, priming happens when news content suggests that an audience ought to use specific benchmarks to evaluate a public official’s performance. Measuring public opinion is important to the electoral process. But it is not always clear. When members of Congress take a position on an issue, they might be responding to public opinion as reported either in polls or in what is being reported in the press. This means that the press also plays an important role in American politics. It can serve to hold public officials accountable by making it clear what the public believes on a given issue. But the press can also influence public opinion by framing the political agenda. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 294 3/24/16 1:44 PM Summary and Resources Summary and Resources Chapter Summary The mass media plays many roles and serves multiple functions in American politics. Some say that it is the “fourth branch” of government, protected by the First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press. Because the public learns the most about government through the media, the media is often called a “black box,” in that it shapes the relationship between the public and government. The media’s role is far more than a mechanism for informing the public about government. Since long before the founding of the nation, the media has served in several roles, including watchdog, gatekeeper, and agenda setter. The media also serves as a vehicle for candidates, interest groups, political parties, and individuals to communicate their messages to the public and government. The media plays a critical role in political contests at all stages of the campaign. Positive media coverage enhances candidates’ opportunities to raise money and to earn public favor, which translates to votes. Unethical and illegal activities, including being caught in a public or private scandal such as an extramarital affair, are widely reported by the media. The media also serves as a platform for campaign advertising such that candidates must be given an equal chance to publicize their messages by being charged the same rate for the same time slot in broadcast media for candidates seeking the same office. The media also hosts and moderates campaign debates. This means that debates are scheduled so that they can be televised and broadcast during those times that the public is most likely to pay attention, and the media works with candidates, candidate organizations, and political parties to determine the format of the debate. Media representatives write debate questions that are not provided to the candidates in advance. The media is often criticized for biasing the stories that are printed or broadcast. These criticisms are levied against the media because how people learn the news affects their opinions of newsmakers and candidates. Key Ideas to Remember • • • • • • The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press. As one of the six protections included in the First Amendment, the freedom of the press is considered a central tenet of a participatory democracy. The media has been used as a mechanism for shaping public opinion and political participation since before the founding of the United States. The public learns the most about government through the media, which has resulted in the media being called a “black box” through which the people learn about government; consequently, it affects how government represents itself to the people. The media serves several roles in shaping the relationship between the public and government, including watchdog, gatekeeper, and agenda setter. The media shapes public opinion by informing the public, endorsing candidates, moderating debates, and serving as a platform for candidates, interest groups, political parties, and individuals to make their viewpoints known to the public through campaign advertising. The media has been criticized for its presentation of information through priming and framing, which bias the information that the public receives. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 295 3/24/16 1:44 PM Summary and Resources Timeline: Evolution of the mass media Photo credits (top to bottom): PhotoAlto/Superstock, Slalom/iStock/Thinkstock, . Corbis, Tanuha2001/iStock/Thinkstock, Tovovan/iStock/ Thinkstock © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 296 3/24/16 1:44 PM Summary and Resources Questions to Consider 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What are the forms that media bias takes? How is the media used in political campaigns? Why was a free press important to the nation’s founders? How does the media influence government? What are the issues that the U.S. Supreme Court addresses when considering free press issues? Key Terms agenda-setting theory The theory that the news media influences public priorities. black box The idea that the media acts as a filter and conduit of most information about the government. blog An abbreviation for “web log,” an Internet-based log of news, information, and analysis. Federal Communications Act of 1934 (FCA) Legislation that regulates interstate and foreign commerce in electronic communication; it created the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio and television. framing When referring to the media, the way the media reports a story, thereby affecting how people interpret political events and results. media bias The belief that the media determines how the news is presented to the public, which slants what the public learns about government and how the public perceives the information learned through the media. priming When referring to the media, the way media coverage affects the public’s evaluation of political leaders or candidates for office. social media The websites and applications that the public, government, media, political parties, interest groups, and others use to interact with one another. watchdog When referring to the media, the media’s role in holding the government accountable. gatekeeper When referring to the media, the media’s role in deciding which information about government and about which events the public should learn. Further Reading Boydstun, A. E. (2013). Making the news: Politics, the media, and agenda setting. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dahlgren, P. (2009). Media and political engagement: Citizens, communication and democracy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Graber, D. (Ed.). (2008). The politics of news/the news of politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Graber, D. (Ed.). (2010). Media power in politics (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 297 3/24/16 1:44 PM Summary and Resources Graber, D. (2011). On media: Making sense of politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Graber, D., & Dunaway, J. L. (Eds.). (2014). Mass media and American politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Iyengar, S. (2016). Media politics: A citizen’s guide (3rd ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. Key, V. O., Jr. (1955). A theory of critical elections. The Journal of Politics, 17, 3–18. Stromer-Galley, J. (2014). Presidential campaigning in the Internet age. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Tewksbury, D., & Rittenberg, J. (2012). News on the Internet: Information and citizenship in the 21st century. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Wolfsfeld, G. (2011). Making sense of media and politics: Five principles in political communication. New York, NY: Routledge. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_12_c12_281-298.indd 298 3/24/16 1:44 PM 9 Political Parties and Interest Groups Associated Press/Stephen Savoia Learning Objectives By the end of this chapter, you should be able to • Describe the functions and purposes of political parties in the United States. • Analyze the historical evolution of the American party system and the forces that have served as catalysts for their transformations. • Distinguish between two-party and multiple-party systems and analyze the political implications of each. • Describe the role of interest groups in American politics. • Evaluate the challenge of interest groups within the context of constitutional representation. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 211 3/24/16 1:45 PM As you may recall from the discussion in Chapter 1, when Congress overhauled the health care system in March 2010, it did not pass a single-payer system similar to the one in Canada, which is funded entirely by public money. Rather, it passed a host of regulations along with a requirement that uninsured individuals purchase insurance from private companies, which is often referred to as the individual mandate. Additionally, it provided for subsidies for those too poor to pay for insurance on their own. Achieving the Affordable Care Act, which some call “Obamacare” because it was championed by President Obama, required compromise among various constituencies and interests. On the one hand, that the Affordable Care Act was passed was a major accomplishment for the Democrats, the political party that has attempted to secure accessible health care since the 1930s. But on the other hand, the inability to achieve it for so many years speaks to the large number of interest groups arrayed against it and their tremendous influence in the American political system. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton attempted to introduce health care reform, only to be opposed by numerous interest groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA), the insurance industry, various union groups, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The reasons that these groups opposed reform were as varied as the groups themselves. The AMA objected because it was concerned that its members (primarily doctors) would earn less money. AARP opposed reform because it was concerned that reform would mean health care inferior to that provided by Medicare, the federally funded medical insurance program available to senior citizens. Insurance companies worried that their profits would be diminished, and unions were concerned that any public health insurance would be less comprehensive than the premium packages they already had won through collective bargaining. These interest groups each played a role in defeating Clinton’s efforts to reform the American health care system. Thus, it was no surprise that when the issue came up again during the 2008 presidential campaign, the same interest groups expressed the same concerns. Initially, the House of Representatives passed a health care bill that included a “public option,” a government-sponsored plan for those who did not have or could not get private insurance. These interest groups opposed the public option for the same reasons they had opposed the concept of “universal” health care in the past. Insurance companies were also joined by pharmaceutical companies similarly concerned about their profits. This time, though, the White House made a series of deals with these interest groups to gain their support for the Senate version of the bill, which left out the public option. The AMA supported the deal because it was promised higher reimbursements. AARP supported it because the organization was promised no Medicare cuts. The insurance industry supported it because the individual mandate promised that more customers would be buying policies. Unions began to support it because their premium insurance packages would be exempt from taxation. Understandably, the casual observer might think that the law was written to serve the interest groups, not the public. At the same time, the new law was considered a victory for the Democratic Party. As this case study on the Affordable Care Act suggests, political parties and interest groups are very much part of the American political landscape, and these entities direct much of the nature of current American politics. In this chapter, we examine the roles of both interest groups and political parties in American politics, and their implications for American democracy. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 212 3/24/16 1:45 PM What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Section 9.1 9.1 What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Political parties are organizations that seek to influence government policy by taking positions on current and public issues, nominating candidates, and trying to get them elected to office. The Framers of the Constitution took a dim view of political parties. They considered them to be factions of self-interest that placed the welfare of one group above that of the general public. Worse, the founders feared that such groups might ride roughshod over individual rights and liberties. The Framers also understood that party formation would be an inevitable byproduct of liberty. Free association, after all, meant that like-minded individuals could interact with one another and that formal organizations would develop around those associations. Initially, there were two relatively small political parties (the Federalists and the DemocraticRepublicans, both of which no longer exist, at least in their original form), and they tended to operate primarily in Congress. But as more people were granted franchise—the right to vote—political parties emerged as vehicles to get them to the polls. Political parties in modern democratic societies perform five essential functions: (1) they get people out to vote, (2) they seek to win elections, (3) they organize the government, (4) they generate symbols of identification and loyalty, and (5) they implement policy objectives. The primary purpose of the American party system is to win political office, which means that getting out the vote is secondary to that primary purpose. In the United States, winning political office would certainly be more difficult if there were not parties in place to mobilize voters behind specific candidates and their policy positions. But this also means that party platforms—the political positions of the party—are secondary to the primary purpose of winning political office. Parties take on three roles in American politics: party-in-the-organization, party-in-the-government, and party-in-the-electorate. The party-in-the-organization consists of activists who seek to define the issues on which the party will campaign and who will, at times, run for office. These activists may also work the phones or go door to door just prior to elections to remind voters that an election is coming up and try to attract voters to their particular candidates. Party activists may serve as delegates to national nominating conventions. © Fine Art/Corbis A campaign poster from 1888. American political parties have been in place since shortly after the nation was founded. Their main function has been to have their candidates elected to office. The party-in-the-government consists of party members who hold public office and whose members get to organize government and work to pass the agenda on which they campaigned. The party-in-the-electorate consists of those voters who are registered with the political party, as well as persons who identify with that party. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 213 3/24/16 1:45 PM What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Section 9.1 Get Out the Vote Overall voter turnout is relatively low in the United States, such that turnout in presidential elections has not exceeded 60% since 1992. Thus, getting people out to vote usually consists of party activists attempting to register voters. Those least likely to vote are poor people in poor communities (the reason for this is discussed in Chapter 10), so political party activists often hold voter registration drives in poor communities and knock on doors to get people to register. In a tight race, registering new voters can be the difference between victory and defeat for a party and its candidates. This then leads to the next critical function of parties, which is winning elections. Win Elections The positions taken by American political parties change over time as the preferences of the electorate change. As an example, the Democratic Party was considered to be the party of racial segregation until 1965, when a Democratic Congress passed the Voting Rights Act and a Democratic president signed it. The segregationists, largely concentrated in the South, abandoned the Democrats, and the party became one of racial inclusion. As it sought new voters, it appealed to more people on the left of the political spectrum. As this happened, many others grew uncomfortable in the Democratic Party and began to switch over to the Republicans. In an attempt to appeal to disaffected Democrats, the Republican Party became the states’ rights party. In many respects, American parties follow the competitive market model. In an effort to attract new customers, a business will introduce new products. So too will political parties. Both political parties have large national party committees: the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC). These are essentially umbrella organizations that are responsible for governing political parties on a day-to-day basis. The most essential national party functions are fundraising and recruiting candidates to run in various congressional contests. The two national party committees also engage in public relations efforts on behalf of their parties’ political platforms and support the presidential and vice-presidential nominee once they are nominated. As part of their efforts to win elections, the DNC and RNC raise large sums of money. In the 2014 campaign cycle, the DNC raised $168 million, while the RNC raised $195 million. These monies were then used to assist both Democrats and Republicans in House and Senate races. Organize Government Political parties, especially what we refer to as the party-in-the-government, organize the legislative branch. The party that wins the most seats in a house of Congress gets to control the leadership of that house. Because the Republican Party won the most seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, it continued to control that house of Congress, including having the power to select the speaker of the House. Senate Republicans gained control of the Senate from the Democrats, who had held the majority since 2007. The winning party also takes control of committee chair leadership so that all House committees continued under Republican control when the new Congress was sworn in in January of 2015 and the Republican Senate could select committee chairs. The benefit of holding all standing committee © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 214 3/24/16 1:45 PM What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Section 9.1 chairs is that the winning party then gets to set the legislative agenda, at least until the next election. At the same time, because the president works with party leaders in each house of Congress, such as the House speaker, party control in Congress affects each party’s relationship with the president. Although all members of Congress represent their own respective districts or states, both parties have party caucuses within each chamber of Congress. The caucuses often shape policy agendas, political strategies, and leadership positions. The House Republican caucus, for example, determines the majority party leadership, the Republican policy agenda, and the political strategy for achieving it. Meanwhile, in the House Democratic caucus, decisions are made Associated Press/Andrew Harnik about who will serve as minority John Boehner gives up his position as speaker of leaders and ranking members, the House to Republican Paul Ryan in October 2015. who are chosen from among memBoehner announced his intention to resign as speaker bers of the minority party and of the House in September 2015. serve as vice chairs of committees in Congress. The Democratic Party caucus also shapes its strategy for opposing the majority party strategy. Party-in-the-government also plays a role in the executive and judicial branches. When presidents make appointments to the Cabinet and other departments and agencies, they usually choose members of their party. This reinforces continuity with previous administrations of that party. As an example, when President Obama was looking for experienced Washington Democrats to staff his administration following his 2008 election, he found that he was selecting from among those who had served in the previous Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton. Lawrence Summers, who was selected by President Obama to direct the National Economic Council, had been Clinton’s secretary of the treasury, while Eric Holder, who was selected to be Obama’s first attorney general, had been an assistant attorney general for civil rights in Bill Clinton’s administration. Similarly, presidents look to appoint members of their party to positions in the judiciary. This helps to ensure that their appointments will share the same values, particularly because federal and Supreme Court judges serve life terms with “good behavior.” Generate Symbols of Identification and Loyalty Political parties are generally a source of both identification and registration. Voters are often identified by their party registration, while persons holding state and federal legislative and executive offices, and some local legislative and executive officials, run with party labels. Federal judges are usually identified by the party of the president who appointed them. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 215 3/24/16 1:45 PM What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Section 9.1 Until the 1960s, voters tended to vote on the basis of party loyalty. Most people joined the party of their parents and grandparents. From the 1930s, the Democratic Party was viewed as the party of the middle class, whose members were primarily blue-collar working-class, low-income groups. The party was also built as a broad coalition of ethnic groups and labor unions, at least in urban areas. The Republican Party tended to be more patrician and composed of more educated, affluent individuals. For many years, even Democrats who became educated and financially successful tended to continue identifying with the party of their parents because of party loyalty. Because of this tradition, elections were relatively predictable: Democrats would vote for Democratic candidates, and Republicans would vote for Republican candidates. In recent years, however, fewer people identify with either party, and increasingly more voters consider themselves independents, or political moderates who swing back and forth between the parties. The number of independents has increased since the 1970s (see Figure 9.1). The trend actually began during the late 1960s because of a dealignment, where long-term Democrats chose not to be identified with the party for a variety of reasons. Figure 9.1: Rise of independents since the 1980s Though the percentage of Americans who identify as independents has varied within a range since 1990, it has risen substantially since the 1980s. Copyright © 2015 Gallup Inc. All rights reserved. The content is used with permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of republication. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 216 3/24/16 1:45 PM What Is a Political Party and What Is Its Purpose? Section 9.1 From the 1930s until the late 1960s, the Democratic Party was the majority party in terms of voter affiliation. Following protests over the Vietnam War and the perception that the Democratic Party was moving to the left on critical issues including race relations, blue-collar Democrats, primarily in the South and in ethnic enclaves in the Northeast and industrial Midwest, began to vote for Republicans. While Southern Democratic voters dropped their Democratic Party affiliation, they did not identify as Republicans. Data from the National Election Studies (NES) show that between 1952 and 1992, identification with the Democratic Party decreased from 59% to 47.5%, while identification with the Republican Party increased from 31.6% to 39.4%. Meanwhile, the percentage of the population that identified themselves as independents tripled, from 6.5% to 19.6% (Levin-Waldman, 1997). Today, both political parties have their own respective “bases.” The base of the modern Republican Party is considered to be very conservative, while the base of the Democratic Party is considered to be very liberal. Both adhere more strictly to ideology than more centrist members of their parties do. Modern conservative voters tend to favor smaller government, states’ rights, lower taxes, restrictions on privacy and abortion rights, school prayer, and traditional family values. Modern liberals tend to favor more government programs and regulation to achieve a more fair society, higher taxes on wealthier individuals and families, strict separation of church and state, rights to privacy and freedom of choice, and strong civil rights for groups such as gays and lesbians. Because political parties seek to mobilize voters to support a particular candidate and win an election, they often strive to be an open tent with a wide variety of views. But if moderates drop out to be independents, both parties may be left with ideological extremists. It is not uncommon to identify the typical Democrat, both the voter and the politician, as being liberal. Similarly, the typical Republican is viewed as conservative. The Democratic Party still has a base of lowincome and blue-collar groups with a high school education. But the Democratic Party also has many highly educated professionals, academics, and business people who are more liberal on social issues. A member of the Democratic base, for example, may believe that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, including during the third trimester, past the point of viability. The very liberal Democrat might contend that an individual’s right to privacy, and to control her body and reproduction, supersedes the government’s right to protect a fetus. Modern Republicans tend to be White, evangelical Protestant, conservative, and in favor of states’ rights. The Republican Party today is still home to the Associated Press/John Bazemore The Tea Party movement, which emerged after President Obama’s 2008 election, has a conservative Republican focus. It espouses less government spending and protests government-mandated health insurance. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 217 3/24/16 1:45 PM Evolution of the American Political Parties Section 9.2 very wealthy and the old patrician classes, but it is also home to more working-class people, including Catholics who are conservative on social issues, especially regarding the family. The position of a member of the Republican base on abortion would likely be the opposite of that of the liberal Democrat. The very conservative Republican might assert that abortion should be prohibited under all circumstances, even in cases where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, if, for example, his or her religious beliefs encourage this position. The Republican Party, of late, has been influenced by the Tea Party movement, which emerged following Barack Obama’s 2008 election. Tea Party members represent a conservative faction of the party focusing on reducing government spending with the goal of reducing the national debt and the federal budget deficit. The Tea Party has taken an active role in shaping Republican Party politics, particularly in its efforts protesting health care reform and in its support of strongly conservative candidates. Implement Policy Objectives To the extent that parties represent specific policy agendas, they also identify the objectives for policy implementation. Policy is technically implemented by the bureaucracy, but policy objectives are established by political actors. These objectives often reflect the values of the parties with which they are identified. By extension, then, parties implement policy objectives. Consider for a moment that, if it is an official Democratic Party position to support abortion rights and the Democratic preference would be for the new health care law to pay for abortions, then the Democratic Party would seek to meet that objective by crafting or amending the new health care legislation so that it covers abortions. Meanwhile, as a traditional position of the Republican Party is to oppose abortion, Republican members of Congress will seek to block funding for abortions from the language of the new health care law so that when the law is fully implemented, individuals with publicly funded insurance will not have coverage for abortion services. Implementation of policy objectives ultimately requires that parties mobilize support. In this vein, political parties organize dissent and opposition and institutionalize, channel, and socialize conflict. When they are able to mobilize bias in favor of something, thereby making it easier to implement, they effectively legitimize the decisions of government. 9.2 Evolution of the American Political Parties Today’s Democrats and Republicans were not the first parties in the United States. In fact, political parties have evolved throughout the nation’s history. Historians have found it helpful to divide the history of American parties into “party systems.” The “first” party system lasted from the beginning of the republic until about 1824. The “second” party system, sometimes called the Jacksonian party system, lasted from 1824 until the eve of the Civil War. The period of Reconstruction following the Civil War ushered in Democratic Party rule in the South and Republican Party dominance at the national level. Beginning in the early 20th century, the party system changed again due to an era of political reform. Then, from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, both political parties introduced reforms in their attempts © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 218 3/24/16 1:45 PM Evolution of the American Political Parties Section 9.2 to attract more voters, but these also weakened party loyalty and increased the number of political independents. The First Party System (1770s–1824) At the time of the nation’s founding, those supporting strong centralized authority were known as the Federalists. Notably, Alexander Hamilton supported developing a strong commercial and industrial economy. Thomas Jefferson, by contrast, favored small agricultural economies. The first party system emerged out of this dispute. Jefferson’s followers formed the nation’s first political party, the Democratic-Republicans (the precursor to the modern Democratic Party), in an effort to recapture the republican spirit (discussed in Chapter 1) that had animated the American Revolution. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s supporters maintained the Federalist label. The intent of the new Democratic-Republicans was to paint Hamilton and his supporters as secret monarchists—people who wanted to reestablish the king in America—and the intent of the Federalists was to paint Jefferson and his supporters as Anti-Federalists and enemies of the Constitution. By the 1820s, the Democratic-Republicans had become so successful that the Federalists had ceased to exist. The Second Party System (1824–1860) The second party system began in 1824 with Andrew Jackson’s first run for the presidency. In part, it was a response to political participation being opened to the masses, as property requirements for voting were abolished and more White men were enfranchised. “Jacksonian” democracy was a grassroots movement intended to mobilize the newly eligible elecEverett Collection/SuperStock torate, or those who are eligible to Political cartoon titled “Pilgrims’ Progress” that shows vote. In the first party system, presiAndrew Jackson leading the Democratic Party donkey dential candidates were nominated carrying James K. Polk and George Dallas to the 1844 by caucuses made up of members of presidential election. In the Jacksonian party system, congressional caucuses were replaced by party conven- Congress, in order for Congress to have some control over who might tions, where some ordinary citizens were involved in be president. These caucuses were nominating presidential candidates. not popular among the presidential candidates. In the Jacksonian system, caucuses were replaced by conventions, where party delegates, who could be ordinary citizens, gathered to nominate a candidate. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 219 3/24/16 1:45 PM Evolution of the American Political Parties Section 9.2 In 1831, the newly formed anti-Jackson National Republican Party nominated Henry Clay in the first major party convention. The National Republican Party would eventually die out and be replaced by the Whig Party, which was then replaced by the Republican Party that remains in place today. The Democratic Party (which had dropped Republican from its name) held a convention in 1832 that nominated Jackson for reelection and Martin Van Buren for vice president. Van Buren would later be nominated for president by a Democratic convention in 1836. Jackson supporters voted Democratic, while the National Republicans then formed the Whig Party. Between 1836 and 1852, both the Whig and Democratic parties attempted to avoid the issues of slavery and sectionalism, but by the middle of the 19th century, these matters became unavoidable. The slavery issue shattered the old parties and caused new ones to emerge. The modern Republicans, founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, became a major force that began to dominate national politics in the years leading up to the Civil War. The Third Party System (1860s–early 1900s) With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the Republican Party became established as a major party. Those who supported the Union side in the Civil War became loyal Republicans for generations, and, likewise, those who supported the Confederacy became loyal Democrats. With few exceptions, Northern states tended to be solidly Republican, while Southern states tended to be solidly Democratic. The Republican Party was further strengthened in 1896. Running for the Democrats, William Jennings Bryan campaigned with strong populist rhetoric that alienated many voters in Northeastern states while attracting voters in the South and the Midwest. This only reinforced the split between North and South that had been created by the Civil War. One consequence of this split was that most states were, in effect, one-party states. The party that controlled each state controlled who was nominated, which limited voters’ choices. State-level electoral competition occurred within a single dominant party. Within each party, especially the Republicans, there emerged two factions. The first faction, which could be said to reflect the party-in-the-organization, consisted of party regulars, professional politicians, those who were preoccupied with building the party machinery, developing party loyalty, and obtaining patronage jobs for themselves and loyal followers. The second faction sought to do away with patronage and weaken the power of what are known as the “political machines.” Parties Under Reform (1900s–1960s) Beginning in the early 20th century, Progressive reformers sought to weaken the influence of political parties and in some cases to abolish them altogether. The first major issue was to confront party control of the nomination process by machine bosses. Political machines were disciplined organizations in which a single boss or small group could command the support of individual voters and businesses (who were often campaign workers), who in turn could expect to be rewarded for their efforts. The power of the machine lay in the ability of the workers to get out the vote on Election Day. Machine bosses, especially in large cities, owned construction companies and would ge tcontracts to build public works. Following the model © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 220 3/24/16 1:45 PM Evolution of the American Political Parties Section 9.2 of the old spoils system, these bosses selected nominees who would serve the interests of the machine. Naturally, this lent itself to corruption.. The machines provided pathways of upward socioeconomic mobility for ethnic minorities, such as Irish and Italian immigrants. They also offered a social welfare framework when economic transformations were causing dislocations and massive poverty while the government did not provide welfare services. For example, machine bosses commonly appeared at wakes to offer assistance to widows and children of the deceased. At a minimum, this assistance might pay for funeral expenses, but it could also cover the rent and pay for food for a short time. Progressive reformers who were part of the educated social elite were effectively excluded from the machine party system. Irving Underhill, 1914 In New York City, machine bosses used to meet and divide up public contracts in the Tammany Hall clubhouse, which over time came to symbolize the corruption of machine party politics. For the educated elite to regain leadership, the rules of the game had to change. Progressives supported primary elections to weaken the stranglehold of the machine bosses, as voters could choose their own party nominees rather than having party bosses choose for them. Reformers also sought local-level nonpartisan elections and strict voter registration requirements to reduce voter fraud. Finally, they sought to establish civil service systems to eliminate the patronage system altogether. These reforms, however, were slow in coming. Some states, such as California and Wisconsin, were more successful than others. Over the years, more states adopted primary elections. As late as 1960, only eight states held presidential primaries. This meant that presidential candidates, even as late as 1968, could bypass primary election states altogether and secure the party nomination by negotiating with state party chairs. The Decline of Parties (1970s–present) The decline of the political parties really has more to do with the party-in-the-electorate than within the party-in-the-organization and in government. Ironically, party decline has its roots in the late-1960s and early-1970s reform efforts to increase party bases. Several events converged to foster the need for reform. First, growing opposition to the Vietnam War led Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota to challenge President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Party nomination in 1968. Shortly after McCarthy entered the race, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York, the brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, did too. Both McCarthy and Kennedy sought to win the Democratic nomination through the states that had instituted primaries. After Kennedy declared his candidacy, Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that he © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 221 3/24/16 1:45 PM Evolution of the American Political Parties Section 9.2 would not seek reelection. Johnson’s withdrawal paved the way for Vice President Hubert Humphrey to enter the race, but Humphrey had no intention of entering any primary contests, in part because he had a late start. So while McCarthy and Kennedy battled it out in primaries, Humphrey negotiated with state party chairs and secured delegates. Kennedy won the California primary in early June and looked likely to win the party nomination, but on the night of that primary victory he was assassinated. Humphrey, having never entered a primary, had the nomination wrapped up going into the Democratic convention in Chicago, but there was a pall cast over the gathering by protestors and violence in the streets outside. In the general election, Kennedy and McCarthy supporters refused to support Humphrey, in part because he would not disavow his earlier support for the Vietnam War and, more significantly, because they believed that he had stolen the nomination. The result was a split Democratic Party, which contributed to Republican Richard Nixon’s election in what was otherwise a close race. The 1968 election appeared to be a watershed event for several reasons. Some believed that it was the beginning of an emerging Republican Party majority. Democrats believed they had lost the election because the party had been split during the primary season. Close election results implied that had the party not been fractured, it might have won the election. The 1968 election also saw the independent candidacy of George Wallace, the Democratic segregationist governor of Alabama, who Associated Press was able to capitalize on White anger in the South over civil rights. Riots outside the 1968 Democratic Convention were The effect of Wallace’s candidacy indicative of the Democratic Party split over the Vietwas to peel Democratic voters away nam War. Vice President and presidential candidate from Humphrey. Nixon also took Hubert Humphrey backed the war. away Democratic voters, but for different reasons. Nixon ran on a platform of law and order and ending the Vietnam War. For many blue-collar workers and social conservatives, the violence of the 1968 convention, which was broadcast on national television, fueled a perception that the Democrats no longer represented their interests. In this vein, the 1968 election marked a major turning point in the nation’s cultural wars. Democratic Party activists convened multiple commissions in their attempt to unify the party on the assumption that the fracture was due largely to the nominating process. The first commission, the McGovern-Fraser Commission, chaired by Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and Representative Donald Fraser of Minnesota, recommended that all states adopt © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 222 3/24/16 1:45 PM Two-Party System Versus Multi-Party System Section 9.3 either primary elections or party caucuses. They argued that this approach would democratize the nominating process and remove it from the influence of state party chairs. They also recommended making the party more inclusive by selecting more women and minorities as convention delegates. In many cases, state legislatures had to pass new laws to hold primaries. As states adopted these reforms, the result was that anybody could enter primaries without necessarily representing the parties’ traditional bases. Another result was that the nominating conventions were to become little more than pep rallies. Between 1968 and 1992, with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, the country did not elect a Democratic president. Part of the reason may have been a perception that the party had moved too far to the left, which was one consequence of its losing control of the nominating process. 9.3 Two-Party System Versus Multi-Party System The American political system is characterized by a two-party system, while the typical parliamentary system includes multiple parties represented in the legislature. There have been two main parties in the United States since they emerged in the late 18th century. Several attempts over time to form third parties have never really succeeded. Why has this been the case? Why the United States Has a Two-Party System The principal reason the United States has a two-party system is that it has single-member congressional districts—each voter gets one vote for a given office. Getting elected requires a plurality of votes. In the 1950s, French sociologist Maurice Duverger (1964) noted, in what has come to be known as Duverger’s law, that a plurality election system tends to favor twoparty systems. In other words, the candidate who wins the office is the one who receives the most votes. In practical terms, this means that if in District 2 Joan, George, and Danielle run for office and Danielle gets 49% of the vote, George gets 35%, and Joan gets 16%, Danielle is the winner. This is very different from a parliamentary system, where there is proportional representation, which means that voters can vote for several candidates to represent the province in which they live. As an example, if Province A will be represented by 10 people out of 20 people running, each party understands that the number of seats it takes in Parliament for this province will be in proportion to the percentage of votes that it receives. If the Liberal Party receives 30% of the vote, the Conservative Party receives 20% of the vote, the Labor Party receives 40% of the vote, the Consumer Party receives 7% of the vote, and the Green Party receives 3% of the vote, the results will look as shown in Table 9.1. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 223 3/24/16 1:45 PM Two-Party System Versus Multi-Party System Section 9.3 Table 9.1: Example of proportional representation Party Percentage of the vote Number of seats in Parliament Liberal 30 3 Labor 40 4 Conservative Consumer Green Total 20 7 3 100 2 1 0 10 Because more than one person can represent the district, there is room for more than the two strongest parties. The weakest parties can survive by achieving a minimum threshold, such as receiving at least 10% of the vote, to secure at least one seat. A party receiving 10% in a single-member district system like the United States would not secure representation in office, and in the long term that party could not survive. Broker Party Model Two-party systems tend to be examples of broker party models because their primary purpose is to win elections. The issues on which the party campaigns are based on what will attract the most votes. As the preferences of the voters change, so too do “planks” in the party platform. The party platform outlines the official positions of the political party, and the term planks refers to the components of that platform. Because Americans tend to vote for personality more than platform, the candidate who runs for office shapes the position of the party platform. Whoever appeals most to the voters in a primary election gets to represent the party in the general election. In the broker party model, the party acts as a medium for voters to express their preferences for particular candidates. While the party is nonideological in the broker party model, this is not to say that ideology does not play a role in the selection of candidates, especially during primary campaigns. Rather, ideology is a tool that can be used to rally support among voters to help secure a nomination. Responsible Party Model The responsible party model functions in both parliamentary systems, such as Great Britain, and in single-member winner-take-all systems, such as the United States, although it is more common in parliamentary systems, where issues and candidates are secondary to parties. Platform planks tend not to change according to changing voter preferences; rather, voter preference affects whether the party gains or loses votes. This means that parties are more ideological in the responsible party model compared with the broker party model. In the responsible party model, when people contribute money, they contribute to parties. The candidates who run on behalf of the party are chosen by party leaders, not primary elections. A candidate is merely a spokesperson for the party. Usually the person who would, for example, be prime minister, is the leader of the party, and the only way that person became © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 224 3/24/16 1:45 PM Interest Groups Section 9.4 party leader was by working the way up the ranks and demonstrating loyalty to the party and its policy positions. Officeholders who challenge the party leadership or buck party ideology are generally displaced from the ballot in the next election. In the responsible party model, then, party discipline tends to be tight. Political parties can be more ideological because there are more of them. Parties would rather lose an election than compromise on principles. But even a strongly ideological party is still likely to have seats, even if there are fewer of them. 9.4 Interest Groups As with political parties, the Framers assumed that interest groups, or organizations focused on a single issue, would naturally form because people had the liberty to freely associate; however, as with political parties, the Framers did not have a positive view of interest groups because they were primarily factions of self-interest. In Federalist No. 10, James Madison defined factions as a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. (1787, para. 3) Insofar as interest groups would be factions, they would seek to pursue the interests of the group first, even if they were contrary to the larger public interest. Today, there are two dominant views of interest groups. One holds that interest groups reflect a dynamic democratic process built on pluralism. Of the multitude of interests within society, some work together while others work against one another. Classical pluralism argues that interest groups use their resources to exert influence in government, while an alternative view suggests that interest groups distort the democratic process because they succeed in having their interests trump those of the public. The Role of Interest Groups © Mark Peterson/Corbis Interest groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) have proliferated as political parties have weakened. The same individualism that brought about the demise of political parties appears to strengthen interest groups. Many interest groups focus on single issues. People who join interest groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) or the Sierra Club do so because of their concern over a specific policy area. The NRA is concerned with the rights of people to bear arms, while the Sierra Club focuses on matters that affect the environment. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 225 3/24/16 1:45 PM Interest Groups Section 9.4 Interest groups pursue their goals by making policy-related appeals to government. They seek to influence elections through political action committees (PACs), interest groups’ financial arms. PACs raise money and contribute to campaigns. Donations are most often directed at incumbents, regardless of party, because incumbents have a high reelection rate. Interest groups act strategically when they give money to incumbents who will likely be reelected. The NRA, for instance, will contribute to whoever has a record of voting against gun control. Interest groups also seek to influence public policy through lobbying. Lobbyists, who represent interest groups in their efforts to shape public policy, meet with elected representatives and attempt to influence their votes on particular issues. Lobbyists explain why supporting their position is important to the interest group’s members whom the elected officials represent. One tactic that lobbyists use is to impress upon legislators that they represent large numbers of people who vote. Difference Between Interest Groups and Political Parties Associated Press/Chris Miller Lobbyists from different interest groups wait to see members of Congress on Capitol Hill. The job of a lobbyist is to present information and arguments to legislators for the purposes of securing their support on specific issues. The principal difference between interest groups and political parties is that interest groups tend to be single issue while political parties address a wide array of issues. Additionally, a political party tends to be a more heterogeneous group, with activists who often take the same position on core party issues but may have different opinions on others. A political party seeks to win elections for its candidates. An interest group seeks to gain support for its cause. Anyone can be a party member by registering with that party for the purposes of voting. But interest group members pay membership dues in order to join the group. Political parties often act like big tents that seek to attract many people with different points of view, while interest groups seek to attract only those who agree with their cause. Madison’s Dilemma James Madison argued against factions because they sought to place their own interests over the public interest. But factions were also the inevitable byproduct of liberty. The ultimate cure for factions would, of course, be to eliminate them by legal means, but the cure would be worse than the disease. The only solution to this dilemma, then, would be to allow for so many factions that the relative power of each would be diluted. The more interest groups there are, the less influence each one has. Interest groups represent the diversity of American society and speak to the issue of pluralism whereby different people get involved with different issues at different times. The U.S. © 2016 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution. fin82797_09_c09_211-236.indd 226 3/24/16 1:45 PM Interest Groups Section 9.4 Constitution and the Bill of Rights were designed to protect individualism. Pluralism is individualism in its collective form. Because the United States is a large and diverse nation, interest groups have become an essential tool for individuals to express themselves and have their voices heard by governmental officials. Madison’s dilemma also suggested that one interest group might have too much power. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1993) argued that interest groups would ultimately be checked by what he termed countervailing forces. In the face of one powerful interest group, several smaller ones would come together in a coalition, and they would balance out the power of the larger group. Consistent Associated Press/The Green Bay Press-Gazette/H. Marc Larson with Madison’s notion that the effects Interest groups can be viewed as reflecting healthy of factions can be controlled by havdemocratic expression. They represent the diversity ing more factions, the more interest of views in American society. groups there are operating in the system, the more countervailing forces will exist. This is an instance of the marketplace working to curb the excesses of interest groups. Rationality and Logic of Collective Action An interest group is a voluntary organization, and many people who sympathize with it may derive benefits without having to bear the costs of membership. For example, an environmental interest group may petition the federal government to pass regulations that will reduce automobile emissions. The environmental group’s PAC may donate money to the congressional campaigns of incumbents who have voted for pro-environmental regulations in the past, while the environmental group’s lobbyists may lobby both Democratic and Republican members of Congress to support legislation to reduce automobile emissions. If Congress passes the legislation and the president signs it, one result will be cleaner air that all people will benefit from, including persons who never joined the interest group along with those who may have opposed the regulation out of concern that it would cause an increase in the cost of automobiles. When individuals do not bear the costs of interest group membership, yet derive the benefits of that group’s work, it is called the free rider problem. Logic would suggest that individuals have little incentive to join interest groups because they can be free riders. However, if everybody were to assume that they could be free r...
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