US government and civics
Political parties: lesson overview
A high-level overview of the impact political parties have on the electorate and government.
The first two political parties in American history were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans; today, the United States still has a two-party system made up of the Democratic and Republican parties.
Over the past 200 years, political parties have become more powerful and central to American democracy, providing opportunities for the electorate to participate in politics and influencing how people relate to the government and policymakers.
|linkage institutions||Groups in society that connect people to the government and facilitate turning the people’s concerns into political issues on the government’s policy agenda.|
|political party||An organization of people with similar political ideologies that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected.|
|party platform||A list of goals outlining a party’s positions on issues and political priorities.|
How political parties impact the electorate and the government: The primary function of political parties is to link people to the government and its policies. Political parties are made up of three semi-independent teams: the party organization, the party in government, and the party in the electorate.
The party organization is the structure of national, state, and local parties that creates a platform, recruits candidates, and helps to manage candidates’ campaigns by providing a fundraising and media strategy. The party organization is also responsible for educating and mobilizing voters to support candidates.
The party in government consists of the elected officials who belong to the party. These politicians are responsible for proposing, debating, voting on, and signing legislation that meets the party’s platform goals.
The party in the electorate is made up of all citizens who identify with that party; it supports the party organization and its candidates by mobilizing voter support and turnout, and by donating to candidate campaigns.
What is a linkage institution?
What is one way in which political parties impact the electorate?
How do parties provide opportunities for citizen participation in government?
Want to join the conversation?
- How have political parties influenced America?(8 votes)
- Which political party level has the most power?(2 votes)
- In America, it is pretty balanced right now. The Democratic party controls both the presidency and the Senate, but the Republican party controls the House. Right now I believe that it would be the Democratic party, but "most power" is also vague and up for interpretation. Not much can get passed without cooperation with both parties, so perhaps it is best to say they have about equal power.(3 votes)
- How did the Voting Rights Act of 1965 change the demographics of the two major American political parties?(1 vote)
- The Voting Rights Act was the final straw for 2 important constituencies-White Southerners and African Americans.
White Southerners, already fearful of interventions by the federal government and the Supreme Court in matters of the South, switched to the Republican Party because they felt betrayed by the Democratic Party which they had supported for decades.
African Americans outside of the South were already voting for Democrats because government programs introduced by FDR and Lyndon Johnson proved to be greatly beneficial for them. After the passage of the Voting Rights Act which removed barriers to the ballot for African Americans in the South, Southern African Americans realised that the Democrats had shed their legacy of support for Jim Crow laws and hence started to enthusiastically support the Democratic Party.(4 votes)
- How could the independent party impact the government/America(2 votes)
- Independent parties can elect representatives and legislators to the government, who can then pass laws that impact America as a whole.(1 vote)
- Who are some candidates they chose for a party organization.(1 vote)
- Which statement identifies a positive impact of political parties on Americans?(0 votes)