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Main content
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Video transcript

in many videos we have talked about the makeup of government and either the federal or the state level we've talked about branches of government we've talked about checks and balances what we're going to talk about in this video is how people interface with the government and in particular what are the channels that allow them to communicate their preferences so this is the government here and of course the government is made up of people in the various branches but let's say this is all of us as citizens right over here now we're always interfacing with the government or we're always interfacing with something that the government does when we pay our taxes we are interfacing with the government when we try to when we renew our passport we are interfacing with the government but what are the ways that we can communicate our preferences well one very obvious way is through elections obviously we can vote someone in we can vote someone out we can tell the government are we happy with what they've been doing or are we not what issues are important to us and which issues are not another institution that's considered a way to link the citizens or the people of a country with its government is the media is the media and I'll actually draw a two-way arrow here because it's a way for the government to communicate with everyone else and it's also a way for views to be heard and amplified which the government might take note of and these things would influence each other obviously the media is capable of influencing elections now another way is interest groups another thing that we have talked about in previous videos so this is interest groups and it could actually be a two-way arrow where let me write this down interest groups and we could be talking about groups like AARP the n-double-a-cp II or the NRA people could be members of that or contribute to that interest group and they are going to lobby the government they're going to try to influence elections they'll oftentimes participate in the media and interest groups are also going the other way where they're trying to get their members to go in one way or another to adopt views of the inn or maybe influence elections in ways that the interest group might like the fourth major channel for the citizenry to have this connection with the government is through political parties political parties and these four different ways of connecting the government with people ways for the people to communicate their preferences to the government these are often listed in government classes and collectively they are known as linkage institutions linkage institutions and they're called that because they link people with their government and what I'm going to focus on in this video in particular are political parties and the roles that they play and we're all familiar with political parties in the United States the two major political parties are the Democrats and the Republicans but what do they fundamentally do how do they play this role as linkage institutions well the parties will have their platforms so each of your political parties will have a party platform and I encourage you to do a web search for the party platform the Democratic platform or the Republican platform it's really interesting to read especially when you see how a 180 degree opposite to two different groups could have on some very similar issues but it's a way of saying what do they believe in and once they articulate this platform it can have multiple effects it can influence the members of the party because common citizens indeed do become affiliated with various parties but it could also influence the politicians that are members of that party in government so it can affect both of those related to this idea of a party platform influencing citizens is this idea of voter mobilization and education with an upcoming election they'll go to people who are either already members of the party who affiliated with a party or who might be sympathetic to a party and say look here are the big issues that are going to be affected by this upcoming election don't you care about it if you vote for the other person these things are going to go against you let's let's educate you on our view of what is good for the local government what is good for the state what is good for the country political parties also do candidate recruitment a purist view of parties is look they care about changing the agenda or preserving an agenda and so it's really important for them to field candidates that are capable of representing that agenda and capable of winning if they don't do that the political parties will eventually become irrelevant because if they don't have actual people who win elections and get into government well they'll also probably start losing followers because people don't like to be part of a party that really does not have much influence and so political parties are always going out there and saying okay the opposition party has a candidate like this here are the big issues on the table let's see if we can get a candidate that can really take advantage of the circumstances in that region and has a high chance of winning while at the same time really representing what the party believes in a fourth thing that parties will do and this is related to candidate recruitment is campaign management where you will have professional political operatives associated with political parties and they'll go from they might be involved even in the candidate recruitment but once they get those candidates they'll say hey we're gonna help you win now a fifth major function of political parties at least in the United States just as these arrows from the party platform to the general electorate this is really this right over here really is that voter mobilization and that voter education this era right over here where the party platform is influencing the government as it operates a lot of this happens through the committee and party leadership system in legislatures you have roles like majority party leader majority party Whip minority party leader and a lot of what they are doing is trying to take that party platform what the party wants done and make sure that all of these folks in government who dot ooh just like the citizenry don't always believe the exact same thing they might be representing very different regions they might have different personal views but to try to bring them in line with the party platform and the idea is is that if they unify around things and have a united front that they're going to have more influence now of course that can sometimes go the other way where if both major parties are doing that or it's all or nothing you can get to a situation of gridlock which we've talked about in other videos but the big takeaway here that common classification for the institutions that link the people to the government linkage institutions that allow individuals to communicate their preferences to policymakers are elections the media interest groups and political parties and political parties in particular they have a platform what do they represent they mobilize and educate voters they recruit candidates and manage their campaigns and then once those candidates win they have this leadership structure that tries to get them to be aligned especially around that party platform