Political Parties Essay

1332 words - 5 pages

took a while to write (it's over 4000 words) needs a bit more analysisPolitical parties have become increasingly unpopular and havelost a great amount of power because of it. Interest groups are slowlypicking up where parties left behind and are becoming more and moreimportant not only in mobilizing voters, but also in lobbyinggovernment officials to aide their cause.In the early 1900's, parties solely were in charge of thenomination process. A small group of party leaders, also known as acaucus, would choose who would run against the opposing party'scandidate and what office this individual would be seeking. It was aprocess that was closed off to everyone but the party leaders, andthus, could be tagged 'undemocratic.'Years later, because of the 'Party Machines' of the north andthe completely Democratic south, primaries replaced caucuses.Primaries allowed for members(not only leaders) of the party to votefor whom they wanted to nominate. Primaries also gave individualsthe right to run for office under their party's name. Thus, the partycouldn't prohibit anyone from running for public office as a member ofthat particular party if the individual was a registered member of thatparty.The primary system of nominations has become so vast andpopular that it has broken down into three different styles(eachpracticed by different states): open, closed, and blanket. Openprimaries are just that; open for anyone to vote in any party. Forexample, a Democrat can vote in the Republican primary and viceversa. Closed primaries(which are the most widely used) are closedto people belonging to that party. Republicans can only vote in theRepublican primaries and Democrats the same. Blanketprimaries(practiced in only a few states) are relatively open in thesense that both Democrats and Republicans can vote for members ofeither party in different races; they don't have to vote for candidates ofonly one party.The primary system is set up so that adverse effects can helpand/or hurt the candidates and nominee. For example, becauseduring a primary most candidates are very similar as far as ideologiesgo, voters tend to vote according to the candidates' personalcharacteristics. Looks, popularity, etc. will always help a candidateduring the primaries. Primaries, though, can be hurtful to nomineesbecause voters are less likely to vote for someone in the generalelection if they didn't vote for them in the primary.After each party has chosen it's candidate, they ratify theirdecision at their national conventions. 'The principal significance of anational convention is that it is the kickoff of the general electioncampaign(Bibby 174).' The national convention also gives nomineesthe opportunity to set the theme for their upcoming election as well asgiving parties a forum where they can draw up and sell their platform.But who exactly attends these functions? More so, who evenvotes? There are many factors to take into consideration whendetermining who actually goes out and votes and...

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