Political Parties 2 Essay Research Paper Political

Political Parties 2 Essay, Research Paper Political PartiesHundreds of years ago the term politics was unheard of,Xthe word layed scrambled among the alphabet, and the power behindXthe undeveloped word lied still. Today, politics is a wellXknown word to us all and the power behind it has governed usXfor many centuries.

Political Parties 2 Essay, Research Paper

Political PartiesHundreds of years ago the term politics was unheard of,Xthe word layed scrambled among the alphabet, and the power behindXthe undeveloped word lied still. Today, politics is a wellXknown word to us all and the power behind it has governed usXfor many centuries. Differences of opinions in politics haveXcreated what we know as political parties. The political partiesXof the United States are the oldest in the world; amongXDemocratic nations, they may also be the weakest. AmericanXvoters attitudes and traditions are big factors in what makesXour parties weak. A Political Party is a group that seeks to elect candidatesXto public office by giving them a party identification. XAlthough there are more than two political parties, theXDemocratic and Republican Parties, they have dominated theXpolitical system for hundreds of years. Other parties thatXexist but, are not very familiar are the Whig Party, LibertarianXParty, Socialist Worker Party, Communist Party of the UnitedXStates of America, National Hamiltonian Party, NationalXProhibition Party, Peace and Freedom Party, and the Know-NothingXParty. + In the United States, the labels of the two major politicalX parties have always had a relatively strong appeal for theXvoters. Because of that, third parties and independentXcandidates have rarely had much competitive success at theXnational or even the state level. There has hardly, maybeXnever, been a strong national party organization in this country.XThough there have, however, been long periods in which certainXstate, city, and county components of the Democratic andXRepublican Parties have been organizationally powerful. Political Parties were developed because of differencesXin opinions on subjects; each party was comprised of individualsX with similar views. The question that seems to come into mindXoften is, “How do the parties really differ?” The answer isXvery complex, much depending on what aspect of the party weXare looking at: their history, their policies and platforms,Xtheir leadership, their rank, and their level ofXgovernment–national, state, or local. A lot of it also dependsXon our own view of how we see it from where we sit. During the New Deal, the difference between the DemocratsXand Republicans was clear to everyone. At one time there wasXa great difference between all the Political Parties, but thingsXhave changed and the lines between the parties have blurred. Political Parties went through many name changes beforeXany were final. Thomas Jefferson’s party was known as theXDemocratic-Republican Party. By 1791, Jeffersonian RepublicansXwere emerging as an opposition political party. Although itsXleaders hesitated to use a name associated with the FrenchX+Revolution, the party remained in power until the election ofXJohn Quincy Adams in 1824. It returned to power with theXelection of Andrew Jackson, and soon after became known as theXDemocratic Party (Bender 698). The Republican Party is the younger of the two major partiesXin the United States. In 1854, the Republican Party wasXorganized to oppose the extension of slavery into theXterritories. Republicans first captured the presidency in 1860Xunder the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. His election wasXfollowed by the Civil War, during which the Republican PartyXbecame the majority party (Reichley 433). The Republican PartyXwas born in an outburst of protest against the Kansas-NebraskaXBill in 1852 (455). After the passage of the Kansas-NebraskaXAct, opponents of the measure held a series of conventions thatXled to the formation of the Republican Party. By 1860, Republicans were in a strong position. The WhigXParty had disappeared, the Know-Nothing Party had faded, andXthe Democratic Party was divided over the issue of slavery.X (Linden 69-73). In 1860, a four-way presidential race broughtXvictory to the Republican candidate. It was Abraham LincolnXwho won a majority of the electoral votes. However, theXRepublican victory was a narrow sectional one. The RepublicanXParty was the first, and thus far the only, third party inXAmerican history to succeed in becoming one of the two majorXparties (Binkley 173). Our major parties have been expected to take on many heavyXtasks. At times in our history, they have performed admirablyX+and at times they have been found lacking. Since early politicalXparties lacked the tight organization of present-day parties,Xcandidates were chosen by a few congressional leaders. TheyX were chosen at a party caucus. The caucus system was successfulXuntil the 1820’s when many Americans became resentful of “KingXCaucus.” The Americans then called for a change. In the election of 1824, 3 of the 4 presidential candidatesX were chosen by state conventions or state legislatures insteadXof by caucuses (Nichols 217). Rather quickly, political partiesXbegan to hold national conventions to choose presidentialXcandidates. The delegates to these conventions did give moreXparty members a voice in choosing candidates. Parties serve as unifying factors at times: drawingXtogether the president, senators, representatives, and sometimesXeven judges behind common programs. But political parties,X have weakened by having to work through a system of fragmentedXgovernmental power. This was so we would never develop a strongXparty. Since 1954, the electorate have chosen to put DemocratsXin charge of congress and a Republican in charge of the WhiteXHouse (Burns 32). Many Americans have mixed feelings about parties. TheyXthink parties: evade the issues, fail to deliver on theirXpromises, have no new ideas, and they are sources of corruptionXand misgovernment. Parties follow public opinion rather thanXlead it. Other Americans favor political parties and take partXin it. Most Americans believe in voting for individualXcandidates, regardless of party label.x+ There are many political parties that enter candidatesXin national elections. The Democrats and Republicans seem toXbe the most common. Democrats and Republicans also hold sharplyXcontrasting images of one another. As we entered the 1990’sXDemocrats consider the Republican party to be a JohnXWayne/Rambo/tough-guy party that talks a hard line againstXcommunists and terrorists in foreign affairs. They are alsoXagainst criminals and welfare cheats. Republicans considerXthe Democratic Party to be the party of “the losers, the lameXand the lazy.” The party that will not meet the nation’sXresponsibilities in the world arena. The party that is tooXsoft toward the communists abroad. They are too tolerant ofXfringe groups at home: the feminists, the gays, andX”troublemakers” in general. Reagan’s shift, late in hisXpresidency, toward a friendlier stance toward Moscow, and Bush’sXmixed approach hardly altered these contrasting images (BurnsX236). Our nation began without political parties; today politicalXparties, though far from extinct, are about as weak as at anyXtime in our history. Some party experts fear the parties areXso weak they are mortally ill–or at least in a long decline.X They point first to the long-run impact of the progressiveXreforms early in this century. It was the reforms that robbedXparty organizations of their control. Their control of nominationXprocess by allowing masses of independents and “uniformed” votersXto enter the primaries and vote for candidates who might notXbe accepted the to party leaders. They also point to a longX+series of “reforms.” The nonpartisan elections in cities andXtowns, the staggering of national, state, and local elections.XThis made it harder for parties to influence the electionXprocess. Some parties suffer from further ills today. The riseXof television and video cassette campaigns, media, andXdirect-mail consultants, have denied parties their historicXrole. The role of educating, mobilizing, and channeling theXelectorate. In addition, partly as a result of media influence,Xthe most powerful electoral forces today are officeseeker orXoffice holder organizations. Not the party organizations. XOfficeseekers are supported by money and media. They organizeXtheir personal followings to win nominations while the partyXleaders are supposed to stand by nuetrally. If they win office,Xthey are far more responsive to their personal followings thanXto the party leadership. The truth of the matter is, the two-party system in the UnitedXStates does not offer voters a meaningful choice. SomeXpoliticians and scholars, both Republican and Democrat, areXmore intrested in party renewal than party reform. In theirXview or at least in the view, of the “party pessimistes”, theXparty system needs to be strengthened, not reformed. ThoseXthat fortify the party as an organization would nurse both theXelephant and the donkey back to health and vitality before theyXwould teach either animal how to improve its ways. xEveryone has their own opinions about political partiesX+and how they should be run. There have been many changes overX the years since political parties started to develope. AlthoughXsome may agree with them and some may not, but this is howXpolitical parties operate