American Government Ch 8

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Political parties serve to

a. link the public with its elected leaders. b. enable people with different backgrounds and opinions to act together. c. offer the public a choice between policies and leaders. d. narrow voters’ electoral options.

The first American political parties emerged from the conflict between

small farmers and states’ rights advocates, and those favoring commercial and wealthy interests

Andrew Jackson’s contribution to the development of political parties was the

formation of a new type of grassroots party organization.

Proportional representation systems encourage the formation of smaller parties by enabling parties to

win legislative seats even though they do not receive a majority of votes in elections.

Democrats and Republicans have endured as the two major U.S. parties primarily due to

their ability to adapt to changing circumstances

In 1912, a candidate for which minor party managed to earn more votes than one of his major party opponents?

Bull Moose

If a minor party gains a large following, it is almost certain that

one or both major parties will absorb its issue, and the minor party will lose support.

The major reason for the persistence of the American two-party system is

the existence of single-member election districts.

The history of democratic government is virtually synonymous with the history of

political parties

All of the following are characteristic of a party realignment EXCEPT

a very close electoral result.

Which of the following encourages the two major parties to build broad coalitions?

the two-party system and the need to gain a plurality

The issue of slavery gave birth to the ________ party as a major political party.


Political parties in the United States originated partly as a political feud between

Hamilton and Jefferson

The Democratic Party’s long-time regional stronghold, "the Solid South," stemmed from a realignment during which historical period?

Civil War era

Which of the following is an indication of strong party loyalty?

straight ticket voting

Party dealignment is

None of these answers is correct.

Prospective voting is characterized by

choices based on what candidates promise to do if elected.

________ is based on judgment about the past performance of an elected official or political party

retrospective voting

________ lost the 1964 presidential election in a landslide because his views were seen as too extreme.

Barry Goldwater

________ does not have a competitive multiparty system.

the U.S.

Most European parties on the political left tend to appeal mainly to

working class voters

________ warned Americans of the "baneful effects" of factions (political parties) in his 1797 farewell address.

George Washington

What party has made big gains in recent decades among white fundamentalist Christians, based on its positions on topics like abortion and school prayer?


Which of the following events/phenomena do some analysts consider to have cost Al Gore the presidential election in 2000?

a poor televised debate performance

Which of the following groups is most closely aligned with the Democratic Party, voting about 85 percent Democratic in presidential elections?

African Americans

Which of the following groups is NOT typically a part of the Democratic coalition?

fundamentalist Christians

In twentieth-century American history, the most important minor parties were ________ parties.


Ticket splitting was most prominent during which decade?


________ was the only Republican elected president from 1932-1964.

Dwight Eisenhower

Most states conduct ________ primaries.


American party organizations

are still important, but their role in campaigns is secondary to that of candidates.

National party organizations can dictate the day-to-day decisions of

neither local nor state party organizations.

In the 2008 presidential election, ________ used the Internet most successfully to attract followers and raise donations.

Barack Obama

Which of the following is NOT an example of an ideological party?

Greenback Party

Which of the following are key players in the modern campaign?

(All of these answers are correct.) a. pollsters b. media producers c. fundraising specialists d. campaign consultants

________ provides no free television time to political parties and allows candidates to purchase air time.

the U.S.

James Carville, Dick Morris, and Roger Ailes are all examples of

campaign strategists who have earned legendary reputations.

Regarding state party organizations, the day-to-day operation is usually the responsibility of the

state chairperson.

Organizationally, U.S. party organizations are

decentralized and fragmented.

During the twentieth century, American parties lost their complete control over

a. nominations. b. financing. c. platforms. d. the staffing of government jobs.

Which of the following represents the greatest blow to the organizational strength of U.S. parties?

the direct primary

Which of the following is an accurate representation of the public’s opinion about leaders and their accountability?

Most citizens have a low opinion of Congress as a whole, but say they have confidence in their local representative in Congress.

MoveOn and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are both examples of

527 groups.

Candidate-centered politics encourages all of the following EXCEPT

long-term consistency in policymaking.

On average, how much money must a U.S. senator raise every week of his or her six-year term in order to acquire enough money to launch a competitive bid for reelection?


Which of the following statements about the patronage system is true?

It was a means of rewarding party workers for their loyalty.

About 95 percent of all political activists in the United States work at

the local level.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court

found corporations and unions could not be banned from spending money on campaigns.

The function that the national party organizations perform in relation to congressional candidates can best be described as a

service relationship—helping candidates conduct their personal campaigns.

Roughly how much of campaign spending is devoted to producing and airing televised political advertisements?


The vicious character to which current political ads are prone may be gauged by a 2002 ad that associated disabled war veteran ________ with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Max Cleland

The election of ________ represented a party realignment.


_______ is associated with the Era of Good Feeling.

James Monroe

Abraham Lincoln was first elected in 1860 with ________ percent of the popular vote.


State central committees

provide only general policy guidance for the state organizations.

In 1992, ________ won 19 percent of the popular vote in the presidential election.

Ross Perot

Populist ________ won electoral votes in six states in the presidential election of 1892.

James B. Weaver

What is meant by a party realignment?

A party realignment occurs when many significant social groups alter their voting behavior and switch their allegiance from one political party to another. Party realignments have four basic elements: The existing political order is disrupted; voters shift their support in favor of one party; a major change in public policy occurs as a result of the stronger party; and there is an enduring change in the party coalitions, which works to the lasting advantage of that party.

How do European parties differ from American parties?

In Europe, where there are no primary elections, parties are stronger and have much tighter control over nominations, campaigns, candidate funding, and elections. American parties, due to federalism and a tradition of individualism, remain loose associations of local, state, and national organizations. European parties tend to divide along class lines, while America’s two-party system requires each party to accommodate a wide range of interests in order to gain the voting plurality necessary to win elections. The European proportional representation system also results in the viability of smaller parties than can get representation in legislatures even with a small proportion of the vote.

Explain how party coalitions in the U.S. reflect the nature of party competition. Does coalition formation tend to moderate or radicalize parties? Explain.

The overriding goal of a major American political party is to gain control of government by getting its candidates elected to office, which means that political compromise is essential. The major parties must appeal to different groups that may disagree on some issues; a reasonable amount of compromise is therefore necessary. The parties must also appeal to many of the same groups. The result is, in most circumstances though not all, a moderate form of political conflict in which the parties’ coalitions overlap substantially in terms of the groups that comprise them.

Why have the Democratic and Republican parties been so durable as to maintain existence since the Civil War? Explain.

Analysts believe that the durability of the Democratic and Republican parties is due to their remarkable ability to adapt during times of crisis. These two major parties have survived many periods of social, economic, and political unrest not by maintaining a consistent ideology, but by adapting to the changing needs of the maintaining and realigning elections (for example, the elections of the Great Depression of the 1930s produced fundamentally new Democratic and Republican parties). Instead of being destroyed by these elections, the parties emerged with new bases of support, new policies, and even new philosophies. Democrats and Republicans remained the dominant parties in America. After the Great Depression, the Democrats became the country’s majority party and emphasized a new social and economic role for national government. The party survived—indeed succeeded—only by responding to the crisis and adapting its policies to address the current needs of the people. Such capacity for adaptation has ensured the Democrats’ and Republicans’ longevity and dominance in America’s two-party system.

Explain why the single-member district system of elections tends to promote a two-party system.

In a single-member district system, each constituency selects only one representative for an office on the basis of which candidate receives a plurality of the vote. This system promotes a two-party system in America. It discourages minor parties because it is, essentially, a winner-take-all contest. For example, if a minor party receives 20 percent of the vote in each congressional district, it would win no seats in Congress. Despite the fact that one in five voters voted for the minor party, the winning candidate in each district would be the major-party candidate with the larger proportion of the remaining 80 percent of the vote. In contrast, a system of proportional representation is not a winner-take-all contest. In European democracies, for example, seats in the legislature are allocated according to a party’s share of the popular vote. This system encourages minor parties; if a minor party wins 20 percent of the vote by way of illustration, it receives 20 percent of the legislative seats. America’s single-member district system disadvantages minor parties and, therefore, promotes a two-party system.

What is a candidate-centered campaign, and how does it differ from a party-centered one? Identify some advantages and disadvantages of candidate-centered campaigns.

Candidates effectively control the candidate-centered campaign, while a party-centered campaign is dominated by parties. In the former, voters tend to select individuals; in the latter, voters tend to make their choices based on party traditions and party platforms. One advantage of candidate-centered campaigns is that they bring flexibility and new blood to electoral politics. This means the political system can more quickly adapt to new realities. Also, candidate-centered campaigns encourage national officeholders to be more responsive to local interests, because personal support among local constituents is the key to re-election. A disadvantage is that such campaigns are heavily influenced by the contributions of special interests. Another disadvantage is that officeholders’ accountability to the public is reduced because an incumbent can always blame other officeholders for policy problems. Party-centered campaigns are characterized by collective accountability.

What are primary elections and what impact have they had on party organizations?

A primary election is a method of nominating party candidates in which the party nominee is chosen by voters rather than by party leaders. Primary elections weaken party organization by depriving the party of control over the candidates who will run under its banner.

_____prohibits the purchase of televised advertising time by candidates.

Great Britain

Candidates’ first priority in a close election is to

win over swing voters.

What is especially unique about the "Era of Good Feeling?"

President Monroe ran unopposed in 1820.

The election of _____ was a realigning election.


All of the following use top-two primaries EXCEPT


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