Parties and Elections -- A First Look

I.    Elections and Legitimacy

    A.    Significance of Governmental Legitimacy

    B.    Seeking Legitimacy

        1.     Personal/Charismatic

        2.     Theological

        3.     Theoretical

        4.     Racial/Cultural

        5.    Historical

        6.    Popular Representation and Deliberative Democracy

II.    Essential Functions of Political Parties

    A.    link citizenry and government

    B.    assists in legitimizing government

    C.    aggregrates political interests

    D.    develops proposed policies

        1.    Democratic Party Platform

        2.    Republican Party Platform

        3.    Green Party

        4.    Constitution Party Platform

    E.    recruits political leaders

    F.    simplifies and clarifies voter choices

    G.    support candidates

    H.    organize government

    I.    helps make government accountable

III.    Basic Party Elements

    A.    Three Dimensions of Parties

        1.    as organzation (DNC;RNC)

        2.    in government  (Senate; House)

        3.    in electorate:  "mass" v. "cadre" parties       

V.    U.S. Electoral System - Decentralization in extremis

    A.    Three Constituencies

        1.    national

        2.    state

        3.    local and regional

    B.    The Dilemma of Representation

        1.     Representatives as messengers/instructed delegates

        2.     Representatives as agents of parties

        3.     Representatives as free agents (The Burkean view)

   C.    Rules of the Game:   Non-Neutral

        1.     registration

        2.    single member districts

        3.    electoral college

        4.    direct/indirect elections

        5.    issue voting

    D.    Apportionment

        1.    population based

        2.    Baker v. Carr (1962)

        3.    Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)

        4.    Mahan v. Howell (1973)

Key Web Sites

Directory of U.S. Political Parties

Google:   Candidates and Campaigns

Yahoo Election Links

Vote Smart Links to Party Organizations

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball for 2008 Elections

The Political Junkie