LO 4.C.1: Explain the functions and impact of political parties with regard to the electorate and the government.
Questions to Consider:
- Who makes up a political party?
Please take a few minutes and read the following:
- Party in the Electorate: The base of the party; the voters (self-identifying)
- Party in Government: Elected officials (President, Congress members, etc) who are members of the party; helps organize; not always in agreement; spokespersons
- What do political parties do? What is their function/task?
1. Nominating Function: Parties select their candidates for office; power has shifted from organization to party electorate through primaries/caucuses (weakening of political parties)
2. Campaign Function: National, state, local organizations help fund/coordinate campaigns; mobilize voters; growth of individual campaigns due to Internet and campaign finance laws/SuperPACs (weakening of political parties in the electorate)
3. Label Function: Provides a cue for voters on candidate positions; although more individuals moving toward independent label (weakening of political parties)
4. Government Function: helps organize Congress (committee system, leadership, etc.); appointments on a partisan basis; polarization of parties (strengthening of parties within government)
5. Watchdog Function: Keep tabs on the party in power; work to become the party in power
Which party function is most important? Why?
CliffNotes: Functions of Political Parties