- Select a political party (Websites for major parties listed below, or one you choose). It may be one with which you are affiliated, or a party with which you have an interest in exploring the party platform and the issues and political agenda of the party.
Major Political Parties
- Democratic National Committee: www.democrats.org
- Republican National Committee: www.rnc.org
- Green Party: www.greens.org
- Libertarian Party: www.lp.org
- Reform Party: www.reformparty.org
- Tea Party Patriots www.teapartypatriots.org/
- You are preparing a Power Point Briefing Presentation for a group of party activists Your goal is to generate enthusiasm for attracting a key demographic group to the party. (Examples: the “Youth” vote, “Hispanic” vote, etc.).
- Remember, a political party wants to reach out to new voters, but must sustain their appeal to existing members of the party.
- By evaluating the website for the party, you should be able to critically analyze whether it will appeal to your target voting segment. Prepare a Power Point Briefing of no fewer than fifteen slides and no more than 25 slides.
- Review the instructions and grading criteria for the Power Point Briefing Presentation (PDF).
“No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation.” –Clinton Rossiter
Clinton Rossiter. Parties and Politics in America. New York: Cornell University Press, 1960, p. 1.
Federalist Paper No. 10
Federalist Paper No. 10, by James Madison, is one of the most quoted essays because he discusses the problem of “factions.” At the time, many believed the United States would be too large to govern as a democracy due to many factions forming and making it difficult to form a majority opinion. Madison makes the case for a Republic being the “cure” for factions.
He defines “factions” as a group of people united by the same beliefs, interests, and passions—so much so that by uniting behind these common goals, the group will totally disregard the rights of other citizens. He concludes there are two options: remove the causes of factions forming, or control the effects of factions. How do you remove the causes of formation? You either take away liberty, or give all citizens the same interests.
One of the most famous quotes explains why taking away liberty will not work: “liberty is to faction what air is to fire.” How could we remove liberty when we believe is essential to our political life? How can we give every citizen the same interests? The option is impossible because individuals will always have emotions and self-interests.
James Madison’s brilliant argument was the cure for many factions, majority rule would “tame” factions and cause them to want to work together to get things done. A Republic would permit citizens many ways to express their views, and thus influence the political system.
How Do We Protect Minority Groups?
James Madison addresses this question stating factions will have to negotiate differences. The Republic creates a system of majority rule, but it is always tempered by minority rights. A majority may never rule in ways in which a minority would find intolerable. A large Republic makes it easier to give voters wider choices and options—but if voters are not informed, it makes it easier to fool and misguide voters. A large Republic has a greater number of participants in the system making it more difficult to find a majority. Even a majority will find it challenging to work with all groups. This is a check and balance on one faction gaining too much power.