Tutor profile: Jessica S.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What are some common explanations for two-partyism in the U.S.?
The dualist theory - is the idea that people naturally gravitate towards two opposing views Spatial Theory - is the idea that parties in the US form on a bell-shaped curve with the median voter in the middle. This causes the parties to form on either side of the median voter in order to form a strong voter base and gain electoral power. (Downs) Electoral Structure Theory - is the idea that the structure of the election system (SMSP vs. PR) systems will dictate the formation of parties (Duverger) Social Cleavage Theory - is the idea that parties form based on differences in the constituencies. These could be language, ethnicity, class, religion, etc.
Subject: Political Science
What is a single claim/mutually reinforcing cleavage party? Which social divisions are most commonly expressed by political parties?
A single claim, mutually reinforcing cleavage party is a party where the constituents are all a part of the same party but have different cleavages that reinforce their membership of that party. The democratic party attracts a vast array of different people for different reasons and this allows them to reach more of the same type of people. For example, minorities like African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to vote for a democratic candidate because other members of their same minority also vote democrat. So the ethnic cleavage is reinforcing itself in the party structure. Cleavages that are most common are: Language (French vs. English in Canada) Class/Economic (Labor vs. Capital in UK) Ethnicity (Black vs. White in US & South Africa) Religion (Catholic vs. Protestant in Ireland) Tribal (Hutu vs. Tutsi in Rawanda)
Lijphardt distinguishes between “majoritarian” and “consensus” models of party systems. Briefly describe the distinguishing characteristics of each.
Majoritarian (Westminster) Model: (used by UK & New Zealand) - no minority veto - unicameral - two-party system - no written constitution - constituency driven - less likely to build coalitions Consensus Model: - minority veto - bi-cameral - multiparty system - written constitution - consensus driven - more likely to build coalitions
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