Economic Theory of Democracy
16: Stokes, "Spatial Models"
17: Fiorina, "Decline of Collective Responsibility" |
18: Key, "Elections as Collective Decisions" |
(Damian A. Mayho (2000?)
Parties in a two-party system deliberately change their platforms so that they resemble one another: whereas parties in a multiparty system try to remain as ideologically distinct from each other as possible.1. The Spatial Analogy And Its Early Use
Harold Hotelling invented a linear scale running from zero to 100 in a left to right fashion.2. The Effects Of Various Distributions Of Voters
The possibility that parties will be kept from converging in two-party system depends upon the refusal of extremist voters to support either party if both are alike- not identical, but merely similar.3. The Origin of New Parties
There are two types of new parties: Those that win elections and those that influence already existent parties to change their policies.The Decline of Collective Responsibility in American Politics ......
16: Donald E. Stokes, "Spatial Models of Party Competition"
(Julie Stanton, 2000)
-The use of spatial ideas to interpret party competition
is a universal phenomenon of modern politics.
The extreme left is complete government control, at the extreme right is no government intervention beyond limited state operations.
- Each voter is somewhere on the scale according to how much government intervention and control he wants and each party according to how much government control it advocates.- Harold Hotelling sought to answer the question of why two competing firms are often found in adjacent positions near the middle of a spatial market.
-Hotelling was able to show that the two firms would converge at adjacent positions in the middle of the market. He felt this model could explain why Democrats and Republicans are found so close to the center of liberal-conservative dimension.- Arthur Smithies expanded on this idea. He argued that electoral demand is elastic since a voter who feels that both parties are too far from his ideological position can simply not vote.
- Smithies model would explain why Democrats and Republicans were some distance apart.- The most evident criticism of spatial model is the conception of single dimension political conflict which cannot be sustained.
- Parties may be perceived and evaluated on several levels, the levels that are salient may change widely over time.- The conclusion is that the spatial model should only be treated as explicit variables the cognitive phenomena that the prevailing model removes from the discussion by assumption.
#17 Morris P. Fiorina
Al Zachos 2004
-Fiorina is a government professor at Harvard University, who believes that government suffers increasingly from single-issue politics.
-He also said that, as of late, there has been a trend of weak leadership in times of critical importance, and also a series of short term solutions to long term problems-This system only works if those elected to power know that they will be held accountable for their actions, thus they will make decisions based on their constituencies interests.
Fiorina believes that this lack of responsibility is partly due to the continuing decline of the party in the U.S.
-He also explains the phases of party organizations in phases; the patronage system declined largely after the passage of the Civil Service Act of 1883, at the time of the New Deal there was a temporary resurgence in party organization, after 1970 there were laws passed within the two major parties that further weakened party organization-Fiorina also goes on to say that the party in government has weakened as well; this has led to a trend of split-party government throughout the state and federal governments.
-Some of the consequences of the decline of collective responsibility are: immobilism, single-issue politics, and popular alienation from government.
-Immobilism is caused by electoral interdependence of the party in government, however, some say that it is because of the growth of single-issue politics more so than party decline.To conclude, Fiorina finishes with. “In contemporary America, officials do not govern they merely posture.”
By Shane Newlands, Fall 2008
The vast majority of the electorate vote retrospectively, that is, on their opinion of the past 4 to 8 years, especially the past 12 months.
4 Major Factors that affect voting patterns
- Tells us that they disagree with current policy, but [do not] know how or why.
- 1932 (Hoover v. Roosevelt), 1952 (Truman v. Eisenhower)
- Voices the agreement of the electorate on the policies of the current government.
- Midterm election of 1934 and Presidential election of 1936 (New Dealers)
- In the US, policy change is usually gradual and is not a platform for campaigning, it just happens.
- 1896, William Jennings Bryan frightened Americans because of his advocacy of mass silver coinage.
- Results in non-congruent majorities.
- This is rectified in American politics in Congress, where odd combinations of beliefs are more possible.
- Liberal isolationists in the mid-twentieth century.
Determining what decides elections is more of an art than a science. However, the important thing is that election results ARE accepted, and power is transferred peaceably. Individual voters also make peace with elections, either saying its best for the country, it wasn’t really too important, they never really cared which candidate was elected, or that they’d win the next round.