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The Democratic Party of USA

Introduction Under the Constitution of the United States of America the national government consists of separated institutions which share powers, a system known as the separation of powers. The United States is a federal system. The 50 states are important units of government with considerable powers. Each state has its own constitution and its own laws. This produces great variations between states in civil and criminal law, the range and quality of public services and the burden of taxation. The format of state government reproduces the national system of separated institutions. Federalism also created impediments to coherent nationwide parties by dispersing significant government powers to the different states. Parties had to organize and focus upon government in the separate states, which militated against hierarchical control from a national party headquarters. American parties have been subject to extensive legal regulation. Their organizational structures, selection procedures and funding mechanisms have been imposed by law. Candidates with no previous involvement or loyalty to the party are as eligible to enter as those who have given a lifetime of service. The millionaire Michael Bloomberg exemplified this calculated use of the Republican primary for mayor in New York in 2001. A life-long Democrat, Bloomberg calculated he had little chance of winning his partys primary. He renounced his Democratic affiliation and then he entered and won the Republican primary and went on to win the general election. To win a primary, a candidate has to create a personal campaign organization separate from their party. They recruit their own volunteers as well as employing staff to perform campaign tasks,

raise funds and generate advertising to promote their candidacies with the voters. After the primary, the winners organization persists, becoming the main stay of the campaign for the general election. The party comes to the aid of this personal organization but does not replace it to run the campaign. It provides the candidates organization with services such as registering voters, arranging postal votes, getting voters to the polls on election-day and connecting the candidate to possible sources of funding. The party may also help to finance the campaign but even so, it will account for only a minority of the total the candidate raises. These are the organizational underpinnings of candidate-centered campaigns. The content of the campaign is also candidate-centered. It is the candidates record, character, values and policy proposals that the campaign concentrates upon. The Democratic Party The Democratic Party may be broadly defined as occupying the center-left of the US political spectrum. Though supportive of a free-market economy, the party also places emphasis on equality of opportunity and civil, labor and minority rights. The Democrats are a broad coalition but their European equivalents would generally be affiliated to social democratic, center and radical parties. From the 1930s, the Democrats became a predominantly liberal party. From the 1960s, liberalism came to be associated with a broader agenda and this wider conception of liberalism came to define the Democratic Party. Issues relating to race, gender, morality, the environment and foreign policy were characterized in liberal or conservative terms, with Democrats embracing the former on each issue. Liberals were promoters of minority rights. Both the civil rights and womens movements of the 1960s were liberal causes and their supporters found the Democrats were the more receptive of the two major parties to their concerns. These positions have generated a network of supportive interest groups.

Prominent on the Democratic side are the trade unions, black, women, environmental and prochoice (on abortion) groups. These groups collaborate with the party to promote their shared interests. In elections it involves fund raising, endorsements and mobilizing supporters. These organizational ties help to ally particular sections of the electorate to the party. Democrats draw strong support from those on lower incomes, blacks, Hispanics, women and members of the white middle class with liberal outlooks. This social diversity amongst voters shows through in the partys electoral representatives. Different currents within the party find a degree of formal organization. Most significant is the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), spearheading the New Democrat Movement that seeks to transcend stale left-right debate and define a Third Way1 in politics. It seeks economic growth through free trade combined with fiscal responsibility, and promotes the family and parental responsibility. Once chaired by Bill Clinton, the group remains enthusiastic about the achievements of his presidency in producing sustained growth, a balanced budget and reform of the welfare system. On the 5th July of 2011, DLC founder Al From announced in a statement on the organization's website that the historical records of the DLC have been purchased by the Clinton Foundation. The diversity of the partys support, its attraction to minorities and the unpopularity of liberalism have regularly hindered the Democrats efforts to create an appeal which extends sufficiently into the mainstream to win the presidency. From 1968- 2004 Democrats lost seven of the 10 presidential elections. The 2008 election, the first since 1928 that had not involved either an incumbent President or Vice President seeking the nomination of his party, was regarded by many as the most significant election for a generation. Outgoing incumbent Republican President Bushs policies in particular his controversial military intervention in Iraq and the publics apparent desire for change were key issues throughout the electoral campaign of the Democrats.

The term Third Way refers to various political positions which try to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies ( Bobbio, Norberto; Cameron, Allan.Left and right: the significance of a political distinction. University of Chicago Press, 1997)

Domestic policy and the economy eventually emerged as the main themes in the last few months of the election campaign, particularly after the collapse of the US housing bubble sparked a massive financial crisis which quickly spread around the globe.2 The election prompted an enormously heavy turnout of voters as the Obama campaign galvanized millions of first-time voters, especially the young citizens and those from ethnic minorities. Electoral strategy Before starting an electoral campaign is very important to know clearly the objectives and the means by which they can be accomplished. The campaign is designed within the electoral marketing strategy and also with the certain poll taken into account. The party leaders and the campaign manager are permanently controlling the actions and their consequences. It should be taken in consideration an electoral strategy, namely a coordinated set of actions whose purpose is to ensure election victory. It is amazing how many campaigns failed because the people involved didnt think to make first of all, a plan of action Economic issue in the Democrats electoral strategy On the broad range of economic affairs and pocketbook issues, The Democrats, since the New Deal are usually favored as the party with most voters that believe will best meet their needs. Statements like The Democrats are best for working people and We have better times under Democrats abound when people are asked to state their feelings about the Democratic Party. Democrats are usually perceived as more in touch with the everyday Americans. One familiar image for many voters is that the Democrats are concerned about people like me.3 Surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and for the Press found that, from 2004 to 2007, 50 to 55 percent perceived Republicans as being the party of depression under whose administration jobs were scarce and times were bad.
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POLITICAL PARTIES OF THE WORLD edited by D.J. Sagar, John Harper Publishing, 2009 page 632 Nelson W. Polsby, Aaron Wildavsky, Steven E. Schier, Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011 page 153

Therefore, my opinion is that a campaign in which the salient issues are economic is more likely to aid the Democrats than the Republicans. The Democratic Partys modern tendency promises something for everyone. Democrats support extensions of social welfare programs financed by federal government, and increased minimum wage for underpaid, health care coverage for the uninsured, job training for the unemployed, better prices for the farmer, additional federal funding for education, programs to protect the environment and so on. No one is left out, not even business people, who are promised prosperity and given tax benefit, even they usually remain opposed to the additional government regulation of private industry supported by most Democratic candidates. As a result, opinion surveys usually show that most voters tend to consider themselves closer to Democratic than the Republican position on economic matters and to trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party to handle the economy and domestic policy issues such as health care, education and Social Security. Democratic candidates, therefore have to seek to exploit this advantage by focusing on these topics while doing their electoral strategy. The historic Democratic advantage in the realm of economic policy stems in part from the fact tha Republican presidents were in office when the Great Depression began in 1929 and during four sizable but shorter recessions more recently (1970-1971, 1982-1983, 1991-1992, 20082009). In 2008, for example, the faltering USA economy worked to the electoral benefit of Obama and his fellow Democrats. Obama and his electoral strategy staff succeeded in associating his opponent with Bushs unpopular economic policies in the minds on many voters while positioning himself as the candidate of change. My opinion is that nowadays, Democrats could win by appealing to voters' economic interests. If they also are about to put forth a real alternative, including health coverage for everyone, family leave, affordable college and child care, I consider that Democrats electoral strategy is equivalent with success.

Bibliography: Nelson W. Polsby, Aaron Wildavsky, Steven E. Schier, Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011 Political Parties of the World edited by D.J. Sagar, John Harper Publishing, 2009 References: