| Pol Parties & Interest Groups
Y301 | 3293 | Hershey
To many people, political parties and interest groups are necessary
evils-the selfish and bickering forces that cause delays in policy-making
and create conflicts where there are none. The people who wrote the U.S.
Constitution would have agreed! Parties and organized interests have
suffered even more in public opinion in recent decades. The proportion of
Americans expressing identification with-attachment to-a political party
reached a low point in the mid-1970s from which it hasn't completely
recovered. Fewer people than ever before vote a straight party ticket or
judge candidates using party-based criteria. Yet, at the same time, the
national party organizations and some state parties are healthier in
finances and staffing than they have been for most of this century.
Our job in this course is to understand what parties and interest
groups are capable of doing as intermediaries between citizens and the
state, and how the political environment affects what they actually do. We
will explore changes in the relationships between parties and interest
implications for a democratic system.
There will be a substantial amount of reading in this course. Two
essay exams and a substantial research paper will be assigned.