Sunday, June 12, 2016

About that Paper - What is a Party Faction?

I'll post a few things this week related to the assigned essay for GOVT 2305. Remember that you are free to develop your own topic, but I'd like it to be about some aspect of the 2016 election. I prefer that it be objective - not based on personal opinions.

For a reminder, this is what is in your syllabus:

As you hopefully know, both major parties are close to selecting their nominees for the presidency. Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee, and though Bernie Sanders is still in the running (and who knows what might happen?) Hillary Clinton looks to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. The primary process was unusually divisive this year, which means there are still hard feelings all around. The job of each nominee will be to try to put the pieces back together. The only way either Clinton or Trump can win the presidency is to have the support of all the various factions that identify with the party – as well as the support of independents and – ideally – some members of the other party. I want you to do some research and figure out how they are going to accomplish that. How are the nominees of the major parties re-positioning themselves for the general election?

One way to approach the question is to think about the two major parties as collections of groups - or factions. Each major party then is better thought of as coalitions of factions. Primary elections tend to involve competition between the preferred candidates of rival factions within each party. If their candidate becomes the party's nominee, then the policies the group promotes may well become enacted into law - assuming other things fall into place as well.

I'd suggest you begin by becoming familiar with the different groups within each party to get a preliminary handle on the subject.

Here are a few places you might want to look:
- Wikipedia: Factions in the Democratic Party (United States).

- Wikipedia: Factions in the Republican Party (United States).
- Directory of American Political Parties.
- The Brooking Institution: Understanding American Parties and Factions.

These collections of past blog posts might also be helpful:

- Democratic Coalition.
- Factions.
- Republican Coalition.

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