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Political Science
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • American Government
  • Oss0112
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    Political Parties: Course Map & Recommended Resources


    Political Parties

    1. Explain the role political parties play in a democratic political system
    2. Describe the reasons for the two-party system in American politics
    3. Discuss the contributions of third parties in American politics
    4. Compare and contrast a two-party system and a multiparty system
    5. Explain the decentralized structure of political parties in American federalism
    6. Describe the tactics employed by political parties to achieve their political goals
    7. Explain how American political parties have evolved over time including the transition of party-centered politics to candidate-centered politics

      Recommended Textbooks

      Discussion Questions and Key Concepts

      Discussion Questions

      1. Trace the historical roots and development of the Democratic and Republican parties.

      2. Identify the reasons why the US only has two major political parties.

      3. What roles do third parties play?

      4. Is a vote for a third party a “wasted vote”? Explain.

      5. Many have suggested that the two parties and the electorate are polarized today. In what ways do you see the parties polarized? What effect has this had on issues such as immigration being resolved?

      Key Terms or Concepts (Define):

      1. Factional party

      2. Single-issue party

      3. Single-member districts

      4. Plurality voting

      5. Proportional representations

      Supreme Court Cases

      1. Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

      2. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2016)