Political Parties: Crash Course Government and Politics #40

Political Parties: Crash Course Government and Politics #40

Hi, I’m Craig and this is Crash Course Government
and Politics and today we’re gonna talk about parties. Woo! Yeah! No, not those kind of
parties. We’re talking about political parties, which can be a lot less fun. Woo. [Theme Music] So, today we’re talking about why we have
political parties and the role of parties in American politics. But before we dive into
the pool – some would say a cesspool – that is political parties, let’s have a definition.
Political party: a team of politicians, activists and voters whose goal is to win control of
government. So kind of an important point: the goal of a party is to control government
and in the U.S. that means electing people who agree with and usually are members of
the party. So above everything else, parties exist to win elections. Parties don’t mainly
focus on influencing policies, although particular policies are often associated with particular
parties. Influencing elected officials is mainly the job of interest groups, who we’ll
talk about soon. For now, let’s keep in mind that political parties and interest groups
are not the same thing. So let’s look at three reasons why we have
political parties. One: I dunno. Two: I dunno. Three: I dunno. I do know, I’ll tell you in
a second. First, we create political parties to facilitate collective action in the electoral
process. Given that parties exist to win elections, this is probably the main reason we have them.
But what does facilitate collective action in the electoral process mean exactly? Basically,
it means that parties make it easier for voters to form groups that will vote in certain ways.
Here’s an example, albeit one that overgeneralizes a little bit. Just come on, just go with it.
In general, republican candidates support policies that are more friendly to business,
so if you’re a businessman, you know that affiliating yourself with the republican party
is probably going to benefit you. The second reason given for forming political
parties is that they facilitate policy making. This reasoning applies to elected members
who being to political parties, not to voters. So membership in a party allows politicians
to work together. It’s easier for democrats to form alliances with other democrats and
sometimes these alliances have the added benefit of strengthening the party. Party affiliation
can help legislators from different places work together. For example, common republicanness
should make it easier for a republican from rural Kansas to work with another republican
from suburban Florida. Sometimes though, party ideology can prevent even members of the same
party from working together as happened in 2008 when republicans couldn’t agree on whether
the government should bail out struggling banks. A third, and I must say not altogether convincing
reason why we have political parties is to deal with the problem of politicians’ ambition.
According to this idea, parties provide a structure, maybe even a career ladder for
politicians so that they’re not always acting in their own self interest. The fact that
the party provides different leadership possibilities and some sense of discipline prevents ambitious
politicians with largely similar views from competing against each other, like say 16
candidates running for president all in the same party. Just wouldn’t happen. Ever. So that’s why political parties exist, but
what do they do? Well, they have five main functions in the U.S. and I’ll leave it up to you
to decide which – if any – is the most important. Eagle doesn’t get to decide.
Eagle doesn’t get to decide anything. So here’s the list: 1. Recruit candidates;
2. Nominate candidates; 3. Get out the vote; 4. Facilitate electoral choice;
5. Influence national government. The first thing that parties have to do if
they want to win elections is find candidates. This is a two-step process involving recruiting
and nominating. We’ve already mentioned that in order to be a good candidate for office,
you generally have to have an unblemished personal record – like me – or at least be
really good at heartfelt apologies. I don’t have an unblemished record and I’m very sorry
about that. Also, you need the ability to raise money. Of course, in order to avoid
any problems with campaign financing, it’s helpful to have money yourself, but why spend
your own money if you can convince people to give money to your campaign? Maybe print out
some hats. Merch works, merch helps raise money. There are lots of people who want to run for
office, although there’s some debate about whether we’re really getting the best candidates.
The pay isn’t great and neither is the prestige anymore, and then there’s the scrutiny that
a run for office puts you and your family through. Parties play an important role in
sifting through all the people who want to run and picking those who have the best chance
of winning. Nomination is the process through which a potential candidate is actually chosen
to represent a particular party in an election. When we talk about nominations in the US,
we’re mostly talking about the presidency because that’s the only office that goes through
the formal nomination process. But technically congressman and senators are nominated by
their parties to run as well. There are three ways that a candidate for president can be
nominated. In the old days, presidential candidates were nominated at a convention or caucus,
which are gatherings of party members governed by rules. Conventions still occur every four
years but they’re largely ceremonial these days because presidential candidates are actually nominated
during the primaries. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Primary elections are held to choose candidates
who will then run in the later general election. Political parties decide when and how primaries
will be held and who the candidates will be. These are the elections that pit democrat
against democrat and republican against republican to see who will face off in November. Primaries
can either be open or closed. Most states have closed primaries, which means that only
registered voters of a particular party can vote in that election. So, in a state with
closed primaries, like New York, only democrats can vote in the democratic primary. And since
in many districts one party is overwhelmingly dominant, the primary winner is very likely
to win the general election too. In states with open primaries, members of any party
can vote in the primary, which sounds great because it encourages more participation but
it also opens up opportunities for mischief *evil laughter*. For example, if there’s a
strong republican candidate up against a weak republican candidate in a state with open
primaries, democrats can turn up and vote for the weak republican in the hopes that
if he wins he will have less of a chance in the general election running against a democrat.
Sneaky. In presidential elections, the winner of a
primary election will be assigned a certain number of party delegates. Delegates are non-elected
party members who actually nominate the candidates at the convention. The delegates are usually
pledged to vote for the candidate who won the primary in their state, at least on the
first ballot, and majority rules in nominating. This is why we see so much election coverage
of primaries and why some states like New Hampshire try so hard to have their primaries
early. Once a candidate has sewn up enough delegates, he or she becomes the nominee,
and the convention serves largely as a formality. Although the primary system is more democratic
than the convention, it still has problems. Even though there’s more opportunity for participation,
that doesn’t mean people actually participate. In fact, only about 25% of those eligible
to vote in primary elections actually do, and these tend to be the more ideologically
extreme members of the parties. Because to them, winning elections matters most. So,
if only partisan voters show up, we tend to get uber-partisan candidates. And because
they have to win bruising primaries before they even get to the general election, these
candidates tend to be aggressive and uncompromising. That’s good when you’re competing in an election
but not so good when you’re trying to work with other people to craft policies or, in
very rare cases, legislation. This is why many people think that primaries add to
political polarization in the US. Thanks, Thought Bubble – you got my vote. There’s a third way that a person can become
a candidate, but it’s a long and dangerous path. Hey, Stan, zoom the camera in as I say that.
It’s a long and dangerous path *evil laughter*. A person can run as an independent
and if they get enough signatures on a petition, they can become a candidate. You’re more likely
to see this in congressional races but even then it’s not super common. It’s also really not that
long and dangerous as we implied in that last shot. The third thing that parties do is mobilize
voters, also known as getting out the vote. This is pretty obvious because you can’t elect
a candidate if you don’t get people out to vote for them – duh! Parties get out the vote
through direct mail, email and advertisements, and they can also help with voter registration
drives. The main thing the party does in terms of getting out the vote is coordinate volunteers
to help encourage voting. If you want to help on a campaign or with an election effort,
your local party office is a good place to start. Another good place to start is getting out of bed.
Getting out the bed is a campaign we should have. Parties also help to facilitate electoral
choice. Basically, a political party acts sort of like a brand. So, knowing which party
a candidate represents acts as a kind of shorthand for voters in the same way that seeing, say,
a Netflix logo lets you know that you’re about to chill. I’m not going to go into what each
party stands for right now but let’s just say that knowing that a candidate is a republican
or a democrat allows you to figure out pretty much what they stand for even if you don’t
know anything about the candidate. Political parties even help non-partisan voters by narrowing
down political choices and making things easier. If you want to, you can choose a candidate
by answering two relatively simple questions: which party better represents my interests and
values, and which candidate belongs to that party? Finally, believe it or not, political parties
have a role in the way the national government actually works. Party membership is really
important in Congress. Parties determine who the Speaker is since he or she always comes
from the majority party and is chosen by a vote of members of that party. Parties also
determine the composition of the committees and party leaders assign members to those
committees. And parties help determine who the chairs of the committees are and they,
along with the Speaker and the majority leader in the Senate, largely shape Congress’ agenda.
The president and his party have a reciprocal relationship – that’s the best kind of relationship
and the most fun to say. Reciprocal. The president is the leader of his party and his personal
character and popularity helps to shape the party’s brand – for better or worse – and can
be used to raise money. On the other side, the party throws its support behind the president’s initiatives and
helps to elect candidates that support him in Congress. So, at their most basic level, parties exist
to elect political candidates and thus gain control of the government. In order for them
to do this well, they need to provide voters with clear electoral preferences and encourage
them to act on those preferences. In a way, this branding function – helping voters to
choose between Candidate A and Candidate B – is what parties are all about. But you’re
free to disagree and if you do, go form your own party and do whatever you want. It’s a
party! Woo! Thanks for watching, see you next time. Crash Course Government and Politics is produced
in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from
Voqal. Voqal supports non-profits that use technology and media to advance social equity.
Learn more about their mission and initiatives at voqal.org. Crash Course is made with the help
of all these hard-line partiers. Thanks for watching.


  1. I absolutely love these videos!! I am in American Government 1113 and we watch some of these for homework, but I use them to study all the time. I really love Government so it's amazing to have an education video series that is serious but funny all the same. Also I anxiously await the eagle punch every episode!

  2. Are the hosts of this show auditioning for a role as the next Micro Machines guy? I don't understand why ALL of them talk so fast. I have many ESL students who would like to enjoy your videos. Please lay off the crack pipe. – Concerned teacher

  3. George Washington warned against the 2 part system in his farewell address. It's hard to find anyone who totally agree with one party or another party.

  4. Two major things wrong with this picture, Electoral college and only two parties.
    The electoral college is just a really weird system that really doesn't represent at all what people vote.
    And two parties? It's just odd. We have parliamentary elections every 4 years with set number of representatives chosen, by people voting for them. There can pretty much be as many parties as you want, but if people don't vote any representatives for the party after two elections they are out of parliament.
    Then there are presidential elections every 6 years which is is a lot less complicated than latter, it's in either one or two stages. But when you get more than half of the votes you have won, in second stage you just put first and second against each other. Every party can put one candidate. One person gets one vote and it goes directly to results. This is the stripped down version of it.

    Ofc I don't think you could necessarily straight copy this to the US, but it's a heck of a lot more power to people.

  5. Your explanation was great but fast and contains hard sentences, complex syntax and difficult context to grasp sometimes.. I got some ideas even I do not understood all what you said!!

  6. I think we should have a lower minimum wage but a higher tax rate so we could increase the ammount of jobs but still have benefits for the extremely poor. What party do I belong to? I also think we shouldn't spend a bunch of money on the army unless we are being direct attacked and belive we should live on a more environmentally friendly earth with lots of health care. Another belief for me is that people should not be put in jail if they commit a crime, this is because putting people in cages and giving them crappy food for years and then letting them out will severly damadge their brain and make them worse then they were when they went in, people that commit crimes should be forced to go on an extremely healthy diet and they should be brain scanned to check if their brain damage is curable.

  7. If you want REAL change… I'm running for the 2020, anyone wants to know what I'm about, Google Harold McBroom In Reverence to Thee click on obvious link, when page loads, click on Candidate Harold J. McBroom

  8. Is anyone willing to take 1 federal government test and 3 quizzes (5 questions each) for me for $20? (you need to get a 95+ on them

  9. Sept. 24, 1976The Voice of The People
    VOTING IS DISHONEST AND FRAUDULENTGROTON – Perhaps people are grasping reality despite the indoctrinations we have been subjected to via our schools, media, government, and others who wish to maintain the status quo, i.e. the few controlling, and living at the expense of the many. This country was founded on the individual rights to life, liberty, and property which are inherent in the nature of man.  Yet today most laws, regulations, and taxes are clear violations of the rights of the individual in favor of group, society, government, and the collective.  
    Has it ever dawned on the editors that the attitudes of the 70 million projected non-voters may be very consistent with the
    reality that the concept of voting and electing representatives is basically dishonest and fraudulent?  IF VOTING COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IT WOULD BE MADE ILLEGAL!  There is no way any politician can legally represent anyone because they were elected on a secret ballot by a small percentage of voters. They then claim to represent the people who voted against them and even those who wisely chose not to participate in such criminal activity.
    If you vote and are in the majority you violate the rights of the minority, or vice versa.  The implication is "might makes
    right".  If you vote you are implicitly agreeing to play the coercion game and must accept the results.  If a person doesn't vote, or
    otherwise participate in the aggression of government they are on very sound ground, consistent moral grounds as they attempt to live in peace and liberty.  Which are you for, individual freedom, or the tyranny of a dictator, the majority, or so-called "law"?  I think it is time the media made it explicitly clear where they stand.  We cannot be part slave and free at the same time.  It is amazing how many humans will accept almost anything and even adjust to living in chains if told to do so.  By its very nature politics is corrupt. Let us not be beguiled into going along with the establishment.  Let us show that we are aware and demand our freedom by not voting or sanctioning aggression.  The coercive society can only exist with the sanction of us, its victims.  If we want liberty and peace we must not attempt to shun responsibility by voting while politicians plunder us.ROBERT S. BORDEN, M.D.
    North Main St.


  11. Around the 2:40 mark he says 16 candidates from the same party running for president would never happen. EXCEPT, that is exactly what is happening right now (2019) in the Democratic party for 2020.

  12. "The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
    To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

    – Douglas Adams

  13. "16 candidates running for the president from the same party… It would never happen." Democrats in 2020 Hold my beer.

  14. Haha, when he jokes about 16 candidates competing he's referencing the Republican primary race of 2015. Now it's 2019 and we have as many Democratic candidates competing with each other. Hmmm, seems like reason #3 for parties isn't working so well.

  15. "Ignorance makes most men go into a party. Shame keeps them from getting out of it."–George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, (THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS).

  16. None of them can hide as we all see the biggest man who started wiki Link s is finally Going to prison 29 indictments those links are related into Satanic Evil evidence they got all his link so see no more dark web soon .In God I Trust All whom were involved shall be sharing the same prison with him

  17. All of the parties have destroyed there names with the new world order and the things you vote on. on the dark web and other forms of internet’s. The whole two party government system is over. Every election ever has been rigged to an extent.

  18. I like watching Crash Course viseos. However I think it is too fast for me (or maybe same with some people). Maybe that’s how you want to present all your videos but maybe you want to consider slowing down just a bit. Good thing there’s an option in Youtube to slowdown playback.

  19. 6:00 …gee , I wonder who that could be? Here is a hint; it rhymes with "Killery". Oops! Thats her real name.

  20. LOL, this is single most failed attempt to copy John Green.
    You can't substitute him, dude. Bring your own style.

  21. Yet businesses like google, facebook, and twitter flock to left wing politicians instead of right wing ones. Being "pro business" really is just a factor of what business rather than just one party.

  22. Doing a Progressive Tax on (Just) the “Greedy Part” of Wealth & Conservatively Spending (Just it) on Social Programs gets us a “Stable Society” (the “True Creator” of All Wealth!!) AND we do it with “Direct Democracy” where WE Directly Propose, Enact & Enforce “Merit Based Standardized” Laws & “Money” isn’t a factor!! – "Like" this so we all See & Do this!!

  23. Both sides over- exaggerate their impressions of the other. Especially extremists, which seems to be what most of the commenters on YouTube are. I believe that 'liberals' have swung more towards the center, politically, lately. Especially since the last election with Hillary and Trump, pulling tricks. And supporting Trump's securing of the Mexican border. (Just enforcing immigration policies). I've become Independent, myself. I've always been more socialist, as in social democracies, like in Europe, combining both economies. I realized that there may be realities like having to compromise on air quality, in order to build more factories at home, to replace dwindling imports from abroad, due to a return to tariffs. Hopefully new factories will be cleaner, and that's what I believe both liberals and the right would want. You see- I know that the right really doesn't want air pollution. But if they were given an option to replace long-lost jobs with cost-effective factories that don't pollute, or have clean, alternative energy that would be phased in, rather than just a sudden switch, throwing people into the dark, they might go for it. That would be win-win. If it could be done.

  24. “Political Parties don’t exist to influence policy.” That is an astounding, but typical, PBS falsehood. It is just that their “Policy,” is: to hold on to their seats and power no matter what ! Since PBS is a Leftist Organization at IT’S CORE, perhaps they are not a good source of learning about Civics to begin with. Anyone who uses the word “Collective” in explaining the purpose of government, must not be talking about The United States government.

  25. Why did only white people go into the Republican door but then a black man and Mexican woman went into the Democrat door, that seems like a message

  26. I've said for years I believe elections are pointless because I believe the next president is picked before anyone publicly announces they're running and everything from that point on is a show put on for the American people . I believe Trump was picked before hand , Hillary knew this all along and because of the show they put on for the 2016 election was so decisive they decided to keep it going straight through til 2020. Elections are nothing but a very well written and staged reality TV show, this one is just more intense with plot twists to keep people interested in their show keeping them blind to what really goes on, they even go as far as arresting people who have actually committed crimes, using them in their plot twists making it seem all that much more realistic. Other then all this since 2016 think back as far as you can to all the times and official was caught committing crimes, when I do i remember that regardless how big or deprived the criminal actions were 95% of those crimes resulted in nothing more then asking yes asking that official to resign, 4% of crimes committed by official were made a big story in the news for 1 to 3 days then nothing more said and letting those officials continue to do there jobs without any repercussions and the last 1% are actually charged not because evidence was better against them then all the others but because politically it was beneficial to one of the parties, in most cases Democrats. I 100% believe everything to do with politicians on TV is nothing more then a well planned and written reality TV show with the purpose of manipulate American citizens to believing it's all real and that we have a real role in the political process.

  27. To say this video is not good for anyone is to say nothing. This "educational" video, which is assigned to freshmen of high school, does not help them to learn or even understand anything All is inappropriate here: the speaker, the manner of the speaker, his attitude, and all this is done. May be, just may be, the speaker is knowledgeable, but it is impossible to figure that out and no desire to do that. The speaker is mumbling something in e terribly hight speed mostly enjoying himself. Very unpleasant impression and I do not recommend anybody to watch it, especially our kids as "an educational material".

  28. Why do we even have to register for a specific group? We do we have to be democratic or republican? Why can’t we just be in the middle and vote for whoever has the best ideology’s based off of their platforms for that year?

  29. A lot of voters will claim to be a member of the political party that they often vote for, by saying things such as "I am a Democrat", or "I am a Republican". In high school, I even heard one of my teachers say that she would vote for Trump just because she was "a Republican". This claim has no logic. A voter cannot literally be a member of a political party (unless they are a politician). A voter is supposed to vote entirely based on policy, not on bias towards a political party.

  30. You lost me at get out of bed…or in my case the hammock. Sorry democracy you can't beat hammock time. You can come take a nap though when you're tired.

  31. Jius trump make amereca graet .democrat can't make amereca good .democrat sleep all day play all nigth. Who agian trump .some think wrong whith brin loco loco borito. Please wayup. Comeback volt for trump god bless you.

  32. I don’t know one single Republican that’s a “business” man. They’re all hard working Americans that typically make up the backbone of our countries military, police dept, farming communities, fire fighters, etc. Point is you clearly have no actual concept of what a Republican is and there’s no factual piece of paper that says a Republican supports big business….ever. Sounds like you want to demonize a party and make them sound like it’s about $$$. You also said you don’t see 16 different people running for President at the same time…feels like the Democrats had just shy of 50 at one point. This whole system is under attack and we as Americans need to act fast

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