Study on Role of Political Parties in Campaign
Number of words: 4112
No one can dispute that political parties provides a link to effective democratic governance. Political parties are organized based on the common values, policies, opinions, ideals and shared beliefs. People that share these common characteristics come together to form a political party to use it as a vehicle of ascending to power. A growing body of research on political parties identifies six major roles political parties during the campaign period. These roles include nomination of candidates, providing checks and balances on the government, influencing party and government policies, providing important electoral information to voters, uniting the government, and uniting voters under a common banner or political party. Whether political parties perform these duties or not is still a resonating concern among political scientist scholars. Different political environment can lead to a shift of political party’s roles to address the current needs of any political system. However, is must be emphasized that political parties plays a fulcrum role during campaign period in any political system. This study examines the roles played by political parties during campaign period in United States.
Political parties are the backbone of any political process. In democratic establishments around the globe, the number and type of political parties determines the type of government that comes out of a competitive election. Before, an election takes place, there are a number of thing that political parties must do for an election to succeed. Failure of political parties to perform their role can jeopardize the outcome of the entire election and drive the country to uncertainty. Regardless of their number, each political party in a democratic system plays a fulcrum role during the campaign period for the success of the election process.
The increased uncertainty in the outcome of democratic election outcomes around the globe is raising eyebrows. In the past few decades, elections in developing nations were marred with violence when one or more competitors refused to accept defeat. Researchers have associated this behavior with greed of power and other factors that led to the turn of events. Recently, in the 2020 American presidential election, similar scenario happened when one of presidential candidate claimed that an election had been stolen from him. What is the role played by politicians in enabling this kind of election outcome? Can this new turn of events be linked to the failure of politicians to do their work accordingly during an election process, or is it that all politicians have turned out to be power hungry monsters as……….points out?
What are the roles of political parties before, during, and after an election?
What are the causes of the current political unrests that follow election process?
Are politicians and political parties failing to perform their roles during election period?
What is the future of political parties in United States?
Significance of the study
This study will add more knowledge top the limited knowledge about the current change of the roles played by political parties during campaigns and elections. By focusing on the roles of political parties, it will seek to show the failures and successes of the political system and political parties in United States. This study will enable to reader to establish a clear connection between the changing political climate and failure of political parties in performing their duties during the election period. It will answer the question of whether skirmishes that accompanies the outcome of presidential election are caused by power hungry politicians or misinformation spread by politicians and political parties during and after the campaign period.
Limitation, delimitation and assumption of the study
The research failed to get some of the important information from political parties as the leaders considers it classified. It was not possible for researchers to conduct a statewide survey due to financial limitations
Nomination of candidates
The role of political parties in a democratic elections process cannot be overstated since they provide an avenue or a path to the election to a political office. Past research has argued that a strong and effective political party is imperative in the formation and development of a transparent democratic nation (Lösche, 2019 p 224). Political parties represent the will of the citizens, making the policies of utmost importance to the well-being of the state as a whole. Every political party must nominate members that will represent the party in several elective positions during the campaign process. Therefore, the choice of members is an important process because of the likelihood of selected members portraying the party’s image in a positive or negative light. Political parties in the democratic state do not dish out positions without conducting a background check on the potential nominee to determine if they are worth the seat or not..
There are several factors that the party and other political parties consider in the nomination of its members (Rao, 2019, p.208. Before national or regional elections, political parties conduct primary elections to nominate members representing the party in the general or regional election. There are two ways the party can conduct a primary election; the open process and the closed nomination process (Rao, 2019, p.228). In the closed process, only registered party members are allowed to vote. A member must first register as a party member before they are allowed to participate in the primary election. In the open election process, there are no voting restrictions attached to the voting process. Every person is allowed to participate in the process irrespective of whether they are a registered party member or not.
There are strict guidelines for party nominations laid down by the national electoral system and political parties (Ritter and Tolbe, 2020, P. 23). These laws must be observed during the election process. They are designed to ensure party representatives’ free and fair nomination by preventing cheating and favoritism, which is common in the primary election. Some of the major guidelines that govern the nomination of party aspirants in the primary election include the laws that determine whether party rules and regulations can ensure free, democratic, accountable, all-inclusive, transparent, credible, and non-discriminative party nominations, whether the party rules can organize a primary election in a manner that is implementable and realistic from an economic perspective, whether the rules contain the guidelines under which a member can be elected unanimously without the incidences of corruption and lobbying, whether the rules provide guidelines for the eligibility criteria to enable the nomination committee to determine the eligibility of some members, and whether there are redress guidelines for unsatisfied members after an election.
For the party to succeed in the general election, it must nominate members that can sway people during the campaign, nominees who are conversant with the policies and agenda of the party, candidates that are qualified to hold a political position, and those who are fearless and good speakers (Becker and Steffen, 2016 p.9). The party should select members that have unwavering faith in the party and its ideals. The party should put in mind that the selects members represent the image of the party and their conduct is likely to affect the performance of the party on regional and global levels. If a political party makes a mistake in nominating its representatives, it is likely to perform poorly in the national and regional elections. However, if qualified people are nominated during party nomination, the party will have a higher chance of winning in regional and national elections.
The role played by congress members and senators are the making and passing of laws and policies that affect the functionality and performance of the ruling political party, which is tasked with forming the government under the usual circumstance. According to Manuel (2019 p.72), Legislative bodies follow some guidelines in the process of making and passing laws. Once a member of congress prepares a bill, it is assigned to the congressional committee for a thorough study. If the committee finds the account appropriate, it is put on the calendar where it will be debated, amended, and voted for. If it passes a simple majority, it is moved to the Senate. The Senate is further assigned to a senate committee where it is scrutinized to determine if it is worth a senatorial discussion and voting. If the bill is found worthy by the committee, it is released for debate and vote by the Senate (Aspinall et al, 2020, P.10). A simple Senate majority will pass the bill. After this process, a conference committee comprising members of the two houses is assembled to work out the differences between the Senate and the congress version of the bill to develop a new understanding. The Senate further discusses this version, and if it passes by a simple majority, it is taken to the president for approval or veto.
The power to make and pass laws in Congress and the Senate depends on party representatives. A political party with the majority of members in both houses can dictate how the government works and does (Ahmed, 2018 p.435). For example, if a political party has majority representation in congress, it will have the power to pass or stop bills presented by the minority. They will be able to push through their party agenda without difficulty since the law requires a simple majority for the bill to pass. This scenario, however, presents a significant challenge when the president does not have the majority of members in both houses. Policies that require the sanction of legislative houses will pass with difficulty. Under this circumstance, the government is forced to make painful concessions to please the opposition before it can carry out its functions. It becomes more complicated when the opponent controls both houses. These scenarios are common in the United States. For instance, during the second term of the Obama administration, the Republican Party controlled the Senate and the House of Representatives.
However, political parties must ensure checks and balances in the government, whether the ruling party controls the government or not. Political parties should be at the forefront in ensuring that the government does its work in a way provided by the law but not according to the dictates of the president and the ruling party (Krivonosova and Serrano-Iova, 2021 P. 56). All members should make responsible decisions concerning the bills presented in parliament and avoid using their numbers to derail the functionality of the government by stopping essential bills aimed at helping citizens. The provision of checks and balances should therefore be the role of all congressmen and senators. If one faction presents a statement that is likely to jeopardize the well-being of citizens, all members should rally against it. However, according to Sadursk (2019 p.80), if one faction rallies behind an account that is likely to affect the well-being of the voters, other political factions should provide checks and balances to ensure that a political party with the majority of members does not abuse power.
Political parties are formed based on well-defined agendas and objectives that project the image of that party. Within the party rules, all party members should do whatever possible to ensure that their policies are achieved. During the campaign, every political party drafts a manifesto that contains the promises and commitments that the party makes to the voters to entice them into voting for the party. When these people are finally elected into office, their power and numbers influence central policymaking by legislative bodies. There are two ways in which elective members can influence the outcome of significant policies in the government. The first way is for them to rally against or in favor of the guidelines as a group (thus voting for the bill), and the second way is to boycott the voting process to deny the ruling party the required quorum to pass a bill.
During the campaign period, political parties have the power to shape the opinion of voters. When voters understand that s particular political party supports one specific legislation, they are likely to vote for such party. In addition, the contribution of members from different political parties during political debates helps shape voters’ decision-making and opinions according to points given by all participating candidates. Words spoken by politicians during these events can make or destroy politicians depending on how they will be perceived and interpreted by the voters. This scenario is expected during the final period of presidential campaigns. During the primary election, the party with the best representatives in the grassroots election is likely to do better in the national or presidential election. According to Tadjoeddin (2014, P. 32) the influence of grassroots party representatives on the voters is more significant than that of the presidential flag bearer. On this note, political parties should ensure that they are represented well in the county, and grass-root elections partly determine gubernatorial elections since their success for the top seat.
The purpose of the formation of any political party is to get the chance to run the government. The country’s electoral laws do not, however, give an express win to the candidate that receives the majority of the votes. For a candidate to win a presidential election, they must get 275 Electoral College votes primarily determined by the influence of grassroots politicians. When a political party nominates influential leaders on the local level, the party can better get the majority of the popular vote and Electoral College vote. In summary, the influence of politicians during campaigns plays a significant role in swaying voters in favor or against a particular political party.
There is a relationship between campaign activities and unity of government at the end of the campaign period. During the campaign period, sentiments spoken by politicians play a significant role in the country’s future in terms of peace, cohesion, and integration. According to Godbout and Høyland (2015, p.560), the major cause of unrest that followed the 2020 US presidential elections originated from words spoken by politicians before, during, and after the election. Politicians’ influence over their followers is large enough to cause them to do what their political idols ask them. Therefore, politicians need to consider their actions and words during the campaign period since their words have the power to unite or destroy the government and the country at large. Campaign periods are the most defining moments in American history. Every election is marred with a myriad of events and whistleblowing exercises that focus on the deep secrets and scandals that some leading politicians commit. The exposure of their scandals is usually accompanied by political witch hands, abuses, threats, and other things that are likely to cause havoc during the election.
Another scenario involves the spread of misinformation and lies by politicians, making voters believe conspiracy theories formulated by politicians. Most of these theories turn out to be lethal and a threat to national security. Feeding lies to voters about a particular election process might drive the country into anarchy in an event when the expectations of a particular political party are not met. In addition, when the actions and words of politicians finally translate into political unrest, it is not common to find them taking responsibility for their actions. (Mayer and Polsby 2018, p.7) argues that the state of a country after the election is determined by the words politicians say during and after the election. When for example, one of the favorite candidates loses an election and fails to concede defeat, his followers can stir unrest depending on the actions and words that the politician will speak afterward.
To enhance peace before, during, and after the election, politicians should refrain from using inflammatory words and be willing to take responsibility for their actions and behavior. They should be at the forefront of facilitating unity by speaking good words to their followers and conceding defeat even when it is painful. Politicians should ensure that the interests of the country come faster. They should be able to sacrifice their pride, ego, and will for the country’s good. Actions of these natures will motivate their followers to act responsibly and support the winning party in running the nation’s affairs.
Since it is not easy for politicians to refrain from speaking inflammatory words, rules should be set to illegalize hate speech and languages that spread division during the campaign period. These initiatives will ensure that the actions and behavior of politicians are checked throughout the campaign period, and that dangerous incidence are avoided. Those who don’t obey the law should face the law when convicted.
The campaign period is when politicians market the plan, manifesto, and ideals of a political party. Politicians must provide accurate information to the electorate for them to decide for which party to for. According to Gao and Yu (2020, p.438), a political party with a good marketing strategy is likely to win an election. The party should be keen on the methods used to pass their campaign messages to their audience. When the correct information reaches the voters at the right time, it is easier to sway their allegiance and cause them to vote for the party they would have otherwise rejected were it not for timely and tailored information. Before the campaign begins, political parties are engaged in looking for campaign funds. These funds are primarily used to inform voters why they should vote for one political party and reject the rest.
There are several channels used by politicians in educating voters during the campaign period. The party employs high skilled strategists to manage the communication processes during the campaign period. (Herndon, 2017 p.2) Various voter segments are targeted using an appropriate channel that works well for them. For example, social media passes information to the young generation that spends the longest time with their mobile phones. Older people are targeted using channels like television ads and newspaper ads. The purpose of this initiative is to educate voters about the need to participate in a legal election, inform them about major political that the country faces and how they will address them if elected in office, and criticize the outgoing government for their inability to meet the expectation of the voter during their period in power.
Finally, a political party brings together people from different walks of life and unites them under a standard banner and umbrella. People who subscribe to a particular political party are brought together and united to drive the party’s agenda and objectives. When the party wins, these people share the same joy and are equally grieved when the party fails to win an election. For example, the US elections bring together democrats, republicans, and independents from different walks of life (“BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: THE MARKETING PLAN” 2020 p.180). During campaign rallies, members of the same party can be seen together behaving as siblings. The party brings them together, some going a mile longer by contributing millions for their party of choice.
Research Methodology: Research approach and design
Qualitative data collection methods were used in the study because of the qualitative nature of the study. There was little or no qualitative data that would have warranted the researcher to employ quantitative methods. The motivation behind this method was the nature of the research questions and research objectives: “What is the role of political parties during the campaign period”? The research was supposed to answer this question by examining and analyzing a body of research that had been done on this topic. The subjective nature of this method allowed in-depth analysis and comprehension of the information obtained from past research.
Data collection methods
The research employed primary and secondary data collection methods. Researchers obtained data from the leading media outlets in the country on the past presidential elections. It also obtained data from two major political parties in the country to determine their roles as a party during the campaign and election period. Primary data collection involved a one on one interview. 50 voters were interviewed randomly from five major swing states to determine the role played by political parties in their states. Data was collected and analyzed using qualitative data analysis methods.
Data analysis, Interpretation, and Results
Data was collected using data collection method and was analyzed to determine the role played by political parties during the campaign period in United States. Because of the qualitative nature of the collected data, content and narrative analysis was used in the analysis. Data groups with similar characteristics were grouped together and evaluated and narrative analysis was used to reformulate the responses. Of the questionnaires that were used in data collection, 10% had ommissions while another 10% had double entries and cancellation. These were discarded leaving the researcher with 80% that were used in the analysis. 30% of the remaining questionnaires were found to contained party biased information and were therefore not used in the analysis.
90% of American voters agreed that political parties had a big role to play before during and after the campaign period. 80% associated the current turn of events in the political arena to the failure of political parties to contain their supporters while 75% associated the political unrest that has been witnessed in the current political arena to misinformation spread by political parties. 95% agreed that the power to start or stop post-election violence is vested in political parties and politicians while 80% agreed that peace and stability of a country is dependent on the health of a political system in the country.
In conclusion, democracy is made possible by the availability of political parties and their peaceful participation in a free, fair, transparent, and credible election process. A political party plays six major roles during an election. These roles include providing information to voters, nominating candidates, creating balance in the legislative and governance process, influencing policy, uniting the government, and bringing voters together. It is the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to ensure that politicians play their roles during the campaign period without infringement on the rights of other citizens. The positive or negative outcome of an election depends on the conduct of political parties during the campaign period. Political parties should perform their duties appropriately during the campaign period to prevent political uncertainties that are associated with disputed elections. Further research should be conducted to determine the extent of the damage caused by failure of political parties to perform their duties during the campaign period.
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