Political Parties: Crash Course Government and Politics #40
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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.


  • resqwec

    Ngl it's much harder in America to say that the party reflects the candidate as the parties in the US incorporate broad views and, in the 60's, weren't ideologically different at all

  • Atticus Zapur

    "If you disagree, then go form your own party, you can do whatever you want." Yeah, easier said than done, sir. How lightly that was said. Wow.


    How did you make that party gun can you show me a website to huy or help me know how you made if it was done by yourself and company

  • chase biles

    was anybody else majorly dissapointed with this video?
    Maybe dissapointed is the wrong word… The guy did an alright job explaining things (even though this guy seems like the type of that has read and mastered every DAD JOKE on the planet, yet he still hasnt ever made anybody laugh with one…)
    Anyway, Yes this is good information for our youth to know. Yes there maybe adults that need this information as well. I just assumed that everyone was like myself. As in when we are kids and we learn about voting for the president. The first thing we learn is pick a person… Then almost with the same breath. We are told about political parties and how you dont get one without the other when it comes to voting.
    My dossapintment though comes from typing multiple different criteria into the search box. Onky to have this video pop up at the top on 3 separate searches. I was actually looking for a detailed insight on the 4 different major political parties and how they all differ and some similarities they may share.
    At the gloriois age of 29 now, i would consider myself right of center. Although i considered myself A Democrat when i started out in my first election in 2008 and voted for a very young,handsome, incredibly well spoken Barrack Obama.(i got to meet Sen. Obama in KS when he came back to his mothers home town when I was at college on that same home town.
    still have the pictures!) anyway… i was like most Teen/young Adults and was ready for CHANGE in our world. We were tired of wars and the old way of thinking. It was a beautiful and exciting time of technology and the Future. And it felt at that point in time that what we were doing was EXTREMELY important and that in the early 2k that our time was going to go down in history as a pivotal moment in US history. Rights for every minority group. Legalizing marijuana. Very Very Progressive ideas were just starting to become mainstream, but… there wasnt extremist factions of the far left or right right at this time. It really did feel like how Hunter S. Thompson would describe California in the 60s. ( you just knew for some reason that tgis exact place and moment in time was historicallyt? important and that people would look back and it and wonder what life was like during that time) We just all collectively agreed that the world needed a young well spoken Bi-racial man to represent the face of the greatest nation in the world. at this turn of the Millennium, were we new t world was going to see amazing inventions and achievements within society. We thought that nobody better represented a New Start to a New World and to a new way of thinking as a very open minded race of humans. And we wanted America and Obama to be the embodiment of the 21st century.( even when i was in 7th grade we did an election for President and i voted for Gore instead of Bush. kind of shows how progressivness was in the air during the Millennium even tgough nome of us knew wgat progressive ideological views were back then.
    Anyway… as i grew older and you start figuring out that life isnt wgat u thought after college and that if u really want something in life that you and only you can make it happen while at the same time LIFE is going to actively try and stop you from getting it, in hilarious but yet cruel ways of teaching you to be humble and appreciate simplicity.
    So naturally once i was 27 and was able to vote again i cast my vote as a republican. Directly reflecting my sour views as a human being and not wanting anybody else to fall victim to false dreams and hopes as i once did. Hopefully giving 2017s recent graduates a head start on life that i wasnt afforded.
    But even though my views had become more republican throughout my 20s and how i can very easly see the connection between my own disappointment in how life actually ends up turning out for the majority of Americans. ( theres always exceptions) if i lived on tge california coast, had no kids, and was in killer shape getting laid by fine beautiful women every night….. id probably still be a little on tge progressive side of things.
    The deeper i reflect on my views now days and really within the last year. i feel i fell victim to muhh own stupidity yet again. Just so happens that it is the polar opposite of the spectrum this time around. 18yr i was to caught up in the atmosphere and voted as a reflection of all of these external factors. 27yr again i was so caught up in this atmosphere of not wanting to relive the last 8 years of my life only wishing to feel alive again as i once did. i decided to cast a vote based on anger and disappointment. An internal atmosphere if you will. Almost as if an actioj of rebellion! where i wanted to do the exact opposite of my previous vote. 2007 i cared about the world and injustices and wanted to make the whole world a better place. But 2016 i wanted to worry solely about me amd wanted everyone to have to fight there own battle just as i did and wanted everyone to make mistakes and to suffer just as i did to make ends meet. that why should other people get an easy VIP pass whenever i cant even get into the party!
    iys a very sad way of reflecting on what is EXTREMLY recent history to me. and its very disappointing to know that barely a year ago i feel like i was a much different person than i am now…
    So as ive heard on many of my favorite podcast. im going to continue to make mistakes and dissapoint myself well into my 50s-60s. but im hopping now that i can try and not repeat making the same kind of mistakes that i have before. but it seems in life with every knew challenge you face. youve probably faced it before…. just with a different name or place and with lots of varying factors that make it seem completly different. when in fact its almost exactly the same. Im sure this is going to be much more difficult than im expecting, but… tgats part of me being prepared!
    So my first step is going to content and happy witg polotics.
    the more i look at things i always try and tell people im just slightly right of center. I believe in a lot of things on both the left and tge right. but not all of eitger of the two. so… ive been told i am a Libetarian… which is perfectly fine, but this video i clicked on and have now written a 10 page article over.
    lied to me and said 3 seperate searches that this would answer my now 15 year long confusing journey on what it is to live in
    Thank You

  • Jordan Moore

    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!

  • Christine Erice Gragirena

    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

  • Bryson Rowden

    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.

  • kasa

    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.

  • Eritrea Shabiyaጝሕ EPLF

    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!!

  • Zestamore Garcia

    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.

  • Harold McBroom

    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

  • Kathia Granados

    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

  • mike tite

    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.

  • AILC Rockstars


  • Samantha Crater

    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.

  • the.mighty.kyuss

    "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

  • Ali Akhtar

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

  • Angela Hurston

    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.

  • tomcata1467

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

  • Checkerzzz gaming Hi

    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

  • Ryan Olive

    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.

  • ma ri ya ki

    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.

  • Alexander Wild

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

  • Sharza Shakeel

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

  • Im Smarter Than You

    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.

  • Balanced Stereo

    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!!

  • John Linnon

    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.

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