The Political Spectrum - Unit Notes


 The American Political Spectrum 1.     Political Spectrum: Illustrates the ideological differences in political attitudes based on individuals or group’s readiness or reluctance to accept change. a. The differences are often used as a means of distinguishing between political parties, even though the distinctions are generalizations. 2.     Political Ideology: A comprehensive view of a social, economic, or political matter. 3.     Liberal: Someone who believes that government must take action to change economic, political, and ideological policies thought to be unfair.-         Also called ‘LEFT WING’ 4.     Conservative: Someone who seeks to keep in place (status quo) the economic, political, and social structures of society.-         Also called ‘RIGHT WING’ 5.     Moderate: Advocate policies that are either a mixture, or somewhere between, liberal and conservative.-         May or may not be uncommitted or lack interest in issues.-         May lack specific philosophy of politics.-         Pragmatic: ‘If it works, do it.’-         Situational: Depends on the situation. 6.     Similarities between Liberals and Conservatives (areas of agreement)-         Both believe in the use of the democratic process and non-violent methods to achieve goals.-         Both believe in the basic principles of democracy.·                The basic dignity of the individual.·                Individual freedom under the law.·                Equality under the law.·                Majority rule, with protection of minority rights.·                The necessity of compromise. 7.     Reactionaries: Extreme ‘RIGHT WING’ who favor a return to the past and accept any means to accomplish goals (including violence). 8.     Radicals: Extreme ‘LEFT WING’ who favor basic change accomplished through any means, even revolution (use of violence). 9.     Interest Groups: -         Lobbyists: A person or group which applies pressure to the policy making process.-         Political Action Committee (PAC): A committee formed by a special-interest group to raise money for their favored political candidates.-         Mass Media: Any means of communication that reaches a large audience.1.     Television, radio, newspapers, internet, movies, cell phones.2.     Can influence elections by presenting positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate information about a candidate or issue.3.     Can influence the political process by encouraging the public to ask for recall elections, special elections, vote recounts, and or changing the dates of primary elections.4.     Can influence public policy by prompting politicians and or bureaucrats to change their positions on specific legislation or other public issues.