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Part of the Politics series Politics List of political topics Politics by country Politics by subdivision Political economy Political history Political history of the world Political philosophy Political science Political system Democracy Federacy Feudalism Meritocracy Monarchy Parliamentary Presidential Semi-presidential Theocracy Capitalist Communist Anarchist Mixed economy City-state Dictatorship Directorial International relations (theory) Political scientists Comparative politics Public administration Bureaucracy Street-level bureaucracy Adhocracy Public policy (Legal doctrine) Public interest Separation of powers Legislature Executive Judiciary Electoral branch Sovereignty Theories of political behavior Subseries Elections Electoral systems Voting Federalism Form of government Ideology Political campaigning Political parties Politics portal v · d · e Part of the Politics series Party politics Political spectrum Left–right politics Left-wing · Right-wing Party platform   Party system Dominant-party Multi-party Non-partisan Single-party Two-party Lists Ideologies Parties by country Parties by UN geoscheme Politics portal v · d · e A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions. Parties often espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a coalition among disparate interests. Contents 1 Regulation of political parties 2 Voting systems 3 Partisan style 3.1 Nonpartisan 3.2 Single dominant party 3.3 Two political parties 3.4 Multiple political parties 3.5 Balanced Voting multiple-party systems 4 Party funding 5 Colors and emblems for parties 6 International organizations of political parties 7 Types of political parties 8 See also 9 References 10 Bibliography 11 External links Regulation of political parties The freedom to form, declare membership in, or campaign for candidates from a political party is considered a measurement of a state's adherence to liberal democracy as a political value. Regulation of parties may run from a crackdown on or repression of all opposition parties, a norm for authoritarian governments, to the repression of certain parties which hold or promote views which run counter to the general ideology of the state's incumbents (or possess membership by-laws which are legally unenforceable). Furthermore, in the case of far-right, far-left and regionalist parties in the national parliaments of much of the European Union, mainstream political parties may form an informal cordon sanitaire which applies a policy of non-cooperation towards those "Outsider Parties" present in the legislature which are viewed as 'anti-system' or otherwise unacceptable for government. Cordon Sanitaires, however, have been increasingly abandoned over the past two decades in multi-party democracies as the pressure to construct broad coalitions in order to win elections - along with the increased willingness of outsider parties themselves to participate in government - has led to many such parties entering electoral and government coalitions.[1] Voting systems The type of electoral system is a major factor in determining the type of party political system. In countries with first past the post voting systems there is an increased likelihood for the establishment of a two party system. Countries that have a proportional representation voting system, as exists throughout Europe, or to a greater extent preferential voting systems, such as in Australia or Ireland, three or more parties are often elected to public office. Partisan style Partisan style varies from government to government, depending on how many parties there are, and how much influence each individual party has. Nonpartisan In a nonpartisan system, no official political parties exist, sometimes reflecting legal restrictions on political parties. In nonpartisan elections, each candidate is eligible for office on his or her own merits. In nonpartisan legislatures, there are no typically formal party alignments within the legislature. The administration of George Washington and the first few sessions of the United States Congress were nonpartisan. Washington also warned against political parties during his Farewell Address.[2] In the United States, the unicameral legislature of Nebraska is nonpartisan. In Canada, the territorial legislatures of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are nonpartisan. In New Zealand, Tokelau has a nonpartisan parliament. Many city and county governments[vague] are nonpartisan. Nonpartisan elections and modes of governance are common outside of state institutions.[3] Unless there are legal prohibitions against political parties, factions within nonpartisan systems often evolve into political parties. Single dominant party In single-party systems, one political party is legally allowed to hold effective power. Although minor parties may sometimes be allowed, they are legally required to accept the leadership of the dominant party. This party may not always be identical to the government, although sometimes positions within the party may in fact be more important than positions within the government. China is an example; others can be found in Fascist states, such as Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945. The single-party system is thus usually equated with dictatorships and tyranny. In dominant-party systems, opposition parties are allowed, and there may be even a deeply established democratic tradition, but other parties are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. Sometimes, political, social and economic circumstances, and public opinion are the reason for others parties' failure. Sometimes, typically in countries with less of an established democratic tradition, it is possible the dominant party will remain in power by using patronage and sometimes by voting fraud. In the latter case, the definition between Dominant and single-party system becomes rather blurred. Examples of dominant party systems include the People's Action Party in Singapore, the African National Congress in South Africa and the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro in Montenegro. One party dominant systems also existed in Mexico with the Institutional Revolutionary Party until the 1990s, in the southern United States with the Democratic Party from the late 19th century until the 1970s, in Indonesia with the Golongan Karya (Party of the Functional Groups) from the early 1970s until 1998, and in Japan with the Liberal Democratic Party until 2009. Two political parties Two-party systems are states such as Jamaica, and Ghana in which there are two political parties dominant to such an extent that electoral success under the banner of any other party is almost impossible. One right wing coalition party and one left wing coalition party is the most common ideological breakdown in such a system but in two-party states political parties are traditionally catch all parties which are ideologically broad and inclusive. The United States is widely considered a two-party system. Since the birth of the republic a conservative (such as the Republican Party) and liberal (such as the Democratic Party) party have usually been the status quo within American politics, with some exception. Third parties often receive little support and are not often the victors in many races. Despite this, there have been several examples of third parties siphoning votes from major parties that were expected to win (such as Theodore Roosevelt in the election of 1912 and Ross Perot in the election of 1992). The United Kingdom is widely considered a two-party state, as historically power has alternated between two dominant parties (currently the Labour Party and the Conservative Party). However, the 2010 General Election resulted in a coalition government led by the Conservative Party and including the Liberal Democrats. There are also numerous other parties, as well as independent MPs, that hold a substantial number of seats in Parliament. A plurality voting system usually leads to a two-party system, a relationship described by Maurice Duverger and known as Duverger's Law.[4] Multiple political parties A poster for the European Parliament election 2004 in Italy, showing party lists Multi-party systems are systems in which more than two parties are represented and elected to public office. Australia, Canada, Pakistan, India, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and Norway are examples of countries with two strong parties and additional smaller parties that have also obtained representation. The smaller or "third" parties may form a part of a coalition government together with one of the larger parties or act independently from the other dominant parties. More commonly, in cases where there are three or more parties, no one party is likely to gain power alone, and parties work with each other to form coalition governments. This has been an emerging trend in the politics of the Republic of Ireland since the 1980s and is almost always the case in Germany on national and state level, and in most constituencies at the communal level. Furthermore since the forming of the Republic of Iceland there has never been a government not led by a coalition (usually of the Independence Party and one other often the Social Democratic Alliance. Political change is often easier with a coalition government than in one-party or two-party dominant systems.[dubious – discuss] Balanced Voting multiple-party systems Extensive studies including simulations and polls[5] by Donald Arthur Kronos, have shown that an effectively two-party system such as that currently used in the United States could be modified into a balanced plurality voting system through the addition of a negative vote option to better represent the intentions of the voters. This differs from a standard Plurality voting system or an anti-plurality voting system in that rather than either allowing a choice of whom to vote for or allowing a choice of whom to vote against, a balanced system would allow each vote to be either for or against any candidate. In the case of balanced range voting an individual could in fact cast a combination of for and against votes. The problem with the traditional plurality voting system is that any attempt to prevent a candidate from getting elected tends to result in a false positive vote, generally for a candidate thought to have an advantaged position over other candidates, thereby causing or increasing such advantage. A balanced plurality election would allow the voter to represent a true negative vote, thus eliminating or at least reducing the occurrence of false positive votes. A balanced voting multiple-party system significantly reduces the odds of a well known but largely unpopular candidate winning an election, by allowing those who oppose the election of that candidate to cast a more accurate vote than would have been possible in an unbalanced system of only negative votes or only positive votes. Of course the option of a positive vote is also necessary in order to have balance. Simply changing to an all negative vote system would just reverse the polarity of the imbalance rather than remove it. The number of votes per voter is not a factor in the system being balanced. It should be consistent within an election across all voters to be fair. This also has the mathematical effect of eliminating the feedback loop that would otherwise give an unfair advantage over time to exactly two parties. This feedback loop happens in a traditional plurality voting system when a voter attempts to represent a negative vote where only positive votes are available. The voter is forced to evaluate the choices available and determine what is most likely to reduce the odds of a win by the opposed candidate. For example, since the history of a party may give some indication of the electability of a candidate endorsed by the party, the closest thing to a vote against a candidate in a general election would be a vote for the candidate of the party that the voter believes has won the most elections historically. If the opposed candidate is in fact running under that same party, then the obvious choice is the next most historically successful party's candidate. This causes only two parties to have any reasonable viability once a history has been established. A balanced voting system would eliminate this feedback loop for voters who take advantage of it. The addition of a negative vote option to balance a party system can theoretically be applied to a popular vote, an electoral college vote, or both. In cases where an electoral college is expected to in some way represent the popular vote, it would of course make sense to allow balanced voting options for both the electoral college and the populace.[citation needed] The concept of a balanced election system is applicable to many types of voting systems including instant runoff voting and other such multiple vote systems and can be applied equally well to plurality voting or proportional representation systems. Party funding Political parties are funded by contributions from party members, individuals and organizations which share their political ideas or who stand to benefit from their activities or governmental public funding. Political parties and factions, especially those in government, are lobbied vigorously by organizations, businesses and special interest groups such as trades unions. Money and gifts to a party, or its members, may be offered as incentives. In the United Kingdom, it has been alleged that peerages have been awarded to contributors to party funds, the benefactors becoming members of the Upper House of Parliament and thus being in a position to participate in the legislative process. Famously, Lloyd George was found to have been selling peerages and to prevent such corruption in the future, Parliament passed the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 into law. Thus the outright sale of peerages and similar honours became a criminal act, however some benefactors are alleged to have attempted to circumvent this by cloaking their contributions as loans, giving rise to the 'Cash for Peerages' scandal. Such activities have given rise to demands that the scale of donations should be capped. As the costs of electioneering escalate, so the demands made on party funds increases. In the UK some politicians are advocating that parties should be funded by the state; a proposition that promises to give rise to interesting debate. Along with the increased scrutiny of donations there has been a long term contraction in party memberships in a number of western democracies which itself places more strains on funding. For example in the United Kingdom and Australia membership of the two main parties in 2006 is less than an 1/8 of what it was in 1950, despite significant increases in population over that period. In Ireland, elected representatives of the Sinn Féin party take only the average industrial wage from their salary as a representative, while the rest goes into the party budget. Similarly elected representatives of the Socialist Party (Ireland) take only the average industrial wage out of their entire earnings. However, "rent-seeking" continues to be a feature of many political parties around the world.[6] Public financing for parties and candidates during elections has several permutations and is increasingly common. There are two broad categories of funding, direct, which entails a montetary transfer to a party, and indirect, which includes broadcast time on state media, use of the mail service or supplies. According to the Comparative Data from the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, out of a sample of over 180 nations, 25% of nations provide no direct or indirect public funding, 58% provide direct public funding and 60% of nations provide indirect public funding.[7] Some countries provide both direct and indirect public funding to political parties. Funding may be equal for all parties or depend on the results of previous campaigns or the number of candidates participating in an election.[8] Frequently parties rely on a mix of private and public funding and are required to disclose their finances to the Electoral Management Body.[9] Funding can also be provided by foreign aid. International donors provide financing to political parties in developing countries as a means to promote democracy and good governance.[6] Support can be purely financial or otherwise frequently is provided as capacity development activities including the development of party manifestos, party constitutions and campaigning skills.[6] Developing links between ideologically linked parties is another common feature of international support for a party.[6] Sometimes this can be perceived as directly supporting the political aims of political party, such as the support of the US government to the Georgian party behind the Rose Revolution. Other donors work on a more neutral basis, where multiple donors provide grants in countries accessible by all parties for various aims defined by the recipients.[6] There have been calls by leading development think-tanks, such as the Overseas Development Institute, to increase support to political parties as part of developing the capacity to deal with the demands of donors to improve governance.[6] Colors and emblems for parties Main article: see Political colour and List of political party symbols Generally speaking, over the world, political parties associate themselves with colors, primarily for identification, especially for voter recognition during elections. Conservative parties generally use blue or black.[citation needed] Pink sometimes signifies moderate socialist. Yellow is often used for libertarianism or classical liberalism. Red usually signifies leftist, communist or socialist parties[citation needed] except in Uruguay where the "Partido Colorado" (red party) is a (politically) conservative party. In this case, the use of the color red comes from the origins of the party. Similarly the Republican Party in America is generally designated by the colour red. Green is the color for green parties, Islamist parties and Irish republican parties. Orange is sometimes a color of nationalism, such as in the Netherlands, in Israel with the Orange Camp or with Ulster Loyalists in Northern Ireland; it is also a color of reform such as in Ukraine. In the past, Purple was considered the color of royalty (like white), but today it is sometimes used for feminist parties. White also is associated with nationalism. "Purple Party" is also used as an academic hypothetical of an undefined party, as a centralist party in the United States (because purple is created from mixing the main parties' colours of red and blue) and as a highly idealistic "peace and love" party [1]-- in a similar vein to a Green Party, perhaps. Black is generally associated with fascist parties, going back to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts, but also with Anarchism. Similarly, brown is often associated with Nazism, going back to the Nazi Party's brown-uniformed storm troopers. Color associations are useful for mnemonics when voter illiteracy is significant.[citation needed] Another case where they are used is when it is not desirable to make rigorous links to parties, particularly when coalitions and alliances are formed between political parties and other organizations, for example: Red Tory, "Purple" (Red-Blue) alliances, Red-green alliances, Blue-green alliances, Traffic light coalitions, Pan-green coalitions, and Pan-blue coalitions. Political color schemes in the United States diverge from international norms. Since 2000, red has become associated with the right-wing Republican Party and blue with the left-wing Democratic Party. However, unlike political color schemes of other countries, the parties did not choose those colors; they were used in news coverage of 2000 election results and ensuing legal battle and caught on in popular usage. Prior to the 2000 election the media typically alternated which color represented which party each presidential election cycle. The color scheme happened to get inordinate attention that year, so the cycle was stopped lest it cause confusion the following election. The emblem of socialist parties is often a red rose held in a fist. Communist parties often use a hammer to represent the worker, a sickle to represent the farmer, or both a hammer and a sickle to refer to both at the same time. The emblem of Nazism, the swastika or "hakenkreuz", has been adopted as a near-universal symbol for almost any organized hate group, even though it dates from more ancient times. Symbols can be very important when the overall electorate is illiterate. In the Kenyan constitutional referendum, 2005, supporters of the constitution used the banana as their symbol, while the "no" used an orange. International organizations of political parties During the 19th and 20th century, many national political parties organized themselves into international organizations along similar policy lines. Notable examples are the International Workingmen's Association (also called the First International), the Socialist International (also called the Second International), the Communist International (also called the Third International), and the Fourth International, as organizations of working class parties, or the Liberal International (yellow), Hizb ut-Tahrir, Christian Democratic International and the International Democrat Union (blue). Organized in Italy in 1945, the International Communist Party, since 1974 headquartered in Florence and with sections in six countries, is an expanding global party. Worldwide green parties have recently established the Global Greens. The Socialist International, the Liberal International, and the International Democrat Union are all based in London. Some administrations (e.g. Hong Kong) outlaw formal linkages between local and foreign political organizations, effectively outlawing international political parties. Types of political parties The French political scientist Maurice Duverger drew a distinction between cadre parties and mass parties. Cadre parties were political elites that were concerned with contesting elections and restricted the influence of outsiders, who were only required to assist in election campaigns. Mass parties tried to recruit new members who were a source of party income and were often expected to spread party ideology as well as assist in elections. Because cadre parties could not expect great loyalty, many have become hybrids, maintaining elite control while expanding membership. Socialist parties are examples of mass parties, while the British Conservative Party and the German Christian Democratic Union are examples of hybrid parties. In the United States, where both major parties were cadre parties, the introduction of primaries and other reforms has transformed them so that power is held by activists who compete over influence and nomination of candidates.[10] Klaus von Beyme categorized European parties into nine families, which described most parties. He was able to arrange seven of them from left to right: communist, socialist, green, liberal, Christian democratic, conservative and libertarian. The position of two other types, agrarian and regional/ethnic parties varied.[11] Another category he failed to mention are Islamic political parties, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. See also Politics portal Elite party List of political parties List of political parties by country List of political party symbols List of politics-related topics Particracy (a political regime dominated by one or more parties) Political colour Political faction (both pre- and within a modern party) Party class Party line (politics) The Party (politics) References ^ McDonnell and Newell (2011) 'Outsider Parties'. ^ Redding 2004 ^ Abizadeh 2005. ^ Duverger 1954 ^ Donald A. Kronos Simple Electoral Reform for Fair and Balanced Elections blog with links to polls ^ a b c d e f Foresti and Wild 2010. Support to political parties: a missing piece of the governance puzzle. London: Overseas Development Institute ^ ACE Electoral Knowledge Network: Comparitive Data: Political Parties and Candidates ^ ACE Electoral Knowledge Network: Comparitive Data: Political Parties and Candidates ^ ACE Encyclopaedia: Public funding of political parties ^ Ware, Political parties, pp. 65-67 ^ Ware, Political parties, p. 22 Bibliography Abizadeh, Arash, 2005., "Democratic Elections without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Baha'i Elections." World Order Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 7–49. Duverger, Maurice. 1954. Political Parties. London: Methuen. Gunther, Richard and Larry Diamond. 2003. "Species of Political Parties: A New Typology," Party Politics, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 167–199. McDonnell, Duncan and James Newell. 2011. 'Outsider Parties', Special edition of Party Politics, Vol. 17, No. 4. Neumann, Sigmund (ed.). 1956. Modern Political Parties. IL: University of Chicago Press. Redding, Robert. 2004. Hired Hatred. RCI. Smith, Steven S. 2007. Party Influence in Congress. Cambridge University Press. Sutherland, Keith. 2004. The Party's Over. Imprint Academic. ISBN 0-907845-51-7 Ware, Alan. 1987. Citizens, Parties and the State: A Reappraisal. Princeton University Press. Ware, Alan. Political Parties and Party Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-878076-1 External links U.S. Party Platforms from 1840-2004 at The American Presidency Project: UC Santa Barbara Political resources on the net Liberals Vs Conservatives Non partisan community where both sides of the fence may enter into debate. Do political parties do more harm than good? v · d · ePolitical ideologies Anarchism · Christian democracy · Communism · Communitarianism · Conservatism · Fascism · Feminism · Green politics · Islamism · Liberalism · Libertarianism · Nationalism · Progressivism · Social democracy · Socialism · Utilitarianism Politics portal List of political ideologies