Parties try to influence the laws passed by Congress and the president after they are in office.
Their political power is huge.
Americans have long been suspicious of parties in theelectorate that have party rule.
The separation of powers into different branches was meant to blunt any attempts by a "faction" or party to gain control of government.
In some elections, one party wins the presidency but fails to take control of Congress.
In some elections, voters give control of Congress to the party that is against the president in order to rein in the executive.
Our political system makes it difficult for any party to gain complete control of American government, and when one does, unified government is often short lived.
The separation of powers and government has not put the parties out of business.
The operations of the legislature and the conduct of elections are carried out by the Democratic and Republican parties.
It is difficult to imagine how the electoral system would work without political parties.
There was a campaign to get the United States to approve the Constitution.
In a democracy, parties form to solve problems of rationality and collective action.
They offer clear choices to voters, lowering the costs of collecting information about the candidates, and making it easier for voters to hold government accountable.
The transition from elections to government is made easier by the parties.
They pay the costs of bringing together representatives of different groups into a coalition that can act together in government.
Parties link elections to governing.
In this chapter we highlight some of the general functions of parties in a democracy, but we are especially attentive to party politics in the United States.
The United States has just two major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.
The American two-party system is durable and flexible.
Since the 1850s, third parties have not been able to compete with the Democrats and Republicans.
The teams of politicians, activists, and interest groups are called political parties.
Democrats and Republicans compete for most offices in the United States, which has a two-party system.
The two-party system is a result of the form of government and the use of single-member legislative districts.
Parties have different views on how government should operate and what laws should be enacted.
They serve different interests and communities.
The parties simplify the choices that voters must make and reduce the costs of gathering information about how to vote by offering distinctive "brands."
The legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government are organized by the parties, with the party that won a majority of seats controlling most of the key positions and levers of power.
Occasionally, a governor or legislator runs as a third-party candidate, but those independent candidacies usually fail unless the person eventually ties himself or herself to one of the parties.
Donald Trump, a reality-TV star and businessman, and self-proclaimed socialist and candidate for the presidency of the United States, gained widespread support in the 2016 election by attaching themselves to the Republican Party and Democratic Party.
Hillary Clinton faced a serious challenge from the left-winger in the Democratic primaries.
Trump defeated a field of Republican politicians.
Donald Trump was not a traditional Republican.
During the 2016 presidential election, many Republican leaders and politicians, including the party's 2012 nominee, refused to endorse Trump as the GOP's nominee; some even crossed party lines to endorse Clinton.
Many Americans have a lack of trust in the establishment.
Without affiliating with one of the two major parties, neither candidate would have been as successful.
When a group breaks away from one of the parties, it usually rejoins the fold or moves into another party.
The parties are not static.
The Democrats have moved from a southern base to a northern one, while the Republicans have moved from the Northeast and Midwest to the South.
The two parties have adapted to the changes in American society.
The institutions of a two-party system mean that the choice between the parties translate into the government.
The majority of seats in the House and Senate are up for election.
The presidency is decided by the majority of electoral votes.
We choose between those who are in power and those who want to be.
Voting against the party that holds the presidency and Congress means changing the government.
Most parliamentary systems that allocate seats to parties based on the number of votes won nationwide have more than one party.
Governments are usually made up of coalitions of several parties in such systems.
It is hard to assign blame to any one party in a coalition government because it is difficult to anticipate which coalitions might form.
A two-party system has great simplicity.
The Democratic and Republican parties have presented distinct visions for governing.
They keep successful third parties at bay by capturing a range of ideological views.
There is very little chance for a third party to enter races and win seats in congress.
The rationality principle was used by Duverger.
Any third-party movement that attempts to enter the American party system would likely fail to win, or worse, would improve the electoral fortunes of the party it most dislikes.
Voters don't want to waste a vote on a losing cause.
There are two successful parties.
U.S. government institutions and electoral rules create strong pressures to maintain just two parties, distinctive in their plans for governing but expansive in the interests that they encompass.
The presidency or one or both chambers of Congress will be controlled by one party, which simplifies politics inside governing institutions.
Voters can identify with one of the two major parties or use the party labels to figure out the most effective way to vote.
Parties are not good.
The rationality and collective action problems are not solved by simply making democracy work.
These problems are opportunities for party members to get elected, influence public policy, and make a profit.
The nominating system and the party organization give politicians a clear path to power.
The party could be used to pull government policies in a more favorable direction to the party's views.
The parties offer the potential benefits of being closer to power for interest groups.
The influence of activists, party leaders, organized interests, and local bosses becomes too great at times.
Efforts to prevent party bosses and interest groups from taking advantage of their power have resulted in regulations on campaign contributions and government contracting.
The reforms have weakened the party organizations, but they have always found new resources.
American history has seen eras of strong party organization and periods of relative party weakness as a result of these actions and reactions.
American politics is characterized by strong party orga nizations and disciplined legislative parties.
They offer a simple strategy for changing the direction of government to the American voter.
They can be distinguished from interest groups on the government by their orientation.
A party wants to control the entire government.
Interest groups are concerned with electing politicians who are inclined in their policy direction.
Interest groups don't sponsor candidates directly, and between elections they usually accept government personnel and try to influence government policies through them.
Three problems are solved by political parties.
The first problem of collective action is that a candidate for office must attract campaign funds, assemble a group of activists and workers, mobilize prospective voters, and persuade them to vote for her.
The give-and-take between the legislature and the executive can make or break policy success.
Competition among politicians is the third problem.
Politician seek success for themselves and the organization at the same time.
In furthering their own ambitions, politicians can act in ways that serve their own interests but that can undermine the collective ambitions of fellow partisans.
In the following sections, we look at each of the problems.
Each is a problem faced by politicians.
Parties form to serve politicians' interests.
The political parties in the United States were formed by politicians.
Running for office, organizing one's supporters, and forming a government are some of the basic tasks of political life.
Political parties can only be understood in the context of elections.
American parties take their structure from the electoral process.
For every district where an election is held, there should be a party unit.
The brand name, resources, buzz, and link to the larger national organization help arouse interest in the party's candidates and stimulates commitment by voters.
These activities allow voters to understand the choice of candidates and overcome the free riding that reduces turnout in general elections.
They suggest that parties in the legislature are electoral machines that serve to preserve and enhance party reputation, thereby giving meaning to the party labels when elections arecontested.
Parties keep order in their ranks so that individual actions by members don't undermine the party label.
This is an especially challenging task for party leaders when there is diversity within each party, as has been the case in American political history.
The electoral competition by groups is enabled by the party organization.
The Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are two organizations that have long been members of the Republican Party.
Labor unions and reformers have been aligned with the Democratic Party since the 1930s.
Large groups that don't have a lot of money find their voice in the party system.
Women's organizations worked closely with the Progressives inside the Republican Party in order to gain the right to vote.
Changing social issues and party strategies led many newer women's groups, such as the National Organization for Women, to align with the Democratic Party.
Immigrant groups have aligned with the parties in the past.
Irish immigrants attached themselves to the Democrats, whose urban political organizations helped them find jobs and negotiate the immigration system, Italian immigrants tended toward Republicans, and Cubans have historically aligned with the Republicans because of the party's immigration policies.
Disaffection with liberal policies concerning school prayer, funding of religious schools, abortion, and other social issues led fundamentalist Christians to align with the Republican Party.
Collective action by groups and party electoral strategy are two different things.
Electoral resources, including a reliable voting bloc, money, personnel, and even candidates, are provided by groups that align with a party.
The interests gain influence over public policy when their party wins.
An organized interest may suffer if the party it supports loses the election.
The process of making policy involves political parties.
Parties are coalitions of people with similar interests who support one another's programs and initiatives.
A common party label gives members a reason to work together.
Parties facilitate the policy-making process because they are permanent coalitions.
The business of government would slow to a crawl if alliances had to be formed from scratch for each proposal.
The time and effort needed to advance a legislative proposal is greatly reduced by parties creating a basis for coalition.
Even if the party is in the minority, every president works with his party's leadership in the House and Senate to ensure that the executive's agenda is supported.
Without party support, the president would have to form a completely new coalition for every policy proposal.
There is a need for action on a crucial issue.
In 2008, when the financial industry was collapsing, President George W. Bush proposed a $700 billion intervention.
The majority of Democratic votes in the House were in favor of the Republican president's plan, but Republican leadership in the House did not have enough votes to pass it.
The failure of the Republicans to come to agreement on this plan in advance doomed the president's proposal.
Republican efforts to repeal theAffordable Care Act were defeated in the Senate by a few "no" votes.
The road to policy can be difficult even when party coalitions agree on an issue.
Individual politicians are helped by parties.
The brand names that parties give are important electoral assets.
Once their candidates are elected, parties give these politicians a basis for coordination, common cause, cooperation, and joint enterprise.
Individual ambition can undermine any base for cooperation.
Political parties regulate career advancement, provide for orderly resolution of ambitious competition, and attend to the post-career care of party officials in order to rescue coordination and cooperation.
Simple devices such as primaries give a context in which to resolve clashing electoral ambitions.
The Democratic Committee on Committees in the House and similar bodies for the Republicans and the Senate resolve competing claims for power positions.
Incentives for politicians to conduct their campaigns and vote in line with their party are provided by centralized fund-raising by organizations.
Politics is not about foot soldiers walking in lockstep but about ambitious and self-sufficient individuals seeking power.
The burnishing of individual careers is a formula for destructive competition in which the dividends of cooperation are rarely reaped.
Political parties try to capture some of those dividends by providing a structure in which ambition is not suppressed altogether but is not so destructive.
Political action involves merging people's individual preferences.
Collective action is easy for interest groups, people who share a common policy goal work together to achieve it.
Collective action is more complicated for political parties.
Parties want to achieve policy goals and capture public offices.
Party leaders sometimes have to compromise on policy goals in order to improve their electoral chances.
In 2016 there were two major anti-abortion protests in the US.
On the other hand, the Republican Party's opposition to abortion is reflected in the party's platform every four years.
Despite electing three presidents since 1980 and abortion, policy action can be complex.
The first presidential between principles and practices was in 1976 after the Court's decision on the American party system.
Republicans rhetoric is anti against abortion but it's a moral and personal action that runs counter to the views of many people.
The 2012 and 2016 Republican Party platforms are called more difficult because of the ate.
Parties are involved in nominations and elections to make it easier for citizens to choose their leaders.
They help solve the problems of collective action and ambition.
They influence the institutions of government, providing leadership as well as organization of the various congressional committees and activities on the floor in each chamber.
Problems of collective choice are solved by them.
The recruitment of candidates for office is one of the most important party activities.
Thousands of state and local offices as well as for congressional seats must be found for candidates each election year.
When an incumbent is not seeking reelection or when an incumbent in the opposing party is vulnerable, party leaders look for strong candidates and interest them in entering the campaign.
In some states, the dates for candidates to file for office for the November election come as early as January.
The parties' message and fortunes in the general election are shaped by candidate recruitment in the spring.
The Republicans have done a better job of electing candidates to state legislative seats over the past decade.
Republicans held more than 4,100 state legislative seats after the 2016 election.
The parties use their recruitment efforts to target segments of the electorate where they want to strengthen their appeal.
An ideal candidate will be charismatic, organized, knowledgeable, and an excellent debater, as well as have the ability to raise enough money to mount a serious campaign.
Party leaders don't give financial backing to candidates who can't raise enough money on their own.
Senate seat, several million dollars; and upward of $1 billion for the presidency.
In recent years, many potential congressional candidates declined to run, saying they were reluctant to leave their homes and families for the busy life of a member of Congress.
There are only a few provisions for elections in the Constitution.
The power to set the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections" is given to the states.
Congress has the power to make such laws if it chooses to do so.
Congress has occasionally passed laws regulating elections, congressional districting, and campaign practices, as well as amending the Constitution to expand the right to participate in elections.
The Constitution and the laws only set citizenship and age requirements for candidates.
The president must be at least 35 years of age, a natural born citizen, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
A senator needs to be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years, and a resident of the state he or she represents.
A member of the House must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for 7 years, and a resident of the state he or she represents.
The most difficult business of the parties is nomination.
The process by which a political party selects their candidate for a public office is the same as it is when a presidential candidate is eliminated.
A nominating convention is a formal meeting of members of a political party that is bound by rules.
Conventions are meetings of delegates elected by party members from the relevant county.
Each party's national convention delegates are chosen by party members on a state- by-state basis, and there is no single national delegate selection process.
The nominees are selected in a primary election.
It is possible to participate in an election.
They just go to the polling place and ask for the ballot of a particular party.
The open primary allows voters to consider candidates and issues before making a decision on which party to vote for.
It's open on the day of the primary.
Only a small number of states, including Connecticut, Delaware, and Utah, provide for state conventions to nominate candidates for statewide offices, and even those states also use primaries whenever a substantial minority of delegates has voted for one of the defeated candidates.
In either case, primaries are more open than convention or caucuses to new issues.
In several states, the presidential nominating process begins with caucuses.
The caucuses are open to registered voters, but the nomination process consists of lengthy discussions among those present, and the meetings can last several hours.
The county convention selects delegates to go to the state party convention at the local caucuses.
The state party convention is where delegates are elected to the national convention.
Candidates must win both the primary and the general election in order to hold office because of the shift from party conventions to primary elections and caucuses.
The introduction of primary elections may have contributed to the rise of candidate-centered politics by creating advantages for politicians who are particularly strong campaigners but who may be less effective at governing.
The institution principle suggests that institutions matter because they encourage or discourage particular types of candidates.
Immediately after the nominations, the election period begins.
This has been a time of glory for the political parties, with their popular base of support fully displayed.
The local party workforces are activated in the form of all the paraphernalia of the party committees.
The first step in the electoral process is voter registration.
At one time party workers were responsible for this activity, but they have been replaced by civic groups such as the League of Women Voters, unions, and chambers of commerce.
On Election Day, those who have registered must decide if they want to go to the polling place, stand in line, or vote.
It is possible for political parties, candidates, and campaigning to make a difference in persuading eligible voters to vote.
Parties help overcome the free-rider problem by getting the voters to support the candidates.
In recent years, the parties and not-for-profit groups have raised millions of dollars for election organizing and advertising.
Legions of workers have used new technologies to build and communicate with their supporters.
The "netroots" organizations of politics are what they are.
To comply with federal election and tax law, groups must maintain independence from the political parties, even though they have the same objectives as the parties.
The shadow appendages of the two parties mobilize supporters for one or the other.
The netroots have become an important part of campaign organizations, and these new forms of direct campaigning have increased voter turnout.
It is easier for voters to choose a party.
It's argued that we should vote for the best person regardless of party affiliation.
Only a few candidates for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and governor are well known to voters.
Voters' familiarity with the candidates decreases as one moves down the ballot.
Voters might have difficulty making informed decisions without party labels.
Voters benefit from candidates' party affiliations.
Voters can infer from party labels how the candidate will behave once elected, without knowing much about the candidate.
The Republican Party favors a limited government role in the economy and reduced government spending, while the Democratic Party favors more government regulation of the economy and a larger public sector.
Civil rights for women, sexual and racial minorities, and a secular approach to religion are all favored by the Democrats.
Government participation in expanding the role of religious organizations in civil society is supported by the Republicans.
In the 1930s, the parties' positions on the economy were solidified, while their division on social issues emerged in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Democrats and Republicans are both liberal and conservative.
Most Americans identify with one of the two parties and are likely to vote with that party, but even those who do not can derive value from the party labels.
If a group coordinates its activities with a political party, it is subject to additional reporting requirements and contribution limits, and political action can violate the conditions for tax-exempt status of nonprofits.
The voter's choice to evaluate two competing policy positions or the performance of those in office can be simplified by party labels.
She will vote against the president's party on the ballot.
She will vote to keep the president and his party in power.
The independent voter needs parties to simplify their choice.
The parties make it easier to hold government accountable.
In good times and bad times, people can vote against the party in power.
If unpopular legislation is enacted, they can vote against the party in power.
The problem of collective responsibility is one of the most important collective action problems facing American democracy.
Each race for legislator or executive would become an isolated event if every politician ran on her own.
It would be hard for voters to send a message to government that they want it to go in a different direction.
Politicians benefit from party labels because they lend meaning to elections.
Most districts and states don't have to educate voters about what they stand for if they have recognizable labels.
Democrats and Republicans are usually enough.
Like minded people identify with the organizations on the labels.
People who broadly share the principles of a party and who wish to participate on a high level will attend party meetings, run for leadership positions in local and state party organizations, attend state and national conventions, and even run for elected office.
The division between the parties is reinforced by successive elections.
The two major parties attract a lot of groups and ideas.
They are positioning themselves as broad coalitions so that the Democrats and Republicans can win control of Congress.
The studies of delegates were done by Walter J.
Similar sorting is found in surveys of candidates.
The platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties are shaped by the coalitions that come together.
What interests and social groups align with the parties are determined by the political coalitions that party leaders assemble.
The Democratic Party believes that regulation is necessary to ensure orderly economic growth, to prevent the emergence of monopolies, and to address certain costs of economic activity, such as pollution, poverty, and unemployment.
The Democratic Party wants to protect civil rights for women and minorities.
The Republican Party believes in laissez-faire economics and a minimal government role in the economy.
Ronald Reagan's vision of limited intervention in the economy with an expanded role for religion in society and opposition to immigration, affirmative action, and abortion, views that continue to represent the party today, were part of the coalition that Ronald Reagan built in the late 1970s.
The American parties are thought to be odd amalgams of conflicting ideas.
Liberalism is a political philosophy that pairs laissez-faire economics with liberal views on civil rights.
Conservatism, which maintains a respect for social and political order, prefers a stronger role for religions, a greater respect for social hierarchies, and government power in the economy.
These traditional views have been scrambled by the American parties.
Conservative views on civil rights and religion are part of the Republican Party's laissez-faire economics.
Liberal views on civil rights are tied to an expansive view of government in the economy.
The American parties have different ideas in response to evolving issues.
The coalition that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed in the 1930s consisted of Progressives Republicans, old-line Democrats, and urban political machines in northern and midwestern cities.
The political philosophy and public policies pursued under the New Deal were influenced by this peculiar coalition.
Roosevelt could not do things on some issues.
He couldn't push for civil rights for blacks without losing the support of southerners.
The history of the parties in the United States made a big difference in the meaning of Democratic liberalism.