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There is a clear discrepancy between the ideal role of political parties expressed in many textbooks and the reality that we see playing out in politics. This book fills that void by explaining the difficulties that parties run into in seeking to play out these ideals. Parties have long-term commitments and principles, but must adjust in the short-run based on the size and composition of their existing electoral base, current social and economic conditions, the composition of their congressional party, and interpretations of the meaning of recent elections. The process may at times seem erratic and as if parties lack principles, but the parties are seeking to represent the differing perspectives on policy that dominate our society.
Jeffrey M. Stonecash is Maxwell Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University. His research focuses on political parties, realignment of their electoral bases, and the impact of changing alignments on the nature of policy debates.
Table of Contents
|American Political Parties: Democratic Ideals and Doubts||p. 1|
|Democracy and the Ideal Role of Political Parties||p. 3|
|Enduring Doubts about Political Parties||p. 12|
|Parties and Political Conditions||p. 25|
|Notions of Party and Conflict||p. 27|
|Shifting Electoral Bases||p. 36|
|Conflicting Interpretations of Change||p. 41|
|The Lack of a Majority||p. 49|
|Continuing Social Change and Events||p. 57|
|Voters, Partisanship and the Media||p. 68|
|Enduring Uncertainty and Troubling Behaviors||p. 79|
|Pursuing Party Goals||p. 81|
|Pursuing Coalitions and an Identity: Long-Term Strategies||p. 83|
|Disparaging the Other Party: Short-Term Strategies||p. 97|
|Democracy and the Continuous Campaign||p. 102|
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