Party Politics in America (Longman Classics in Political Science)

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  • Edition: 14th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-02-05
  • Publisher: Pearson (Manual)
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Updated in a new 14th edition, this book has been long considered the gold standard of political parties texts . It covers the historic 2008 Presidential campaign and election while looking ahead to assess what the shifting political winds have in store for the future of the major political parties and Americansrs" political views.

Table of Contents

Foreword by John H. Aldrich


Part 1: Parties and Party Systems

Chapter 1: What Are Political Parties?

The Three Parts of Parties

The Party Organization

The Party in Government 

The Party in the Electorate  

What Parties Do  

Electing Candidates  

Educating (or Propagandizing) Citizens  


The Effects of Party Activity  

How Do Parties Differ from Other Political Groups?  

Parties Are Paramount in Elections  

They Have a Full-time Commitment to Political Activity  

They Mobilize Large Numbers  

They Endure  

They Serve as Political Symbols  

How the American Parties Developed  

The Founding of American Parties  

A National Two-Party System Emerges  

The Golden Age of the Parties  

The Progressive Reforms and Beyond 

What Do the Parties Stand For?  

Parties Are Shaped by Their Environment  

Voters and Elections  

Political Institutions  

Laws Governing Parties  

Political Culture

The Broader Environment

Chapter 2: The American Two-Party System

The National Party System  

The 50 State Party Systems  

Measuring State Party Competition  

Limits on Competitiveness: Incumbency 

…And Other Reasons for Declining Competitiveness

What Causes a Two-Party System?  

Institutional Forces 

"Dualist” Theories  

Social Consensus Theories  

Party Self-Protection (The Best Defense Is a Good Offense) 

Exceptions to the Two-Party Pattern 

Nonpartisan Elections 

Areas of One-Party Monopoly 

Third Parties  

Differences in Ideology

Difference of Origins

Differing Purposes

What Difference Do They Make?

The Rise of Independent Candidates

Will the Two-Party System Continue? 


Part 2: The Political Party as an Organization  

Chapter 3: The State and Local Party Organizations  

What Is a “Strong” Party?  

State Regulation of the Parties  

Levels of Party Organization  

Local Party Committees  

State Central Committees

The Legendary Party Machines 

How the Party Machines Developed 

How Machines Held on to Power

Local Party Organizations Declined and Then Rebuilt  

Local Parties in the 1970s

Local Parties Today: Richer and More Active

The State Parties: Gaining Money and Services

Traditional Weakness

Increasing Strength in Recent Years


Campaign Services

Republican Advantage

Allied Groups

The Special Case of the South

National Party Money

Summing Up: How the State and Local Party Organizations Have Transformed

Chapter 4: The Parties’ National Organizations  

The National Parties  

The National Committees  

National Party Chairs  

Presidents and Their National Parties

Other National Party Groups 

Congressional Campaign (“Hill”) Committees 

Women’s and Youth Groups

Democratic and Republican Governors’ Associations

Two Paths to Power

The Service Party Path

The Democrats’ Procedural-Reform Path  

Both Parties Take the Service Path 

Rising to the Challenge of New Campaign Finance Rules   

Party Money and Activism in the 2008 Elections

What Is the Impact of These Stronger National Parties?  

Effects on Candidates’ Campaigns  

Effects on State and Local Parties  

The Dean 50-State Strategy

Effects on the Presidency  

Effects on Congress  

Relationships within the National Party  

The Limits of Party Organization

Chapter 5: Party Activists 

What Draws People into Party Activity?  

Material Incentives


Elected Office


Solidary (Social) Incentives

Purposive (Issue-Based) Incentives

Mixed Incentives

Professional and Amateurs 

How Do Parties Recruit Activists?  

Finding Volunteers: Is Anybody Home?  

Means, Motive, and Opportunity  

What Kinds of People Become Party Activists  

People from “Political Families”  

Better Educated and Wealthier Than Average  

Different Agendas  

More Extreme Views  

Party Activists and Democracy  

The Problem of Representation  

Amateurs and Pressure for Internal Party Democracy  

Activists, Party Strength, and Democracy  


Part 3: The Political Party in the Electorate  

Chapter 6: Party Identification  

How People Develop Party Identifications  

Childhood Influences  

Influences in Adulthood 

Patterns of Partisanship over Time  

Has There Been a Decline in Partisanship?  

The Recent Rise in Democratic Party ID

Party Identification and Political Views  

Party Identification and Voting  

Party Voting  

Party Versus Candidates and Issues  

Partisanship as a Two-Way Street  

Party Identification and Political Activity  

Party Identification and Attitudes toward the Parties  

The Myth of the Independent  

Attitudinal Independents  

Behavioral Independents  

Are Independents a Likely Source of Support for Third-Party Candidates? 

Change in the Impact of Party ID

A More Candidate-Centered Politics 

The Continuing Significance of Party

Chapter 7: Party Coalitions and Party Change 

The American Party Systems  

The First Party System

The Second Party System  

The Third Party System 

The Fourth Party System 

The Fifth Party System  

The Social Bases of Party Coalitions  

Socioeconomic Status Divisions  

Sectional (Regional) Divisions


Religion and Religiosity 




The Central Role of Issues in the Group-Party Linkage

Polarization of the Polarization of the Two Parties’ Coalitions on Issues

The Development of the Sixth Party System 

Major Changes in the Parties’ Supporting Coalitions 

From Democratic Majority to Close Competition

How Can We Characterize These Changes: Realignment, Dealignment, or What?

Problems with the Idea of Realignment 

Chapter 8: Parties and Voter Turnout  

Elections: The Rules Affect the Results  

Expansion of the Right to Vote

Rules Affecting Access to Voting Rights

The Secret Ballot 



Residence Registration 

The Special Case of Voting Rights for Black Americans  

The Long Struggle for Voting Rights  

From Voting Rights to Representation  

Getting Blacks’ Votes Counted  

Efforts to Liberalize Voting Rules

Election Day Registration

"Motor Voter” Laws  

Early and No-Excuse Absentee Voting  

The Voter ID Controversy

Voter ID Laws

Proof of Citizenship

Voting Systems: Are Votes Counted Fairly? 

The Low Turnout in American Elections

Why Don’t More Americans Vote?

Individual Differences in Turnout 



Gender and Race  

Social Connectedness  

Political Attitudes  

The Impact of the Current Campaign

The Excitement of the Election  

Close Competition  

Party Efforts to Mobilize Voters

Do Party Efforts Diversify the Electorate? 

The Challenge to the Parties 


Part 4: Parties, Nominations, and Elections 

Chapter 9: How Parties Choose Candidates  

How the Nomination Process Evolved  

Nominations by Caucus  

Nominations by Convention  

Nominations by Direct Primaries  

The Current Mix of Primaries and Conventions  

Types of Primaries  

Closed Primaries 

Open Primaries  

Blanket Primaries  

Why Does the Type of Primary Matter?  

How Candidates Qualify  

How Do Candidates Get on the Ballot?  

Runoffs: When Too Many Candidates Get on the Ballot  

What Parties Don’t Like About Primaries  

Difficulties in Recruiting Candidates  

The Risk of Unattractive Nominees  

Divisive Primaries 

Problems in Holding Candidates Accountable  

The Party Organization Fights Back  

Persuading Candidates to Run (or Not to Run) 

Endorsing Candidates  

Providing Tangible Support  

Candidates and Voters in the Primaries  

Many Candidates Run Without Competition  

...And Voters Are in Short Supply  

The Impact of the Direct Primary  

Has It Made Elections More Democratic? 

How Badly Has It Harmed the Parties?  

Is the Primary Worth the Cost?  

Chapter 10: Choosing the Presidential Nominees 

The Move to Presidential Primaries 

Turbulence in the Democratic Party  

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses Today  

The Race to Win Delegate Votes  

The “Invisible Primary”  

Candidates’ Strategic Choices  

Win Early or Die  

Comparing the Clinton and Obama Strategies

What Is the Party’s Role?  

Voters’ Choices in Presidential Nominations  

Who Votes?  

Are Primary Voters Typical?  

Do Voters Make Informed Choices?  

Do Primaries Produce Good Candidates?  

On to the National Conventions  

Roots of the Conventions  

What Conventions Do  

Approving the Platform

Formalizing the Presidential Nomination

Approving the Vice-Presidential Nominee

Launching the Presidential Campaign

Who Are the Delegates?  

Apportioning Delegates among the States  

How Representative Are the Delegates?  


Political Experience


Amateurs or Professionals?

Who Controls the Delegates?

How Media Cover Conventions

Do Conventions Still Have a Purpose?  

Should We Reform the Reforms?

What Could Be Done?  

Chapter 11: The General Election 

Campaign Strategy  

How Campaigning Has Changed 

Professional Consultants  

Sources of Information  



Methods of Persuasion: the Air War  


The Internet  

Social Networking Sites


The Ground War: “Under the Radar”  

Direct Contact by Mail, Text, and Twitter

Direct Mail

Text Messaging


Canvassing and Phone Banks


Negative Campaigning

The 2004 Campaign

Democrats Regain the Advantage in 2006

The Old and the New in 2008

Do Campaigns Make a Difference?  

The Argument That Campaigns Matter

The Argument That They Don’t

Some Tentative Answers

Candidate-Centered or Party-Centered Campaigns?

Party Influence in Competitive Campaigns  

The Continuing Struggle between Candidates and Party Organizations

Chapter 12: Financing the Campaigns

How Much Money Is Spent on Campaigns?

Presidential Campaigns

Congressional Campaigns  

State and Local Campaigns

What Is the Impact of Campaign Spending?

Where Does the Money Come From? 

Individual Contributors

Political Action Committees


The Candidates Themselves

Public Funding

Money in State and Local Campaigns

Reform of the Campaign Finance Rules

Contribution Limits

Public Disclosure

Public Funding of Presidential Campaigns

Spending Limits

The Loopholes That Ate the Reforms

Independent Spending

Soft Money

Issue Advocacy Ads

527 and 501(c) Advocacy Groups

What Did the 1970s Reforms Accomplish?

Intended and Unintended Effects

Effects on the Parties  

Another Try: The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) 

Big and Small Contributions in 2004 and 2008

The Parties Survived BCRA

State Regulation and Financing 

Money in American Politics


Part 5: The Party in Government

Chapter 13: Parties in Congress and State Legislatures

How the Parties Are Organized in Congress

Changes in the Power of House Party Leaders

The Revolt Against “Czar” Cannon

Growing Party Coordination

The Gingrich Revolution

… And the Change to Democratic Control

What Caused This Stronger Party Leadership?

Parties in the “Individualist Senate”  

Parties in the State Legislatures  

Methods of Party Influence  

Carrots and Sticks  

Agenda Control

Party Influence on Legislative Voting

How Unified Is Each Legislative Party?

Party Votes

Party Support

Greater Polarization of the Congressional Parties 

When Are the Parties Most Unified?

Issues That Touch the Interests of the Legislative Parties

The Executive’s Proposals

Policies Central to the Party System

Comparing Party Power in Congress and State Legislatures

Party Polarization and Cohesion

Greater Interparty Competition

No Competing Centers of Power 

Other Needed Resources 

Lesser Legislative Professionalism

Styles of Individual Leaders 

The Power of Legislative Parties 

Chapter 14: The Party in the Executive and the Courts

Presidents and Governors as Party Leaders  

The President as Campaigner-in-Chief  

The President as the “Top of the Ticket”  

Coattail Effects 

Coattails Even without the Coat

Party Leadership and Legislative Relations 

Legislative Support for Executives  

Divided Control of Government

Party Influence in Executive Agencies

Limits on Presidential Influence: Bureaucrats Have Constituents Too  

Party Experience Among Bureaucrats

Changing Political Outlooks in the Federal Bureaucracy  

Traces of Party in the Courts  

Judicial Voting Along Party Lines  

What Causes Partisan Behavior on the Courts?

Party and Judicial Appointments

Federal Judges

State Court Judges

The Party within the Executive and the Judge

Chapter 15: The Semi-Responsible Parties 

The Case for Responsible Party Government  

How Would Party Government (Responsible Parties) Work?  

The Case Against Party Government 

It Would Increase Conflict  

It Wouldn’t Work in American Politics  

The Gingrich Experiment: A Temporarily Responsible Party  

Party Cohesion and Ideology  

Are the American Parties Ideological?  

Do They at Least Offer Clear Choices?  

But Internal Divisions Remain  

Ideology and the American Voter  

How Ideological Is the American Public?  

Differences among Voters, Activists, and Candidates  

When Is Party Government Most Likely?

When There Is Strong Presidential Leadership

In Times of Crisis

When the Parties’ Supporting Coalitions Realign

Party Government and Popular Control 

Chapter 16: The Place of Parties in American Politics

Parties and Their Environment

The Nature of the Electorate  

Political Institutions and Rules 

Societal Forces 

Party Decline in the 1960s and 1970s  

The Parties in the Electorate  

Party Organizations 

The Party in Government  

Shifting Power Centers within the Parties  

Party Renewal  

Change in the Parties’ Electoral Coalitions  

A Return to Democratic Party Dominance?

The Rise of More Cohesive Parties in Government  

The New “Service” Parties  

The Future of Party Politics in America  

A Changing Intermediary Role

The Need for Strong Parties  

How to Make the Parties Stronger  

Conclusion: The Parties’ Prospects

Party Politics on the Internet




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