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Why Parties

Author: John H. Aldrich
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226012751
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Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system. Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Look offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.

Party Position Change In American Politics

Author: David Karol
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 113948477X
Size: 56.71 MB
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America's two party system is highly stable, but its parties' issue positions are not. Democrats and Republicans have changed sides on many subjects, including trade, civil rights, defense spending, and fiscal policy, and polarized on newer issues like abortion and gun control. Yet party position change remains poorly understood. In this book David Karol views parties as coalitions of groups with intense preferences on particular issues managed by politicians. He explains important variations in party position change: the speed of shifts, the stability of new positions, and the extent to which change occurs via adaptation by incumbents. Karol shows that the key question is whether parties are reacting to changed preferences of coalition components, incorporating new constituencies, or experimenting on 'groupless' issues. He reveals that adaptation by incumbents is a far greater source of change than previously recognized. This study enhances our understanding of parties, interest groups, and representation.

Dynamics Of American Political Parties

Author: Mark D. Brewer
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521882303
Size: 46.77 MB
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In Dynamics of American Political Parties, Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash examine the process of gradual change that inexorably shapes and reshapes American politics. Parties and the politicians that comprise them seek control of government in order to implement their visions of proper public policy. To gain control parties need to win elections, and winning elections requires assembling an electoral coalition that is larger than that crafted by the opposition. Parties are always looking for opportunities to build such winning coalitions, and opportunities are always there, but they are rarely, if ever, without risk. Uncertainty rules and intra-party conflict rages as different factions and groups within the parties debate the proper course(s) of action and battle it out for control of the party. Parties can never be sure how their strategic maneuvers will play out, and, even when it appears that a certain strategy has been successful, party leaders are unclear about how long apparent success will last. Change unfolds slowly, in fits and starts.

Partisan Balance

Author: David R. Mayhew
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838417
Size: 49.68 MB
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With three independent branches, a legislature divided into two houses, and many diverse constituencies, it is remarkable that the federal government does not collapse in permanent deadlock. Yet, this system of government has functioned for well over two centuries, even through such heated partisan conflicts as the national health-care showdown and Supreme Court nominations. In Partisan Balance, noted political scholar David Mayhew examines the unique electoral foundations of the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives in order to provide a fresh understanding for the government's success and longstanding vitality. Focusing on the period after World War II, and the fate of legislative proposals offered by presidents from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, Mayhew reveals that the presidency, Senate, and House rest on surprisingly similar electoral bases, with little difference in their partisan textures as indexed by the presidential popular vote cast in the various constituencies. Both congressional chambers have tilted a bit Republican, and while White House legislative initiatives have fared accordingly, Mayhew shows that presidents have done relatively well in getting their major proposals enacted. Over the long haul, the Senate has not proven much more of a stumbling block than the House. Arguing that the system has developed a self-correcting impulse that leads each branch to pull back when it deviates too much from other branches, Mayhew contends that majoritarianism largely characterizes the American system. The wishes of the majority tend to nudge institutions back toward the median voter, as in the instances of legislative districting, House procedural reforms, and term limits for presidents and legislators.

The Party Decides

Author: Marty Cohen
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226112381
Size: 46.88 MB
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Throughout the contest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, politicians and voters alike worried that the outcome might depend on the preferences of unelected superdelegates. This concern threw into relief the prevailing notion that—such unusually competitive cases notwithstanding—people, rather than parties, should and do control presidential nominations. But for the past several decades, The Party Decides shows, unelected insiders in both major parties have effectively selected candidates long before citizens reached the ballot box. Tracing the evolution of presidential nominations since the 1790s, this volume demonstrates how party insiders have sought since America’s founding to control nominations as a means of getting what they want from government. Contrary to the common view that the party reforms of the 1970s gave voters more power, the authors contend that the most consequential contests remain the candidates’ fights for prominent endorsements and the support of various interest groups and state party leaders. These invisible primaries produce frontrunners long before most voters start paying attention, profoundly influencing final election outcomes and investing parties with far more nominating power than is generally recognized.

Why Washington Won T Work

Author: Marc J. Hetherington
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022629935X
Size: 68.59 MB
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Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity. In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment. Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.

Party Politics In America

Author: Marjorie Randon Hershey
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 113483666X
Size: 56.47 MB
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The seventeenth edition of Party Politics in America continues the comprehensive and authoritative coverage of political parties for which it is known while expanding and updating the treatment of key related topics including interest groups and elections. Marjorie Hershey builds on the book’s three-pronged coverage of party organization, party in the electorate, and party in government and integrates contemporary examples—such as campaign finance reform, party polarization, and social media—to bring to life the fascinating story of how parties shape our political system. New to the 17th Edition Fully updated through the 2016 election, including changes in virtually all of the boxed materials, the chapter openings, and the data presented. Explores increasing partisan hostility, the status of voter ID laws and other efforts to affect voter turnout, young voters' attitudes and participation, and the role of big givers such as the energy billionaire Koch brothers in the 2016 campaigns. Critically examines the idea that Super PACs are replacing, or can replace, the party organizations in running campaigns. New and expanded online Instructor's Resources, including author-written test banks, essay questions, relevant websites with correlated sample assignments, the book’s appendix, and links to a collection of course syllabi.

Pivotal Politics

Author: Keith Krehbiel
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226452739
Size: 79.60 MB
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Politicians and pundits alike have complained that the divided governments of the last decades have led to legislative gridlock. Not so, argues Keith Krehbiel, who advances the provocative theory that divided government actually has little effect on legislative productivity. Gridlock is in fact the order of the day, occurring even when the same party controls the legislative and executive branches. Meticulously researched and anchored to real politics, Krehbiel argues that the pivotal vote on a piece of legislation is not the one that gives a bill a simple majority, but the vote that allows its supporters to override a possible presidential veto or to put a halt to a filibuster. This theory of pivots also explains why, when bills are passed, winning coalitions usually are bipartisan and supermajority sized. Offering an incisive account of when gridlock is overcome and showing that political parties are less important in legislative-executive politics than previously thought, Pivotal Politics remakes our understanding of American lawmaking.

Electoral Realignments

Author: David R. Mayhew
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300130031
Size: 61.39 MB
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The study of electoral realignments is one of the most influential and intellectually stimulating enterprises undertaken by American political scientists. Realignment theory has been seen as a science able to predict changes, and generations of students, journalists, pundits, and political scientists have been trained to be on the lookout for “signs” of new electoral realignments. Now a major political scientist argues that the essential claims of realignment theory are wrong—that American elections, parties, and policymaking are not (and never were) reconfigured according to the realignment calendar. David Mayhew examines fifteen key empirical claims of realignment theory in detail and shows us why each in turn does not hold up under scrutiny. It is time, he insists, to open the field to new ideas. We might, for example, adopt a more nominalistic, skeptical way of thinking about American elections that highlights contingency, short-term election strategies, and valence issues. Or we might examine such broad topics as bellicosity in early American history, or racial questions in much of our electoral history. But we must move on from an old orthodoxy and failed model of illumination.

Party Government

Author: E. Schattschneider
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351500732
Size: 74.97 MB
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What do we need to know about political parties in order to understand them? In his classic study E. E. Schattschneider delineates six crucial points: A political party is an organized attempt to get control of the government. Parties live in a highly competitive world. The major parties manage to maintain their supremacy over the minor parties. The internal processes of the parties have not generally received the attention they deserve in treatises on American politics. The party is a process that has grown up about elections. And perhaps most important of all is the distribution of power within the party organization. But Party Government is not just about political parties. At its heart is the theory and practice of modern democracy, and it is the most cited, controversial, and probably single most influential study of political parties ever written, Schattschneider questions the purpose of government, who rules, and how government should be organized consistent with its fundamental purpose, which are the enduring fault lines of American democracy. He takes the reader through a thorough and penetrating examination of political parties and the American government. Starting with a historical overview and defense of parties, Schattschneider offers a searing analysis of politics itself, with special focus on the number of interest groups both affecting and affected by government. He describes the various types of political organizations--major parties, pressure groups, and minor parties--and offers a study of the two-party character of the American system. Sidney A. Pearson, Jr. offers a strikingly original new introduction about E. E. Schattschneider and his contribution to political science. Gracefully and wittily written, Party Government is mandatory reading for students and scholars of political science, government, and American political theory.