Powerful cross-currents of both decline and resurgence have been affecting American political parties over the past several decades. Is the era of decline that began in the late 1960s over and are the parties in a new era of rebuilding? In what direction are the parties headed and what does it mean for a healthy and well-functioning democracy? American Political Parties brings together a distinguished team of contributors to explore these questions. Students are exposed to original, “state-of-the-art” research on the parties that is written to be accessible and engaging.Presenting both historical and contemporary material on the changing U.S. parties, the book offers a balanced portrait and a wide variety of views concerning the continuing weaknesses of the parties and their concurrent signs of revitalization. Essays examine three important elements of parties—the parties in the mass public, the parties as electoral and political organizations, and the parties as governing groups. Two themes recur throughout—the first deals with party change (specifically realignment and dealignment) and the second with party responsibility in a democratic government. The concluding chapter places the contibutors' various findings and viewpoints in perspective. It offers several theories to help explain why the parties seem to be following their dual paths of development and considers the implications of this state of affairs for the future of American democracy.

Parties and Campaign Finance

Parties and campaign finance
Victoria A.Farrar-Myers and DianaDwyre

As campaigns became more candidate-centered than party-centered endeavors, many observers sadly concluded that political parties no longer played a central and vital role in American elections. As early as 1950 the authors of the American Political Science Association report Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System expressed concern that the parties' role in campaigns had diminished (American Political Science Association 1950). Journalist David Broder declared in 1971 that The Party's Over (Broder 1971). Political scientist Nelson Polsby (1983) discussed the mostly negative Consequences of Party Reform, and William Crotty (1984) wrote of American Political Parties in Decline.

As other parts of this book demonstrate, in some ways the parties have declined. With respect to their financial role ...

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