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In Defense of the American Party System

  • Edward C. Banfield

Abstract

The American party system has been criticized on four main grounds: (1) the parties do not offer the electorate a choice in terms of fundamental principles; their platforms are very similar and mean next to nothing; (2)they cannot discipline those whom they elect, and therefore they cannot carry their platforms into effect; (3) they are held together and motivated less by political principle than by desire for personal, often material, gain, and by sectional and ethnic loyalties; consequently party politics is personal and parochial; and (4) their structure is such that they cannot correctly represent the opinion of the electorate; in much of the country there is in effect only one party, and everywhere large contrib-utors and special interests exercise undue influence within the party.1

Keywords

Political Party Common Good Party System Party Leader Party Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Political Parties, U.S.A., ed. Robert A. Goldwin (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1961), 21–39.Google Scholar
  2. E. E. Schattschneider, Party Government (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942).Google Scholar
  3. Defenses of the American party system include A. Lawrence Lowell, Essays on Government (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1889)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward C. Banfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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