Responsible Partisanship?: The Evolution of American Political Parties since 1950

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More than fifty years have passed since the American Political Science Association published "Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System," a controversial report that addressed the lack of national cohesion within the major parties. Although parties have changed a great deal since then, they remain a critical component of American democracy.

While the possibilities and limits of responsible party government have been central topics in the literature since 1950, this book is the ...

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Overview

More than fifty years have passed since the American Political Science Association published "Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System," a controversial report that addressed the lack of national cohesion within the major parties. Although parties have changed a great deal since then, they remain a critical component of American democracy.

While the possibilities and limits of responsible party government have been central topics in the literature since 1950, this book is the first to reassess all aspects of the APSA report. Here a distinguished group of scholars-among them Charles O. Jones, Barbara Sinclair, Frank J. Sorauf, John Bibby, and Gerald Pomper-examines the effectiveness, accountability, and relevance of parties to the democratic process.

These articles cover all major relevant topics, focusing on recent changes in laws that govern parties, innovations in party organization, party finance, and the relationships among political consultants and parties. They examine the place of the party in government—including chapters on the changing role of parties in Congress and in the presidency—and also consider the roles of parties among the electorate, examining trends in voting behavior, party identification, and ideology. A capstone essay by Leon Epstein, the dean of American party scholars, reviews the ongoing quest for responsible partisanship over the past half century.

These contributors offer a mixed assessment of the two-party system, showing that parties are in many respects stronger at the national level than they were in 1950 but not necessarily more responsible. The most comprehensive description and analysis of American parties now available, Responsible Partisanship? should become required reading for all students and citizens concerned with making parties more accountable instruments of government.

This book is part of the Studies in Government and Public Policy series.

Author Biography: John C. Green is director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and professor of political science at the University of Akron. He is coauthor of The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy and coeditor of The State of the Parties, now in its fourth edition.

Paul S. Herrnson is director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship and professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is the author of Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington and Party Campaigning in the 1980s.

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Editorial Reviews

David R. Mayhew
A must read for anyone interested in American political parties.
Joseph A. Schlesinger
An essential guide to under-standing the current condition of America's parties.
Sidney M. Milkis
A comprehensive and fresh perspective on the indispensable yet fragile place of political parties in American democracy.
William J. Crotty
A thoughtful, tough-minded look at where we are today and how we got there. A most impressive and welcome contribution.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
1 The Search for Responsibility 1
2 In the Spirit of Their Times: "Toward a More Responsibly Two-Party System" and Party Politics 13
3 Party Development in the Twentieth Century: Laying the Foundations for Responsible Party Government? 37
4 Election Laws, Court Rulings, Party Rules and Practices: Steps Toward and Away from a Stronger Party Role 61
5 Power, Money, and Responsibility in the Major American Parties 83
6 Campaign Consultants and Responsible Party Government 101
7 The Dream Fulfilled? Party Development in Congress, 1950-2000 121
8 Presidential Leadership in a Government of Parties: An Unrealized Perspective 141
9 The Party in the Electorate as a Basis for More Responsible Parties 161
10 Toward a More Responsible Two-Party Voter: The Evolving Bases of Partisanship 181
11 A Persistent Quest 201
About the Authors 217
References 221
Index 237
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