Book

Engines of Change

Daniel DiSalvo

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199891702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949410 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199891702.001.0001

Series: Studies in Postwar American Political Development

Engines of Change

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To properly understand American political parties one must look beneath their labels. Beneath those labels are factions that have goals, incentives, and resources that conflict with the larger party in which they reside. This book provides the first full account of the role of national intra-party “factions” in American politics. A faction, as defined here, is a party sub-unit that has enough ideological consistency, organizational capacity, and temporal durability to sustain intra-party conflict. Factions are loosely organized networks made up of members of Congress, party activists, pressure groups, policy entrepreneurs, and intellectuals. They are engines of political change that develop new ideas, refine them into workable policies, and promote them in government. Because America’s big-tent parties are cumbersome instruments, factions help account for changes in public policy, modes of electoral mobilization, and the parties’ ideological positions. This study explains how factions’ shape the parties’ ideologies, impact presidential nominations, distribute power in Congress, structure patterns of presidential governance, and impact the development of the American state. It shows how factions are often as or more important than the parties in driving political change. Ultimately, by trying to command the party in which they reside, factions seek the authority to put their stamp on the nation.

Keywords: factions; political parties; American Political Development; institutions; Congress; presidency

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: US Politics

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Table of Contents

Selecting a Party Leader in Engines of Change

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Breaking Up the Party in Engines of Change

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Power Distributors in Engines of Change

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Shaping the Situation in Engines of Change

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