The Road Less Taken

Daniel M. Shea

in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542628
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 The Road Less Taken

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This article summarizes the seemingly paradoxical positions that party organizations have been revitalized while citizen attraction to party has declined. It also argues that recent elections have triggered a dramatic change in the electoral system, affording party organizations a unique opportunity to draw citizens into the party rubric in meaningful ways for decades to come. Party organizational resurgence can be aptly dubbed one of the great comeback stories of American politics. It is stated that service-oriented organizations grew precisely because voters abandoned partisanship. While the ‘revived’ parties of the last few decades before the 2008 election afforded candidates cutting-edge services, little of what they did fostered a sense of citizenship. The revival of party organizations over the past few decades has been impressive. The electorate stands ready to embrace a more participatory, more ideological role.

Keywords: American party politics; party organizations; citizen; voters; partisanship; electorate

Article.  6794 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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