New version page

Party Organizations, Party-Connected Committees, Party Allies,

This preview shows page 1-2-3-18-19-37-38-39 out of 39 pages.

View Full Document
View Full Document

End of preview. Want to read all 39 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a GradeBuddy member to access this document.

View Full Document
Unformatted text preview:

Barker, David C. 1999. “Rushed Decisions: Political Talk Radio and Vote Choice, 1994- 1996.” Journal of Politics 61: 527-539.Jones, Jeffrey M. 2006. “Democratic Advantage in Party Identification Widens Post-Election,” Gallup News Service. November 16. http://www.gallup.com/poll/25468/Democratic-Advantage-Party-Identification-Widens-PostElection.aspx. Accessed December 10, 2008. Langbein, Laura I. 1986. “Money and Access: Some Empirical Evidence.” Journal of Politics 48: 1052-1062.Party Organizations, Party-Connected Committees, Party Allies, and the Financing of Federal Elections Paul S. Herrnson Director, Center for American Politics and Citizenship Professor, Department of Government and Politics University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 301-405-4123 [email protected] DRAFT 1Abstract What constitutes party campaign activity in elections? The answer to this question depends on how one defines a political party. This study introduces a definition of political parties as enduring multilayered coalitions that includes actors not often considered part of the party, namely party-connected committees, comprising party members’ personal campaign committees and leadership PACs, and party allies, consisting of interest groups that primarily support one party’s candidates. The inclusion of these actors highlights the parties’ ability to adapt to their political environment and shows that most extant studies underestimate the parties’ influence in election campaigns. It also demonstrates that a reliance on datasets that aggregate information in particular ways serves to illuminate some aspects of party (and other) politics, but may lead to other aspects being overlooked. 2Political parties in the United States have been criticized, defended, and even deemed indispensable by various academicians, journalists, and reformers. Some of the strongest commendations and condemnations have concerned the parties’ activities in election campaigns. Traditionally, such assessments have been directed at the segment of the party referred to by scholars as the party organization. However, in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to determine what constitutes party campaign activity. Does it consist solely of the activities of the party organizations that are formally codified under the law? Does it include “party-connected” committees—those candidate committees and leadership political action committees (PACs) that are connected to the party by virtue of their being sponsored by party politicians and contributing solely to members of one party? Or, does it also include “allied” interest groups and individuals that make virtually all of their campaign expenditures to help candidates of one party? The answers to these questions have implications for election campaigns and their study. They may have relevance for assessments of the strength of parties, for recent developments in governance, including increased party polarization in Congress and what some consider a decline in the constitutional system of checks and balances. The definitions used to characterize party campaign spending and other political activities also have consequences for political science research and political reform. To address some of these questions and considerations, I first discuss some shortcomings in contemporary definitions of political parties, particularly in terms of their relationships with what I refer to as party-connected committees and party allies. Second, I develop a new conception of political parties as enduring multilayered coalitions comprising these and other organizations and individuals. Third, an examination of campaign spending demonstrates the significance of the roles of party-connected committees and party allied PACs in the financing of federal elections. Fourth, I assess the similarities and differences in these organizations’ election efforts using the 2006 House elections as a case study. The findings of these analyses have implications for whether these 3organizations should be combined and their election efforts treated as party campaigning, kept separate and examined independently of one another, or considered in relationship to one another. Finally, I address the implications of the rise of party-connected committees and party allies for contemporary politics. Some Matters of Definition Definitions are important. The definition one uses influences what one categorizes as belonging to a group of phenomena. It has an impact on the data researchers consider relevant for the analysis of a subject. It also has an impact on the how those data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted. In political science, this is true for such basic terms as democracy, representation, and political party. Political parties have been defined in a variety of ways, including by their goals, their activities and behavior, their electoral bases of support, and by normative aspirations for their functions in a democratic society. E.E Schattschneider defined the political party in terms of its goals and activities: “first of all an organized attempt to get power” (1942, 35). Leon Epstein also emphasized goals and teamwork, considering a political party as “any group, no matter how loosely organized, seeking to elect governmental office-holders under a given label” (1967, 9). V.O. Key was the first to popularize the distinctions between different segments of the party, identifying them as the party-in-government, the party-in-the-electorate, and the party organization (1958). Joseph Schlesinger (1985) examined the relationships among these parts of the party and the impact of changes in the political opportunity structure on party strength. The authors of The American Voter focused on the party-in-the-electorate, considering parties symbolic referents that influence the political loyalties, opinions, and behavior of citizens (Campbell et al. 1960). The American Political Science Association’s Committee on Political Parties took a normative approach, seeking to make U.S. political parties more “democratic, responsible, and effective” (1950, 17) by integrating the 4various segments of the party and uniting them around a national policy agenda that was to be derived in part from a participatory process. Such parties, the committee believed, would be highly responsive and accountable to the American public. All of these definitions have been


Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Party Organizations, Party-Connected Committees, Party Allies, and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Party Organizations, Party-Connected Committees, Party Allies, and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?