POLS 6100 United States Parties and Partisanship Essay

Question Description

I’m working on a political science discussion question and need an explanation to help me understand better.

Parties are not mentioned in the Constitution or other founding documents, but they have been an important presence in American politics essentially since the first Congress convened in 1789. Today parties influence every aspect of politics; indeed, the vast majority of people who participate in politics do so on the basis of their partisanship (whether they admit it or not).

This week’s textbook chapter goes over how political parties are organized and what they do in contemporary politics. Bawn et al present a compelling theory of how parties are formed, why they organize, and how they interact with voters. Achen and Bartels describe how partisanship influences voters’ interaction with politics. Finally, Campbell et al shows that voters are much more influenced by partisanship than by an intellectually coherent and consistent ideology.

Questions to consider:

  • What is a political party? Why do they exist, and whose purpose to they serve?
  • How do people “decide” which party to identify with?
  • What does it mean to identify with a party?