Characteristics and Functions of American Political Parties

Topics: United States, Elections, Political party Pages: 3 (960 words) Published: June 8, 2014

Characteristics and Functions of American Political Parties When the American founders came up with the system of federalism, and the parameters in which the president and the congress were to be elected, they forgot or intentionally failed to mention political parties. This is a clear indication of their negative outlook towards political parties. In fact, people like George Washington condemned their harmful effects. Irrespective of this condemnation, these early leaders went ahead and instituted the current two party systems. Different scholars have tried to come up with the correct summations of what exactly a political party means. (Maxwell, 119) Defines party as a coalition of interests whose primary aspiration is to win elections. Today, political parties are an important ingredient in as far as democracy is concerned. There are two major political parties in the United States of America. These major parties are the Republican and the Democratic Party. Other parties such as the reform party, the socialist, the constitutional party and the socialist party are examples of third parties in the U.S. All these parties have the rights to take part in presidential elections although, the two major parties usually carries the day. The party system is a great determinant in the presidential choice in the United State (Hoffman, 140). Functions of political parties Over the years, political parties in the United States have survived due to the integral role they play (Maxwell, 119). All parties in the United States share similar functions. One of their key functions is to nominate and elect their members in public offices (Maxwell, 119). Secondly, they disentangle the various issues for the voters so that they can be in a position to understand and take a position on matters concerning public policy. In layman’s terms, political parties in involved in educating the voters. Thirdly, political parties are...
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