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Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies$
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Paul Webb, David Farrell, and Ian Holliday

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199240566.001.0001

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Still Functional After All These Years

Still Functional After All These Years

Parties in the United States, 1960–2000

(p.310) 11 Still Functional After All These Years
Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

John C. Green

Oxford University Press

The American party system has experienced considerable change since 1960, and the meaning of this change is the subject of much debate, at the core of which is a basic question: how functional is the American party system after four turbulent decades? Depending on the evidence considered, scholars offer different answers to this question, ranging from a loss of functionality due to party ‘decline’ to potential gains from party ‘revival’. Reviews these arguments and assesses changes in key aspects of the American party system between 1960 and 1996. It finds some merit in both the ‘declinist’ and ‘revivalist’ points of view. There is a brief introductory section to the current situation, and this is followed by two further introductory sections, which present a more in‐depth discussion of the American ‘two‐party’ (Republicans and Democrats) system, and of party decline and revival. The next three sections cover the same topics as those in the other country case studies in the book, and examine the popular legitimacy of American parties, the organizational strength of American parties, and the systemic functionality of American parties (governance and political recruitment, interest articulation and aggregation, political communication and education, and encouraging political participation).

Keywords:   case studies, governance, interest aggregation, interest articulation, party decline, party functionality, party legitimacy, party organization, party performance, party revival, party system, political communication, political education, political participation, political parties, political recruitment, political system, two‐party system, United States

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