HGov: Political Parties


A political party is an ongoing coalition of interests joined together in an effort to get its candidates for public office elected under  common label. Political parties are an indispensable component of democratic government. By offering voters a choice between policies and leaders, parties give them a chance to influence the direction of government. When the United States was founded, the formation of parties was also the first step toward the building of its democracy.

Political parties serve to link the public with its elected leaders. In the United States, this linkage is provided by the two-party system. Only the Republican and Democratic parties have any chance of winning control of government. The fact that the United States has only two major parties is explained by several factors: an electoral system characterized by single-member districts that makes it difficult for third parties to compete for power; each party’s willingness to accept differing political views; and a political culture that stresses compromise and negotiation rather than ideological rigidity.

1) Read Chapter 9 pp.241-256



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