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    Saturday, 11 March 2017

    Nature, objects and organization American Political Parties

    1. Definition of Political Parties
    Various celebrated authors have defined political parties as under:

    a. Edmund Burke
    A political party as "a body of men united for promoting the national interests upon some particular principle I which they are agreed".

    b. Professor Gettle
    A political party is groups of citizens more of less organized, who act as a political unit and who by the use of their political power aim at controlling the government and carrying out their policies.

    2. History of the American Political Parties
    The Founding Fathers considered political parties to be undesirable and dangerous to the power of the State. George Washington had advised Americans to avoid party politics. However, modern democratic government is impossible without political parties. Democratic government is party government. Political parties come into existence because in public affairs there can be no unanimity of opinion people think and act not in one way but in many ways. Persons sharing the same views regarding public matters join together and form a political party in order to capture power.

    a. Emergence of Political parties in America
    Parties emerged in America soon after the promulgation of the Constitution on the issue of a strong national government versus State rights. Political parties have always been in America in one form or the, other. Before the war of American Independence there were "Loyalists" and "Patriots". The former preached loyalty to the British Crown and the latter worked for independence. After independence the old parties or groups disappeared and two new parties emerged one in favour of a strong Centre and the other in favour of "state rights" and weak Centre those who supported a strong central government called themselves Federalists and those who distrusted 'a strong central government and stood for "state rights" called themselves Anti-Federalists and later on Democrats. The Federalists later on assumed a new name Republicans.

    b. The Democratic Party
    Initially it was Federalists Party. In 1824, its names were changed to Democratic Party and the same name continues till today. The historic roots of the Democratic Party are in the southern States of American. The symbol of this party is a donkey.

    c. The Republican Party
    The Republican Party is the direct successor of the Federalists and the Whigs. It is known as Grand Old Party. The Republican Party is traditionally symbolized by an elephant.

    d. Separation of powers & Political Parties
    The American political system is based on the principle of separation of powers. There is possibility of non cooperation between the President and the Congress. Such conflict is avoided by the party system which acts as a bridge between the executive and legislature. American political parties, give to administration a single driving force, a common outlook and direction and the possibility of creative government.

    3. Distinction between the American Parties
    In England or Pakistan, the political parties are divided on the basis of principles. For example, the Conservatives and Labour parties in England have clearly distinct programmers and policies. We find that the conservatives and the Labour parties are divided on the basis of definite economic principles. There are not such fundamental doctrinal differences between the two major political parties in the United States. Major political parties of the United States have all shades of opinion represented on them. Each Party has conservatives, liberal's socialists in ranks.

    a. D.S. Jordan says
    There is no essential difference between the Republican parties as regards principles. They are like two hogs, one a large fellow with both, feet in the rough, the other a lean restless brute doing his best to get an opening for himself. The trough represents the ultimate consumer.

    b. Hymen
    According to Hymen: "The idea of a pure Conservative Party and a 'pure liberal party in America, the, has the same air gun as a plan to have mountain range without valleys or a river without banks, of themselves, mountains imply valley as rivers imply banks. And the same is of our party life. So long as we don't like a welter of one interests or ideological parties, by the very nature of our diversity each party will and must have a mixed character. In particular this must' be true under our federal arrangement where the legislative impulse is designed to come from below, and not from above as in England.

    c. Sidney Hyman
    "The democrats and Republicans differ on measures that can:
    (i) put more people to work
    (ii) create a climate that will spur private employers to produce more:
    (iii) give to all hands a fair share of what is produced when the system fails to dot that;
    (iv) police that part of the productive plant in which the public has an interest as distinct from the right of ownership of management;
    (v) conserve the nations resources for the future while meeting the industrial needs of the present, and
    (vi) distribute fairly the human and material costs of national efforts like defense programmers which save the rich and poor alike.

    4. Functions performed by political Parties in general

    In general a political party performs these functions

    a. To select public issues and present them to the electorate
    Every issue begins with the birth of an idea in some body's mind. The new idea is presently transformed into a proposal of legislation. It is advocated and pressed forward by its friends; in due course it becomes, a new idea is presently transformed into a proposal of legislation; it is pluck in a party platform, and thus evolves into a political issue.

    An election under the 'party system is a referendum on public issues. The political opinions of individual voters are widely diversified. To make group opinion effective, it is necessary to find some common ground. It is the function of a party organization to find this common ground.

    b. Selection of candidates
    The political parties nominate candidates for public office. The party organizations maintain selective machinery for this purpose. It consists of party committees, conventions, primaries and so on. The party politics is the way of getting the lists of candidates narrowed down to a point where one of them has a chance of becoming the majority choice.

    c. Collective Political Responsibility
    The party serves as a guarantor pledging its own good faith and reputation, at times staking its very existences upon the ability and integrity of the men whom it places in nomination for public office. Party leaders hardly' neglect to remind the people of the distinguished personalities whom the party has put into office from time to time.

    d. Political Education
    Political parties render great service in the field of political education. They stimulate discussion, by filling the new papers with their statement and counter statements, their claims and counter-claims. Their preachments and propaganda. They attract the attention of the people by their rallies, radio broadcasts, parades demonstrations and straw votes; they bombard the voters with their circulars and campaign literature.

    5. Salient Features of American political parties

    Some important characteristics of t are given below:-
    (i) American political parties American parties are not ideologically divided into two opposite camps nor both differ diametrically on basic national issues.
    (ii) The old basis on which they were built up no longer exists. Both parties adjust their policies to current circumstances; they cannot be exactly classified under the left-and-right pattern.
    (iii) In America there is only one party; Democratic party, divided into two nearly equal halves by habit to contest office".
    (iv) The Democratic and the Republication parties are like the two bottles each bearing a label which denotes the kind of juice Each party makes many it contains, but both are empty.  Each party makes many vague promises to all sorts of people and economic interests at the time of elections.
    (v) The American political parities lack discipline.
    (vi) There is a good deal of cross-voting in Congress. Party leaders are not able to impose discipline upon their followers. Congressmen enjoy more freedom of speech within the chambers. That is 'lack of uniformity in respect of policy formulation and political modes within the same party.
    (vii) The members of Congress also give much importance to safeguarding their respective regional interests and talk 41 little about a coherent and uniform policy.

    6. Unique role to be played be the American Parties
    The American political parties are known for their elaborate organization and strength. They play a very marvelous role in the American politics as well as the American society, which has been unprecedented across the globe. The following factors are responsible for this:

    (i) In United States, elections are held frequently. Political parties select candidates for the different offices and in t way they make the task of voters easy.
    (ii) The American Constitution is based upon the theory of Separation of powers. Parties normally harmonize these two branches to the American Government. They break the rigidity of separation of powers.
    (iii) The large are of the country also requires that there should be a strong political organization.
    (iv) Emergence of political parties, ruled out at the time of constitution. Parties had their growth after the enforcement of the Constitution. As a result, this affected and shaped the political process and political institutions.

    7. Two Party system
    Apart from two big parties, there exist a number of smaller ones but these are not very effective. Rather certain American states have put limitations on the emergence of a third party. For instance, in the state of Illinois, the signatures of twenty five thousands voters are legally required, in support of the creation of a third party.

    8. Points of differences
    (i) Republican party believed in tax concessions for low income groups, whereas Democrats did not want to introduce drastic changes in the taxation policies.
    (ii) Republicans intended to safeguard the agrarian interests while Democrats wanted agricultural development through raising the prices of agricultural commodities.
    (iii) Republicans did not believe in increasing the wages in the industrial fields'; while Democratic party wanted just the reverse and stood for the repeal of old laws' for the realization of this goal.
    (iv) As far centre-state relations, Republican Party wanted to give maximum aid and support to state governments. Democrats, on the other hand, prefer to rely on increased sphere of national government's responsibilities.

    9. Organization of the political parties

    a. Precint Committees
    Precint Committees are organized in a particular area but the basic consideration is the population and not the vastness 'of area. Chairman of the Precint Committee is called Captain who acts as a link between the voters and the party organization.

    b. The Ward Committee
    Every Ward comprises approximately six to twenty Precints and its committees consist of the Captains of Precint Committees. The important function of the Ward leader is to coordinate and supervise the Precint committees within its jurisdiction.

    c. The city Central Committee
    The city. Each party has its organization works in almost all the cities that work under the supervision of a Central Committee. Every Ward is represented in the City Central Committee by its elected representatives.

    d. The Count Committee
    In the rural areas, party is organized in the form of County. Committee which is organized in the form of country Committee which is the next stage after Precint. County Committees hold their meetings after regular intervals and become more active during elections.

    e. Congress District Committee
    This branch of the party is organized in every electoral district and every County Committee sends one or two representatives in it.

    f. State Central Committee
    State Central Committee is formed in every state comprising representative from Congress District Committees or from party branches within, the respective state.

    g. National Committee
    At the top of party hierarchy stands National Convention in which every state and every region is given proper representation. National Convention conducts -general supervision of party organization and its activities on nation-wide bases. The Chairman acts as a link between political office holders and the party cells and informs the Committee about needs and problems of party branches.

    h. Party committees in the Congress
    Each party constitutes a Congress Committee and a Senate Committee. Both these committees become more active during the elections of both Houses of the Congress.

    i. Party Organization within Congress

    Party discipline within the chambers of Congress, is not as rigid as it exists in a parliamentary set-up. The organization within the legislative chambers is called Caucus. Party Caucus chalks out a definite policy to be followed in respect of all on the agenda. In fact, the output of each Chamber is dependent on the decisions of Party Caucuses.
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    Item Reviewed: Nature, objects and organization American Political Parties Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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