Author (Your Name)

Benjamin Ling, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Government Dept.


L. Sandy Maisel


While this definition and others like it well define the important aspects of party organization and their electoral purpose, there is another key aspect to parties which is also critical to understanding their role in the American political process. Gerald Pomper, in "From Confusion to Clarity," wrote that parties also have a key role to play to in the framing of the debate over policy ideas, and that each of the major parties in the United States has different policy ideaIs and consequently members of one party act and vote differently, on the whole, from the members of the other major party after being elected to office. Based on these common ideas of political parties, it is clear that they play a dual role in the modern political system --to unite people with common beliefs into a common party platform and then, through their organizational structure, to get a broad enough base of support that enables the election of those people with that platform to policy-making positions. Put another way, parties in the United States, at least in theory, imply some level of unity of ideology and a tangible organization that is involved in allowing for that ideology to be carried out in the most effective manner possible.


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United States. -- Congress -- Decision making, United States -- Politics and government