National Party Structure • Both Republicans and Democrats have similar organizational structures • National Convention • National Committee • National Chairperson
National Convention • Officially nominate party’s presidential candidate (ratify choices made in primary season) • Develop party platform • Formulas used to allocate delegates to the conventions • Democrats also have superdelegates • Delegates tend to be more liberal than ordinary Democratic voters and more conservative than Republicans It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s the superdegelates!
National Committee • Formally selected at the convention • Directs and coordinates party activities during four years between conventions
National Chairperson Tim Kaine, Democrats Mike Duncan, Republicans Selected by party’s presidential candidate Serves as spokesperson for the party Establishes national headquarters, raises campaign funds, etc.
State Party Structure • Real strength and power of a national party at the state level • No “average” state party because all 50 are different, but most have some organizational features in common • State party chairperson • State central committee • Responsible for policy decisions of party’s state convention • Composed of members representing congressional districts, state legislative districts, or counties
Local Parties • The Machine • Recruits members via tangible incentives • Ideological Parties • Principle is more important than winning elections • Solidary Groups • Members motivated by solidary incentives • Sponsored Parties • Created or sustained by another organization • Personal Following • Political supported provided to candidate on the basis of personal popularity and networks
The Two-Party System • Rare • Why has it endured? • Winner-take-all system • Opinions of voters • State and federal laws
Minor Parties • Ideological parties • One-issue parties • Economic protest parties • Factional parties
Impact of Minor Parties Develop ideas that major parties later adopt Influence public policy Affect outcomes of elections?