Be careful what you wish for: The rise of responsible parties in American national politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

22 Scopus citations


Among advanced democracies, the United States has traditionally been unique owing to the absence of ideological mass political parties. American parties' scholars have nevertheless traditionally viewed stronger and more ideologically distinct national parties as essential to improve the quality of the American democratic process, a view reflected in the 1950 APSA report, Toward a More Responsible Party System. In the following decades the American parties appeared to weaken still further in all aspects, but this apparent party decline in fact signified a transition to a contemporary American party system with more polarized parties similar to those envisaged by the 1950 report. It remains doubtful, however, that American democracy has been enhanced by these developments. Ironically, the advent of more ideologically coherent parties has also made party scholars more aware of the potentially unhealthy side effects that may attend such a development in a separated governing system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Political Science
EditorsNelson Polsby
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Political Science
ISSN (Print)1094-2939


  • Culture war
  • Ideology
  • Mass parties
  • Party decline
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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