Challenges to Party Government

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SIU Press, 1992 - Political Science - 257 pages
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Forty-three years after the publication of "Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System" in the American Political Science Review, John Kenneth White and Jerome M. Mileur place the "responsible parties" argument into historical perspective and assess its import over the last four decades for both the scholarly study of American political parties and the evaluation of American parties as democratic political institutions.

This book is the first systematic look at the "responsible parties" argument originally developed by E. E. Schattschneider and the Committee on Political Parties, a group sanctioned by the American Political Science Association. The contributors are among some of the most ardent fans of political parties, who view the party system, despite its continued decline, as potentially the most effective means of communication between voters and legislators. Yet, while each would like to see the resurgence of parties, most are pessimistic about the capacity of these institutions to assist in the governance of the country. Elections in which the party system fails to frame issues satisfactorily and the rise of an American state without the helping hand of parties to run it have contributed to a political crisis of confidence in government. How that crisis is resolved, and the fate that ultimately awaits the political parties, will shape much of American politics in the next century.

The contributors to Challenges to Party Government include some of the leading scholars on American political parties, such as Everett Carll Ladd, A. James Reichley, Wilson Carey McWilliams, Sidney M. Milkis, and John S. Jackson III, as well as the only two members of the House of Representatives who are political scientists, Democrat David E. Price and Republican William M. Thomas. Both Price and Thomas have long records of party service, and each draws upon his scholarly expertise to compare what the literature says about political parties and what his own party experiences have been.


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About the author (1992)

John Kenneth White is an associate professor of political science at the Catholic University of America.

Jerome M. Mileur is a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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