Are parties an important part of American politics? Are they helpful? Are they detrimental?
For long-term development in emerging democracies, political parties are extremely important. For many years these parties have been neglected by those working in developing worlds instead because of the lack of focus on civil society, and human rights. The media has not always done a great job to portray political in a positive light. Historically political parties have been held in low regard because people who were in charge of governance had the tendency to push their own self-interest, and agenda to the forefront instead of the interests of those they sought to protect. Even with all the negative viewpoints people have of political parties, it would not be a good idea to do away them. Since legislatures, and governments do not have the chance to make contact with the citizens as they would love to do; these political parties then become instrumental in bridging the gap between society, and government (Burnell, 1992). In a functioning democracy there can be no argument against the fact that political parties play a pivotal role, and are an important part of American politics.
Who governs? Who really rules?
To what extent are citizens of the United States sovereign or powerless? These questions are integral in understanding the nature of American politics ( Giles & Page, 2014). Party disalignment has made itself into Western democracies, which causes sentiment towards political parties to have become more pessimistic. Dalton & Weldon, (2005) posit that this level of pessimism has become deep rooted in American politics as well as in the political fiber of the wider community. When parties feel distrust then voting turnout decreases, contemporary systems become fragmented, electoral base of new protest parties arises, which in turn heightens cynicism towards the government. At the center of a representative democracy we find political parties, however, in recent times people do not trust political parties as before. These sentiments are positively responsible for shaping the principles, and nature of democratic politics. Although political parties are the foundation of the system of representative democracy, fewer citizens today trust political parties, and this is reshaping the nature of democratic politics (Giles & Page, 2014). Parties are important, and so no democracy can or will operate without them. Giovani Sartor (1968) people in Western democracies are represented by parties; for this reason there are an inevitable presence in American politics.
Democracy is most commonplace, and transcultural in the political arena. Democratic governments are based on self-governance that people, and governments. In modern societies, democracy is defined by the principles of citizenship, transparent electoral process, and a government accountable to its people (Becker & Raveloson, 2008). Abraham Lincoln referred to government as one that is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” Robert Dah termed this reference “populistic democracy.” Tocqueville on the other hand was concerned that this referenced could result in the tyranny of the majority, however, the contrary is innate to American politics. The fact that citizens are seen as rational, and can make their own choices in a democratic electoral process where their votes determine the candidates who would run for governance in a political system that has two parties based on their preferences; prove that there is a system of ‘checks and balances’ in place that will prevent Tocqueville’s concerns to come to life as political parties prove to be helpful in maintaining democracy in the America (Giles & Page, 2014).
Political parties are important, and helpful to American politics. The viability of effective parties are vital in building, and maintaining a democracy. As attitudes towards political parties wane, and people are less willing to join parties even though have identified with a party, maintaining political parties, and party systems present themselves as modern day challenges in American. Western democracies should never take parties for granted believing their representation is perfect. Organizations need to continuously work with parties at all times in emerging democracies (Burnell, 1992). Low level attitudes towards political parties, and the rapid continues decline in party participation pose a threat to American politics, and is detrimental to the maintenance of democracy.
- Becker, P. & Raveloson, J.A (2008). What is Democracy? n.d. Web. 29 April 2016
- Burnell, P. Building Better Democracies: Why political parties matter? 1992. Web. 27 April 2016
- Dalton, R.J. & Weldon, S.A. Public Images of Political Parties: A Necessary Evil? 2005. Web. 27 April 2016. West European Politics, 28 (5), 931 – 951
- Gilens, M. & Page, B.I. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. 2014. Web. 27 April 2016