Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Political Campaigns

Synopsis

Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Political Campaigns is intended for use in courses dealing with political parties, campaigns and elections, or interest groups. In one integrated text, this book covers the history and contemporary organization of political parties, the nature of the electoral system and modern American election campaigns, and the activities of interest groups. The central theme of this book is that the actions of political parties and interest groups are no longer played out in separate spheres of the political world, but are increasingly bound together. Nowhere is the overlap of interest group and party activity more apparent than in the modern political campaign. The book is organized around the idea that modern political campaigns link political parties and interest groups. Both political parties and interest groups have been forced to adapt to the changing circumstances of American politics in the contemporary era. Election campaigns have become more candidate-centered, increasingly driven by polls and media coverage, and fueled by staggering amounts of money. Political parties have adapted to these circumstances by becoming more proficient at providing the services that candidates require in modern campaigns, while interest groups have adapted by applying the style and techniques of election campaigns to their own political issue campaigns run by hired assistants from the worlds of public relations, polling, and campaign management. Part One explains the history and development of political parties in the United States, the contemporary organization of the major parties, and the electoral environment in which the parties compete. Part Two ties political parties to modern campaigns, with special emphasis on recent presidential and congressional elections, and examines the problems of campaign finance. Part Three links interest groups to political parties through the bridge of political campaigns. Interest groups are examined as they participate in candidate-centered campaigns, issue campaigns, and interest group lobbying campaigns.

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