and the Party System
Depending upon analytic aspirations, either continuities or changes can be seen to offer an impressive point of focus in studies of the American party system. Both yield important insights. From the vantage point of cross-national comparison one sees, whether in 1900, 1935, or 1975, a distinctively consistent American type of party system : comprising organizationally amorphous bourgeois parties, each fully at peace with the persisting consititutional order, equally heir to reigning assumptions of classical liberal and democratic theory. But if one views the party system from within rather than from without, taking as a given the existence of a genus factiones Americanae and inquiring as to its phylogeny, the degree of departure from the New Deal order of things becomes striking. From this latter perspective, a new party system has taken shape, responding to a new sociopolitical period.
Many of the basic transformations the parties-elections system is now experiencing follow from shifting patterns of conflict. They are occurring because a bundle of new items have been added to the political agenda while old