parties to campaign however they liked, with whatever policy positions they liked.
They could focus on the party or issues or individual candidates, depending on
whatever would work with voters in a given election. Clearly, this was not the only
available alternative. The Republican National Committee under Ronald Reagan
proved, after all, that party organizations can be partisan, ideological, and successful at the same time. But it was an easy alternative for Democrats weary of interminable factional battles and frightened by the growing affluence of their partisan
opponents to embrace.
At the core of the Accommodationist paradigm's analysis and prescription,
however, is a kind of agnosticism about the value of party as a mediating institution
in electoral politics, perhaps driven by the growing indifference of voters toward
parties in the 1970s and 1980s. Traditional advocates of strong parties might be
troubled by the Democratic headquarters's move to embrace such campaign-centered politics, though most contemporary observers described the program itself as Manatt, Kirk, and Brown's great success.
Herbert E. Alexander, "Making Sense about Dollars in the 1980 Presidential Campaigns,"
in Money and Politics in the United States, ed.
Michael J. Malbin ( Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984). For a more complete discussion of soft money, see Anthony Corrado
, "Party Soft Money," in
Corrado, Thomas E. Mann,
Daniel R. Ortiz,
Frank J. Sorauf, Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1997).
On the brief Republican flirtation with national committee regulation of state and local
party affairs, see Charles Longley, "Party Nationalization in America," in Paths to Political
William Crotty ( Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1980), 175-79.
The best survey of this Republican development is John C. Green, ed., Politics, Professionalism, and Power. Modern Party Organization and the Legacy of Ray C. Bliss ( Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1994).
Richard Cohen, "The Making of the Congress, 1980--There's a New National Wrinkle
This Year," National Journal, 5 January 1980, 20-24.
See, for example, John F. Bibby, "Party Renewal in America," in Party Renewal in America,
Gerald M. Pomper ( New York: Praeger, 1980); F. Christopher Arterton, "Political
Money and Party Strength," in The Future of American Political Parties, ed.
( Harriman, N.Y.: American Assembly, 1982); David Adamany, "Political Parties in the
1980s," in Money and Politics in the United States, ed.
Michael J. Malbin ( Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984); Cornelius P. Cotter et al., Party Organizations in American Politics ( New York: Praeger, 1984); Xandra Kayden and
Eddie Mahe Jr., The Party GoesOn: The Persistence of the Two-Party System in the United States