POL 358 Political Parties in American Politics (3)

Political parties are integral to democracy. Without parties in government, chaotic voting would prevail within Congress, extreme interest groups would enjoy disproportionate influence, and accountability for failed public policies would be almost impossible to establish. Without parties in the electoral arena, many citizens would have little information about political candidates or issues, voter turnout would be lower, incumbency advantage would be greater than it already is, and there would be no clear framework for debates concerning different public policy proposals. In short, parties are essential to the health of democracy. That being said, at times parties also impede representation, stall political change, and adversely impact minority groups in society. In this course, we will evaluate the benefits and costs associated with party-based politics in the United States, examine how parties have evolved overtime, and assess how changes in the party system may impact the health of democracy in the future.

Prerequisite: POL 241.

Back to top