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The Decline Of Politcal Parties In America

            Along with the birth of the United States of America came the beginning of political parties. In 1787 two political organizations, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, arose representing those for and those against the constitution respectively. Once the constitution was ratified there was no longer a need for an organization which opposed it, thus the Anti-Federalists became the Democratic-Republican Party and some years later transformed simply to the Democrat Party. On the other side, the Federalist lineages lead them to become today what we know as the Republican Party. These parties played a very important role in American politics over the years. Political parties began to rise to power in the 1800's because they "possessed either legal or practical monopolies of three vital factors: legitimacy, resources, and recruitment" (Pomper 23). Parties became the gateway to the political arena in America and continued to be so until the late 1800's when party decline is first noted by researchers. It was at this time that restrictions were first placed on political parties as the government began regulation on their activities. Over time, however, there are many other factors which contributed to the decline of the political parties in America. The articles The Decline of the Party in American Elections by Gerald M. Pomper and Information Processing and Partisan Neutrality: A Reexamination of the Party Decline Thesis by Jay A. DeSart both deal with the causes of party decline. If parties held power because of their legitimacy, resources and ability to recruit, what has changed in the American political arena to affect the parties" abilities to maintain those factors? Both articles attribute various factors to the decline of the parties. Pomper attributes party decline to five aspects; "recruitment, strategies of nomination, campaign finance, national conventions and electoral behavior" (Pomper 25).

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