What is a party in American politics?

Nov 9 '10

As John mentioned a while back (my recent Monkey Cage time has been allotted to tedious back-end work on the website), I posted some “semi-informed speculations”:http://crookedtimber.org/2010/10/15/whats-happening-to-the-republican-party/ on the other blog about what is happening to the Republican Party. What I was interested in was the question of (a) what a political party is in the US, and (b) whether this is changing, thanks to changes in media and fundraising opportunities. For other blog takes on these questions, see “John’s post from last year”:https://themonkeycage.local/2009/10/are_glenn_beck_and_rush_limbau.html summarizing the debates on whether Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are part of the Republican party, and “Jonathan Bernstein’s post”:http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/10/understanding-fox-news.html arguing that Fox News is indeed part of the Republican party, and Clyde Wilcox’s “comment here”:http://crookedtimber.org/2010/10/25/whats-happening-to-the-republican-party-ii/#comment-336264.

At greater length, Richard Skinner’s “Do 527s Add Up to a Party”:http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol3/iss3/art5/, Cohen, Karol, Noel and Zaller’s “book”:http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?isbn=9780226112374 on parties and presidential nominations, Seth Masket’s “book”:http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=349912 on party politics in California, and the Bawn, Cohen, Karol, Masket, Noel and Zaller “paper”:http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/hcn4/Downloads/ToP%20October%205.pdf on political parties (which has become a classic without ever to my knowledge being published) are all interesting. Many of these people read the Monkey Cage. I’d really be interested to see a serious discussion about how the changing relationship with Fox News (where several Republican presidential hopefuls are contributors), with donors (the American Crossroads model) and activists (the Tea Party) is changing the Republican party, and what consequences one might expect. I’d also be interested in reading similar discussion of changes in the Democratic party.