Shift In The American Political System

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The American political system is one in which change occurs slowly and incrementally, if at all. This long-term stability prevents shortsighted populism from driving large-scale changes that potentially have long-term impacts. Thus, if the American political system is trending on a path that lends itself well to the fulfillment of the democratic ideals of equal voice, representation, majority rule, and minority protection the stability of the system allows it to continue along this path. However, when a number of these small, incremental changes reinforce one another toward an unequal or unresponsive system these trends are just as difficult to reverse. This paper will examine three specific shifts in the American political system: a) the…show more content…
There has been a noticeable shift from incumbency providing an electoral benefit to congressional office holders, to party identification mitigating this effect. Instead of individuals evaluating and selecting candidates based on their past performance, partisan ideologies are primed on a national level (Abromowitz and Webster, 2015). Thus, it no longer matters if a Republican congressman has been an effective lawmaker for a Democratic district. Now, voters are primed to vote against a candidate with a party identification shared by the candidate they supported in the Presidential election. Shifts in focus regarding the level of government then, are both intentional, as in the cases of Redmap and ALEC, and a consequence of larger trends as in the case of nationalization of House elections. These shifts hope to make some aspect of politics easier for those undertaking them by shifting to a level where the rules are more…show more content…
Skocpol (2007) shows that while as early as 1960 a number of national public interest groups were structured in a way that promoted grass-roots activism and required a number of local chapters. These membership groups gained the strength to engage in activism through the number of members they were able to mobilize. These interest groups, then, could claim to be representative of the general public’s interests because they were made up of members of the general public. However, Skocpol further argues that beginning in the 1970’s there was a shift toward more professionally run organizations. Instead of recruiting members to volunteer and mobilize, these new groups featured predominantly professional members and functioned through the use of lobbying. Instead of a high number of members, these new groups were primarily focused on raising money in order to lobby for more narrow interests. In 2001, only 12% of all Washington interest groups were associations of individuals (Schlozman et al.
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