The Weakening of Representation and Policy-Making: The Downfall of Political Parties

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"It's a reflection of the political dynamic in America, where we don't look at America as a whole. We look at it through the red and blue prism” (Taylor, 1). The red and blue prism that Senator Olympia Snowe is referring to is the political parties that function in the United States. The current existence of political parties in America is a hindrance to effective representation of the people. Because of the lack of bipartisanship between the parties in Congress, the absence of compromise leads to gridlock in regards to passing legislations by members of Congress. In this paper, I will argue how the strengthening of political parties’ polarization in America—and the priority of party over constituents—contributed to a lack of effective representation and increased challenges to policy-making.

In the United States, members of Congress align themselves with party leaders over their constituents in order to get elected. The distinction between political parties causes members of Congress to associate themselves with a party in order to garner the subsequent benefits. Through public officials’ blatant lack of input for their constituency, it has been proven that members of Congress require party support in order to get re-elected, which feeds an endless cycle of catering to party ideals over the public. According to John Aldrich and David Rhode’s, The Logic of Conditional Party Government: Revisiting the Electoral Connection, they state that there are two party government strategies: party pressure and gatekeeping. Vulnerable members of Congress are placed in a tough position between listening to their constituents and their party. A political party is able to effectively pressure members of Congress to adhere to the values held by ...

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