The Party Organizations

American political parties are decentralized and fragmented. Compared to European parties, American political parties have little power.
Party Machines
A party organization that depends on rewarding its members in some material fashion (ex. patronage)
Survival can be traced to its ability to limit scope of reform legislation.
Merit System
Urban party machines no longer active as a rule; progressive reforms placed jobs under merit system.
Revitalization of party Organization at the county level
States give parties power to limit who participates in their nomination contests. Ex. closed primaries (only registered voters), open primaries (voters decide on election day), blanket primaries (allow voter to pick both Rep and Dem)
Supreme Power: National Convention
Goal: to write party's platform, and nominate candidates for President and VP.
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