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What are the differences in the functions of the party-in-government, the part-in-electorate, and the party-in-organization?
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<br>Although American parties are known by a single name and, in the public mind, have a common historical identity, each party really has three major components. The first component is the party-in-the-electorate. This phrase refers to all those individuals who claim an attachment to the political party. They need no be members in the sense that they pay dues or even participate in election campaigns. Rather, the party-in-the-electorate is the large number of Americans who feel some loyalty to the party or who use partisanship as a cue to decide who will earn their vote. Most Americans who actually identify with one of the parties acquired that affiliation either as a result of their family upbringing or by coming of age during the era of their party's dominance. Party membership is not really a rational choice; rather, it is an emotional tie somewhat analogous to identifying with a region or a baseball team. Although individuals may hold a deep loyalty to or identification with a political part, there is no need for members of the party-in-the-electorate to speak out publicly, to contribute to campaigns, or to vote a straight party ticket. Needless to say, the party leaders pay close attention to the affiliation of their members in the electorate.
<br>The second component, the party organization, provides the structural framework for the political party by recruiting volunteers to become party leaders; identifying potential candidates; and organizing caucuses, conventions, and election campaigns for its candidates. It is the party organization and its active workers that keep the party functioning between elections, as well as make sure that the party puts forth electable candidates and clear positions in the election. When individuals accept paid employment for a political party, they are considered party professionals. Among that group are campaign consultants; fundraisers; local, state, and national executives; and national staff members. If the party-in-the-electorate declines in numbers and loyalty, the party organization must try to find a strategy to rebuild the grassroots following.
<br>The party-in-government is the third component of American political parties. The party-in-government consists of those elected and appointed officials who identify with a political party. Generally, elected officials cannot hold official party positions within the formal organization. Executives such as the president, governors, and mayors often have the informal power to appoint party executives, but their duties in office preclude them from active involvement in the party organization most of the time.
<br>Ties to a political party are essential to the functioning of government and the operation of the political process in the United States. Republican representatives, senators, and governors expect to receive a hearing at a Republican-controlled White House if they request it. In return, Republican presidents call on party loyalty when they ask the legislators to support their programs. This runs true for Democrats, ...