Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Community News Network

March 19, 2013

Have political parties lost their purpose?

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

But for many of those years, the concern was that the parties were too much alike and philosophically undefined.

For instance, if you said the word "Democrat" in the 1950s, you might be describing a Southern segregationist or a left-wing Northeasterner. Republicans for decades were united primarily by their views on economic issues, tolerating a broad range of opinion on the social ones and on national security.

Now, the opposite is true. Party labels have become a shorthand for a rigid ideological dividing line — Democrats to the left, and Republicans to the right.

And the clout of the parties has receded even more quickly in recent years, thanks to the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that cut off their access to unregulated contributions known as "soft money," and the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened up the spigot for fund to flow to outside groups.

"The law isn't the explanation for the weaknesses of the parties, but the law has accelerated their struggles," said one top Democratic National Committee official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Political parties increasingly are being outmatched in resources and organization by special-interest groups or those, such as the tea party, devoted more to furthering a cause than achieving electoral victory.

As a result, the parties are no longer as able as they once were to protect their incumbents from ideologically-driven primary challenges, to define their messages or even to keep up with technology.

Last year, for instance, the parties spent a total of $228 million on independent efforts to boost their candidates, primarily with ads. That was well under half the $631 million spent by the so-called "super PACs" that have sprung up since the Citizens United decision, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook