Party Seniority System
Despite undergoing superficial reforms in the past and experiencing elemental institutional changes meant to inject quality leadership styles, nowadays,
political alignments seem to be mired in gridlocks, decline of party
memberships, unnecessary squabbles, and poor command structure that has its
roots in disagreements between party members who are mainly obsessed with the
old seniority system. According to Crook and America (1985), the US House of
Representatives’ strict adherence to the ranking system makes matters worse for
the effective management of party institutions. The selection of committee
members from the old political elites who sit on ranking committees remain a
contentious issue among scholars, the media, and political observers watching
from the sidelines. The effective use of persuasion, mobilization, and
coordination that was once the hallmarks of American political systems has been
replaced by political misguidance that tends to do more harm than good to party
loyalists and the general voting population. Fighting over voters and
misguiding them so they can change party allegiance, attempting to alter voter
party preferences, and altering voter participation in elections are some of
the factors that plunge voters into confusion and party politics into oblivion
(Cox, 2006). Hibbing
It is parties that make democracy possible and it is the people that control governments (Cox, 1977). When a government manipulates its citizens, then the people become powerless subjects who can be driven anywhere. Nowadays, there seem to be a decline in American party discipline and that could be a sign of bad organization and lack of coordination among party leaders and party politics. Ideological differences could also set the stage for unnecessary differences and general decline in discipline among party members. Katz and Mair (1995) argue that parties have become cartels and that parties can achieve perfection when they effectively relate their activities to the societies they represent and serve.
Bartels, L.M. (2000). Partisan and voting behavior, 1952-1996. American Journal of Political Science, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp. 35-50.
Cox, G.W. (2006). Swing voters, core voters and distributive politics.
of California, San Diego.
Crook, S.B. & Hibbing, J.R. (1985). Congressional reform and party discipline: The effects of change in the seniority system on party loyalty in the US House of Representatives. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 207-226.
Katz, R.S. & Mair, P. (1995). Changing models of party organization and party democracy: The emergence of the cartel party. Party Politics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 5-28.
Pomper, G.M (1977). The decline of the party in American elections. Political Science Quarterly, Volume 92, No. 1.