How do the U.S. political parties work these days?
May 8, 2013 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to learn more about how the Democratic and Republican parties function, concretely, at present. Specifically: how establishment forces (influential donors, party officials, incumbents) influence the rise of candidates (at any level), and how these candidates integrated into the parties activities. I'm particularly interested in the role of political consultants (in media, fundraising, messaging) - what dynamics are at play as they are hired by candidates, how do these consultants' careers develop, what pressures do they face from the establishment, and what role do they play in shaping the policy positions?

I'm not sure who would be writing about this, maybe organizational studies academics? Is there a modern Robert Michels?
posted by phrontist to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Generally, this seems like what Americanists (i.e., political scientists who study American politics ) study. Maybe check out a few syllabi? I suspect, however, that a lot of that type of research will be much more abstract than what you are looking for.

I would suggest also looking histories or research on political parties in specific states. These microhistories are more than likely going to have to give detailed information as to how non-state actors influence political parties, like for example Norcross in New Jersey.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2013

Best answer: This article in the American Political Science Review gives a really quick overview of what political scientists have been saying about parties and can point to more specific areas you'd be interested in.

For consultants, try No Place for Amateurs.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:08 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hershey's Party Politics in America is a decent intro text and has the benefit of being brief. You might pair it with Masket's No Middle Ground as a good recent take on how activists, donors, and their organizations can affect politics.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:42 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

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