Why party?

A break from winwin tech stuff to make my mom‘s unpopular argument for political parties.  As American’s fierce independence is our birthright. But for all their unpopularity, political parties play a critical role in our democracy. They organize governments, provide accountability for voters, give the public a narrative understanding of public policy and issues, and draw important lines of ideological contrast. What’s more, they find, recruit, and train candidates — as well as integrate them into a broader organization — and they are one of the few forces in American life with an interest in expanding the electorate and encouraging political participation.

For all the money that we’ve seen in this year’s election cycle, the truth is that we still haven’t felt the full impact of Citizens United. The election years of 2012 and 2014 are likely to see explosions in independent expenditures, and regulation can only go so far in challenging it. Right now, political parties are our best option for challenging corporate power, and progressives should be doing what they can to remove barriers to party integration and give small donors more power to influence parties and candidates. Political parties will always need money, and for the sake of democracy, we should try to make sure that it comes from the right places.


Citizens United gave political parties even more reason to concentrate on interest groups and the rich.
Jamelle Bouie | October 25, 2010

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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