The Shape of Modern Political Parties


Political parties exist primarily as a means to help candidates get elected. The United States thus has a relatively loose system of party identification and a bottom-up approach to party organization structure built around elections. Lower levels, such as the precinct or county, take on the primary responsibility for voter registration and mobilization, whereas the higher state and national levels are responsible for electing major candidates and shaping party ideology. The party in government is responsible for implementing the policies on which its candidates run, but elected officials also worry about winning reelection.