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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a sweeping analysis of the history of American political parties. It specifically uses the lens of critical election theory to explore the scholarly treatment of the development of parties as institutions, of the relationship between parties and the electorate, of the means that parties have used to communicate with and build relationships with the electorate, and of the existence and definition of party systems. The Democrats' administrative state grew during the Second World War and was reinforced and further expanded during the Cold War that followed. There was increased partisan polarization in the 1990s as the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives and vigorously set themselves against a Democratic president.

Keywords: American political parties, critical election theory, institutions, electorate, Democrats, Republicans, House of Representatives

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