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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Party battles for control of government are seen as efforts to reshape public policy. In prior decades, the impact of parties was limited by divided control of branches of government. The impact of party control was also limited because neither party had a distinctive constituency with clear and different policy goals. Over time, realignment has produced parties with very different electoral bases. Republicans now are more unified and willing to cut government while Democrats are more supportive of government programs. This chapter reviews our expectations of the impact of parties, the changes that have made party control mean more, and how these changes affect policy areas like economic policy, welfare, and health care.

Keywords: party policy, party impact, polarization, unified party control, party unity

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