Dynamics of American Political Parties

by Mark D. Brewer, Jeffrey M. Stonecash

Dynamics of American Political Parties examines the process of gradual change that inexorably shapes and reshapes American politics. Parties and the politicians that comprise them seek control of government in order to implement their visions of proper public policy. To gain control parties need to win elections, and winning elections requires assembling an electoral coalition that is larger than that crafted by the opposition. Uncertainty rules and intra-party conflict rages as different factions and groups within the parties debate the proper course(s) of action and battle it out for control of the party. Parties can never be sure how their strategic maneuvers will play out, and, even when it appears that a certain strategy has been successful, party leaders are unclear about how long apparent success will last. Change unfolds slowly, in fits and starts.

  • Cambridge University Press; July 2009
  • ISBN: 9780511590672
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Dynamics of American Political Parties
  • Author: Mark D. Brewer; Jeffrey M. Stonecash
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

“Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash have written an important book. It seeks to fill the rather large niche designed by James Sundquist with his Dynamics of the American Party System, and, like him, they provide a rather tight historical development from (in their case) the Civil War through the 2008 election. However, their work is actually richer than Sundquist’s. It is richer in theory, with a less rigid framework for understanding political dynamics (and a more plausible one, with lots of feedback, driven by uncertainty). It is also richer in substance, especially in tying the voter more firmly to these dynamics and in better integrating Congress and the presidency. All in all, this is a major achievement.”
– John Aldrich, Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science, Duke University