After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
- Define political party and identify key players, how they function in the party, and how a political party is distinct from an interest group.
- Examine the history of political party development in the United States and explore the two waves of political reform that weakened party organization.
- Describe how American parties are organized and the impact of party structure on political processes in the United States.
- Understand the causes and effects of a two-party system.
- Define responsible party government and explain why parties in the United States have been successful or unsuccessful in fulfilling this governing doctrine.
- Define interest groups and understand the role each type of group plays in American politics.
- Describe the issues that affect how accurately and equally interest groups represent the concerns of all segments of American society.