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Compare and contrast the UK and US political parties and their party systems

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the UK and US political parties and their party systems? A party system as described by G.Sartori is "the system of interactions resulting from inter-party competition". A one-party system cannot produce a political system, as we would identify it in Britain. One party cannot produce any other system other than autocratic/dictatorial power. Two-party system: as the title indicates, this is a state in which just two parties dominate. Other parties might exist but they have no political importance. The multi-party system: as the title suggests, this is a system where more than two parties have some impact in a state's political life. Dominant-party system: this is different from a one-party system. A party is quite capable within the political structure of a state, to become dominant to such an extent that victory at elections is considered a formality. A political party is organized groups of voters and politicians with similar ideas about how the government should be run and who should represent them. The US has a two party system in which two parties dominate in the US its Republican and Democratic parties. ...read more.

Middle

Sartori defines a multi-party system as one where no party can guarantee an absolute majority. In theory, the Labour Party, regardless of its current parliamentary majority, could lose the next general election in Britain in 2006. Even its current majority of 167 cannot guarantee electoral victory in the future. Britain also was a Dominant-party system: this is different from a one-party system. A party is quite capable within the political structure of a state, to become dominant to such an extent that victory at elections is considered a formality. This was the case under the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. For 18 years (1979 to 1997), one party dominated politics in Britain. In theory, the Conservatives could have lost any election during these 18 years. But such was the disarray of the opposition parties - especially Labour - that electoral victory was all but guaranteed. The elections of the 1980's and 1990's were fought with competition from other parties - hence there can be no comparison with a one-party state. ...read more.

Conclusion

(b) Cultural-religious dimensions: During the beginning of 1980s the Democratic party became increasingly identified as the party of cultural-religious liberalism; pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights etc. However the Republican Party was a cultural-religious conservatism: anti-abortion, homophobic,anti-gun control,pro-prayer in the state schools. These cultural issues don't form a part in the party battle in the UK.i.e.Free votes and there is no party whipping and MPs allowed voting freely. The parties in America are weak organisations and 'party discipline' in the US congress is loose. In the US Congress a party unity (or a party line) vote is defined as a majority of one party voting against a majority of the others. The weak definition only a relatively small majority of votes in the Senate and the House of Representatives qualify as partisan votes. In the US, formal party 'membership' is unknown; simply register as Democrats or Republicans Democratic and Republicans parties have become more ideologically homogeneous. Therefore Republicans are more conservative than Democratic however southern republicans are more conservative than the Republicans from the Northeast and even though southern Democrats tend to be less liberal than Democrats in other parts of the country. ...read more.

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