Political Parties (Political Process)


Missing in Iowa: a dose of Midwestern common sense?


In Meredith Wilson’s 1957 Broadway hit, The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill arrives in Iowa to sell the citizens of River City a boys’ band. Fifty years later, a handful of US Senators and other politicians descended on the state to sell them a Presidential election. Wilson’s story had a happy ending. Bags packed and skipping town, Hill falls in love with Marian Paroo, the town librarian, and sticks around to make good on his word. The politicos were out of Iowa faster than a marching band, stymied only by the country’s creaky air traffic control system which grounded them at Des Moines International for a few extra hours. (See, “Infrastructure Story,” following.) Moving on, they’ve since hit New Hampshire, Nevada, and soon several larger states.

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The ideas sound wonderful, but without the political machinery to make them happen, are they any more than make-believe?

  Mitt Romney speakingBarack Obama speakingJohn McCain speakingHillary Clinton speaking


Americans like a good fight, and the presidential primaries have certainly provided that. By now, voters have narrowed the field to 3-4 likely choices for America’s 45th President:

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Q&A: OR State Senator Avel Gordly


Concerned about growing partisanship in the legislature, Oregon lawmakers created a public commission to turn the mirror on themselves. Senator Avel Gordly, one of four legislators to serve on the commission, talks to PT about her experience, the commission's findings and the importance of relationships between policy-makers.

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Q&A: WY Senate President John Schiffer

Headshot of a smiling man

Wyoming State Senate President John Schiffer has seen one party-line vote in 12 years and no one calls him by name on the senate floor. Odd? Not in Wyoming, where legislators are coached from the beginning in procedure, decorum and the best ways to build solid relationships with colleagues and staff.

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Political Parties: A Party of Two?

Policy Today magazine cover showing three soldiers on patrol
February 1, 2006

The Framers never wanted them. Today, few can imagine a world without them. The plight of the two-party system in the United States. 

"The parties are more internally unified and polarized against each other than any other time since the late 19th, early 20th century," says Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

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Partisan Divide: A "One Party State"

Maryland capital building

Is Maryland a microcosm of effective representative democracy or the partisan divide?

On the surface, Maryland's democratic model wouldn't raise any eyebrows. One of the oldest functioning democracies on the planet, the most current version of the state's 1776 constitution was adopted all the way back in 1867.

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Q&A: Congressman Tom Cole

Policy Today magazine cover politician in black and white
August 9, 2006

If you're looking for a member of Congress with the academic credentials and practical experience to weigh in on the Hill's current political dynamic, Oklahoma's Tom Cole is a good bet. PT sat down with the former college history and politics professor to discuss the intersection of local and national interests in Washington

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