Talk:Party system

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 Definition The set of political parties, voter alignments, and electoral conventions that for a time dominate a country's electoral process [d] [e]

all this text and bibliog is by RJensen

Is it complete? Its scope seems somewhat parochial. Nick Gardner 05:45, 24 November 2007 (CST)

It's complete for the U.S. I would encourage more cosmopolitan scholars to cover the rest of the world. Richard Jensen 06:15, 24 November 2007 (CST)
Hmm, either we should rename this article to be focused on the USA or it needs to be restructured completely for the world. I say this because the separate headings mean nothing to me in comparative politics [this is because I know nothing about US politics, as well]. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:13, 24 November 2007 (CST)
we have in place the outline for Canada and Japan, as well as a good bibliog for the rest of the world. Authors: start your wordprocessors! Richard Jensen 08:42, 24 November 2007 (CST)

Should there not be some material that is not country-specific? For example, what about the different political consequences of two-party, multi-party and dominant-party systems, the effect of proportional representation, Duverger's law and all that? Or should that be in another article? Nick Gardner 09:11, 24 November 2007 (CST)

yes that should be included (it's in the bibliography with Lipset and Sartori) Richard Jensen 09:42, 24 November 2007 (CST)

Richard: I have made a start on introducing that material by inserting a "definitions" paragraph, but I have run into trouble over inconsistency with the opening statement.

If you agree. I will get over that problem by substituting the following opening statement:

  • Party systems determine the extent to which individual political parties participate in government. Their formation and behavior are influenced by the electoral systems in operation and by the means that they adopt for funding, information, and selection of candidates and office holders. In American history, party systems have been separated by Realigning elections or "critical elections" each of which destroyed an existing system and created a new one.

What do you think? Nick Gardner 08:56, 27 November 2007 (CST)

    • try this: "Party systems comprises the parties that compete for power and their voting base and method of selecting issues and leaders; it also includes the rules, organizational methods, communication systems, and campaign techniques used to contest elections. In American history, party systems have been separated by Realigning elections or "critical elections" each of which destroyed an existing system and created a new one." Richard Jensen 09:50, 27 November 2007 (CST)
In proposing something totally different, you have not explained your objection to my proposal. I should perhaps have explained that the problem that prompted me to suggest a different opening statement was that the existing statement was so broad as to include matters that go so far beyond the conventional topic of party systems as to encompass large chunks of other political theory. That makes almost impossible to introduce the missing material without bringing in a great deal of other material that would normally be covered elsewhere. Unless you are prepared to supply the necessary drafting, why not let others determine the scope of the article? Nick Gardner 16:34, 27 November 2007 (CST)
We're talking I guess about the opening sentence; the differences are not that great and I don't see a problem there. What the article needs: 1) coverage of various counties and 2) discussion of general theoretical models (Dahl, Sartori, Michels, Lipset, etc> Richard Jensen 16:42, 27 November 2007 (CST)
In case you are right about what is needed, I shall withdraw my contribution so as to leave the article open for contributions from people who understand what you are talking about.

Nick Gardner 02:09, 28 November 2007 (CST)

This should live at party system (singular, lower case). Cf. political party. --Larry Sanger 11:06, 28 November 2007 (CST)

Agreed. Richard Jensen 12:08, 28 November 2007 (CST)


I really need to be convinced that Japan had any party system in the sense of the West, not two. The LDP has really been the only viable party in name, and, in practice, the Japanese power system is based on other power groupings. See, for example, Wolferen's The Enigma of Japanese Power.

If, I suppose, one wants to talk about power structures, why not the pre-WWII blocs such as the Control Faction or the Black Dragon Society? Howard C. Berkowitz 01:31, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm guessing the Japan party system reference is from books like Ronald Hrebenar, Japan's New Party System (Westview Press, 2000), which is explicit in using a "first party system," "second party system" scheme. Shamira Gelbman 04:06, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Early in the Occupation, it was said that the Japanese would be delighted with their Constitution as soon as it was translated into their language by MacArthur's staff. While I have not read Hrebenar, I have read a substantial amount of Japanese history and politics, and I find it very difficult to reconcile their "parties" with Western parties.
Yes, one can draw an analogy between something like the Tammany or Daly machines and the "Tanaka corps", but — how shall I put it? — these are influence- and favor-trading far more than one sees even in U.S. urban machines. Further making the comparison difficult is the extremely strong role of the Japanese civil service; the political appointee Ministers change frequently and have very little power in comparison with the career Vice-Minister.
Is Hrebenar likely to be trying to coerce a model onto a country/culture where it doesn't fit? Japan may have some of the forms of Western democracy, but it really isn't one. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:39, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
It's not just Hrebenar; to my understanding, Japan is (and has long been) frequently incorporated into broadly comparative studies of party systems and parliamentary politics. Shamira Gelbman 19:14, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
That said, I think the conversation we're having here suggests that the article should be as clear as possible that "party system" is primarily a political science "term of art" and that the individual country discussions should be framed in terms of political scientists' application of the term rather than authoritative assessments as to whether and when party systems have emerged. Shamira Gelbman 19:20, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
As a term of art, I suppose so. To take a politician rather than a political scientist, Lincoln once asked "if you call a horse's tail a leg, how many legs has a horse?"
"Four." Calling a tail a leg does not make it one. While I will agree the Liberal Democratic Party is more of a party than than the Communist Party of Vietnam, Japan is, from the parliamentary standpoint, a one-party state. There is jockeying in terms of internal party leadership, but so is there in formal one-party states. For me to consider something a real party, I'd expect it to have competition, either in having to form a parliamentary coalition, or having been replaced. This has never happened in Japan. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:17, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

References and Deep Web

As much as possible, it would be nice if the references, be they political science journals or not, be accessible other than through paid links.

A definition is still needed, but she who writes it is a braver woman than I, Gunga Din. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:05, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I put up a definition; I may change it up a bit later. Sticking to freely accessible web references will probably be more of a challenge given the nature of the term. Shamira Gelbman 21:31, 24 June 2009 (UTC)