The Dimensions to American Political Parties

1. The party-in-the-electorate are individuals who perceive themselves as party members; many voters have a party identification that guides and influences their votes.The concept of party identification in the United States refers to the long-term psychological attachment of the individual for a particular political party. Unlike many European political parties, American parties do not require dues or membership cards to distinguish members from nonmembers. To be a member of a party, one needs only to claim to be a member.

2. The party as an organization has a national office, a full-time staff, rules and bylaws, and budgets. Party activists keep the party running between elections and make its rules. Although American parties are loosely organized at the national, state, and local levels, the party organization pursues electoral victory.

3. The party-in-government consists of elected officials who call themselves members of the party (such as President and Congress). These leaders do not always agree on policy; but they are the main spokespersons of the party.