The Washington Times-Herald

Breaking News

Community News Network

March 19, 2013

Have political parties lost their purpose?

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Under the current campaign finance system, "it makes it very difficult for the parties to command both the ideological fervor and the money they rely on to deliver a reliable set of services," former DNC chairman Howard Dean said. He added that he could even foresee a day, somewhere down the line, where "the parties will dissolve."

The limits on party resources have also produced tension within the parties. Dean, for instance, had tried to pour money he had into a "50-state strategy" to build state political operations across the map in advance of the 2006 midterm elections. That sparked a feud with Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., then chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who wanted the money to go toward winning seats in swing congressional districts.

There remain, of course, some roles that only a national political party can play. Chief among them is running the process by which a presidential nominee is chosen. But even that has become harder to do.

In the 2012 campaign, for instance, Florida created havoc with the GOP campaign calendar by disregarding the national party dictates and moving its primary up into January.

More significantly, the bitter primary dragged on longer than it might have in earlier years. Billionaire benefactors kept the campaigns of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., on life support well after they would otherwise have folded.

"A long and blistering primary, where people are attacking one another and where the attacks sometimes are not on the mark but are creating an — you know, unfavorable impression — those things are not helpful," the ultimate GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told Fox News this month.

It has become impossible to rein in those outside forces and the millions they spend, but the RNC is hoping to do a better job of coordinating them. Even that will be a tall order, given the current tensions in the party — for instance, between strategist Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads GPS, representing the establishment, and the insurgents of the tea party, along with single-issue groups such as Club for Growth.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014