Party Structure Of United States And Great Britain Comparing the Party Structure of the United States and Great Britain When a decision on foreign policy has to be made, looking carefully about the nations’ party is especially important. Not just on the basis of their clientele, their programmes and ideology but also on their structural characteristics. In this paper, I would like to focus on comparing the two super powers which are the United States and Great Britain. Both parties of the United States and Great Britain that have established themselves successfully within the party system , and which have managed to win seats at elections , possess three levels of organizational structure. First , they obviously have some sort of legislative structure ; indeed, this was the sole level of organizational structure which the earliest parties possessed. The parliamentary party will normally have a leader or chairman , some form of business manager or whip, and , if sufficiently large to warrant it, a pattern of commitees, many of which will be related to the policy sectors with which the legislature concerns itself.
Second, parties normally have a national organization, with a head office and necessary staff, a national party leader ( who may or may not also be the leader of the parliamentary party), an executive committee to manage the party on a day-to-day basis, and a periodic party congress which generally is recognized as the sovereign authority of the party , at least in formal terms. Third, parties possess a local or constituency level of organization; the unit to which members are recruited . This is normally a geographic unit, such as town or a suburb. Te local party may be linked to the national party through intermediate levels of state parties in the USA, and area organizations in Britain. Patterns of organization at the level of the legislature are different in these countries .
The congressional parties in the United States have strong legislative structures , consisting of elected leaders of each party in both House of Congress, whips to organize and coordinate party activity , and party meetings related to the very influential legislative and procedural committees of Congress. US government has a presidential and federal form. The structure of the American party is that of a loose federation of national and state agency. The strength and the primary legal control of the sysem lie in the fifty states , each possessing its own party government and its own electorate. Campaigns must be waged and won in enough individual state to capture the presidency by a majority vote of electoral college. In order to ensure controll of Congress, a sufficient number of votes mut be obtained within each state to elect a majority of the House of Representitives and the Senate.
The parliamentary parties of the Great Britain, which are different from the presidential and federal parties in US, are led by the Prime Minister (the party in power) and the leader of the opposition for the chief opposition party. The structure of British parties is relatively simple in comparison with that of parties in the US. British parties are not called upon to cope with fifty states parties or to compete periodically in a vast nationwide election to select an executive like parties in the US. There are only three elective offices in the UK. The national office filled by popular vote is that of member of parliament; in local government, county and borough councilors are elected. There are fewer elections. The small size and pactness of the territory minimize functional and sectional political differences.
Dicipline, relating both to issues and to the behavior of the party representitives, is more specially defined and enforced than it is in the US. The leader of the House of Commons act as business manager for the for the governing party, aided by the Chief Whip and assistant whips; the opposition parties also have their whips for coordination purposes . The Conservative back bench MPs have a party committee: the 1922 committee, to discuss policy and to act as a channel of collective communication to the government. The labor party meets as the ‘parliamentary party’ which, in opposition, elects a committee from which the Leader of the party chooses his policy spokesmen. The smaller parties make do with the leaders and whips, not requiring more complex arrangemnts, though the Liberals and Social Democrats allocate responsibilities relating to specific policy sectors to their MPs . Similar, though much looser , party structures operate in the House of Lords. (qtd.in Rose) In the US, at the head of the Democratic party stands the Democratic National Committee , composed of representitives of fifty state committees and each of territories , leaders of the Democratic Governor’s conference, party leaders in the United States Senate and house of Representitives, and appointees representing Democratic voters on a national scale.
The Republican party uses a formula calling for one man and one women from each state and territory , plus the state chairmen from each state which the party has won a majority of the state delegation to each house of congress, a gubernatorial victory, or the last presidential election. Thus the membership of the Republican National Committee may vary. Although nominally elected by the national party convention, which meets every four years to nominate presidential and vice-presidential candidates, the members of the national committee are selected in several different ways; by state party primaries, state conventions, or appointment by the national chairperson. Since a national cmmittee is unwiedly in size, its work is accomplished through an executive committee and a national chairperson chosen by the party’s nominee for president. The president is the titular head of his party until a sucessor is nominated.
The defeated party often lacks an official spokesmen although the national chairperson continues to run the party organization through the national committee. The national committee meets to discuss sragety, policies, and issues in congressional electional years. It is also instrumental in organizing the convention during predential election years. Individual members maintain constant political contact with the state organizations. The selection of national chairperson is ratified by the national committee ; he or she appoints the executive committee, establishes a party headquarters, and manages the presidential campaign. Both national parties maintain senatorial and congressional campaign committees, whose principle function is to assist members of congress or aspirants to campaign in their respective districts.
In British party in a parliamentary system, it is unique that MPs is independent from the official party organization. Members of the parliament designate their own party leader. If the party in power forms the government, the organization, with its own party chairman, has no control over the parliamentary party. Each party does hold an annual conference made up of delegates elected by the constituency organizations. The conference listens to speeches of leaders in and out of parliament, passes resolutions on party policy, and elects a National Executive Committee. It acts briefly as a sounding board of testing partisan positions on public policy and as a showcase for exhibiting party talent, and it presents an opportunity to rally party support.
(qtd. in Rodee) Organization of parties outside the legislature also varies with the type of political system . In federal systems of USA, the provincial (Land or State)party is very influential compared to the national party organization The strong seperation of powers , geographical diversity, and absence of ideological parties in the USA have also influenced the cotinuity and cohesion of national parties; in effect, only every four years of the presidential nominating conversation can parties be percieved as demonstrating any national headquaters (and perhaps regional offices as well) to coordinat and manage the party; national executive commitees, perhaps also together with some smaller form of praesidium, to take responsibilities for party decision making; and a party congress to act as a ‘parliament’ for the party and, usually, to serve as the soverign authority of the party. The third , constituency or local , level of party structure exhibits the most similarity across countries and among different parties. The local level of the organization is concerned with membership recruitment, raising money for party funs, selecting candidates, and organizing for election campaigning.
In general, constituency orfanizations play a more active political role in left-wing parties than in right-wing parties, and parties, and in US political system, where there are larger opportunities for electing or nominating party representitives to public bodies, than in UK where candidate selection is confined to parliamentary local authority. Finally, the important aspect of party organization concerns the raising of the funds for party actiivities. Here again there are some important contrasts. In the USA, recent legislation has introduced a degree of public subsidy for parties and their candidates in presidential campaigns, by which grants from the public purse are related to amounts raised by donations. Restrictions have been placed upon the amounts of money that can be donated to candidates. British parties, on the other side, depend upon membership suscription and donation ; the Conservatives rely on the generousity of certain business companies, Labour on its large affiliated trade-union membership and extra donations from member-unions .
Changes in trade-union legislation will make it less simple for unions to decide to affiliate to political parties , and hence may diminish the financial support which labour recieves from trade unions. (qtd. in Colin) The presidential regime of the US and the parliamentary regime of the UK takes different form in their party states as the above analyses. The function differ, and they operate different constitutional position. Comparing parties would be a dominant element when we compare the political systems of the countries. And understanding the superpowers’ political system is crutial when a country makes a decision on foreign policy. Political Issues.