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Ambition in AmericaPolitical Power and the Collapse of Citizenship$
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Jeffrey A. Becker

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145044

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145044.001.0001

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Keeping Ambition Accountable

Keeping Ambition Accountable

A Place for Political Parties

Chapter:
(p.123) 6 Keeping Ambition Accountable
Source:
Ambition in America
Author(s):

Jeffrey A. Becker

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813145044.003.0007

This chapter argues that many citizens now regard political forms of party associations and nominating conventions that once linked everyday citizens with local, state, and national political organizations and institutions of representative self-government as irrelevant, or a nuisance. Because of this shift away from established political connections, the candidate centered (and sponsored) nomination process weakens enduring connections between candidates and voting citizens, connections that provide continuity and popular control over public policy issues lasting beyond one or two election cycles. This shift, although appearing to foster a more direct connection between the people and the president, actually undermines a deeper trust between elected officials and their constituents, a trust necessary for strengthening and sustaining democratic self-government. This chapter argues that, despite their limitations, a reimaged form of political parties can repair trust between people ambitious for public office and citizens.

Keywords:   ambition, political parties, representation, informal party organizations, trust, citizens

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