Political scientists have increasingly viewed party activists as important catalysts for party behavior and change in American politics. Understanding the decisionmaking norms of these activists should help inform scholars' broader understanding of party performance. We examine the norms of party decisionmaking expressed by a select group of party activists: delegates to both parties' 2000 national conventions. We focus on how state contextual factors shape the norms these activists hold regarding the proper balance between ideological purity and the pragmatic pursuit of electoral success. The contextual factors we consider include the rules for delegate selection, the financial capacity of state parties, electoral competitiveness between the two parties, party polarization, and state political culture. We find evidence that norms respond as expected to some elements of state party context, but not to others.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Political Science and International Relations