Citizen's Political Power in the U.S.
Home   What is a  Political Party? 

The Constitutional Function of the Jury
    Our Glorious National Committees

All Voters Need Legislative Representation 
 Politicians Know what is Good for the Voter

Platforms: From the Voters Perspective

The Filibuster: More Apparent than Real
 You may not have the background to understand this article unless you read the following article.

 What is a  Political Party?  

This is not an easy read. This is my longest article.  If you think you will discover the keys to political power you won't! 

This article will hopefully give you some understanding of how political party professionals manage elections, and the politicians that run in them. This article ignores political management after the election.

The Hill & National Committees

Because of the nature of U.S. political parties, ballot labels mean very little.  There is no private membership organization that "owns" the ballot label. Assuming they meet the filing requirements each individual candidate can chose to run in a primary election under whatever major ballot label they choose.  There is no organization with an elected leader or an elected executive committee that not only writes the parties political  platform but can also punish a politician that fails to support his parties platform by expelling that politician from the party and not allowing that particular party member to run again under the parties ballot label.

No one organization or individual is responsible for the actions of the individual politicians of either of our two national parties.  

Of course both the political hopefuls and the seated incumbent politicians are organized in an individual sense by campaign donations. However since one politician cannot pass a law - much effort and money is expended attempting to organize
politicians to vote in groups.

If we define a political party as something that organizes a group of politicians then I think we could say that each of our two major ballot labels hides three slightly different organizations!

Two Hill Committees for each party.
The two major parties have two national Hill committees, controlled by their caucus leadership in each house of Congress, which work specifically to elect members of their own party to Congress.ref Wikipedia

The important thing to remember is that
the elected majority or minority leaders of the U.S. House and Senate are incumbents who were elected by their fellow seated incumbent politicians to help ensure their re-election! Hill committees are managed by incumbents.

These incumbent controlled Hill Committees collect money at the national level. I like to call it "one stop shopping" for the donors.  

The incumbents that control the Hill Committees organize politicians with cold hard cash.  I have been told (orally) that they do not fund candidates when they run in primary elections. However: they do provide guidelines about political issues that might limit future financial support if the primary candidate happens to win the primary election challenge.

I suspect that there is one function that these Hill Committees can perform that can benifit the voter. As I  wrote earlier - since one politician cannot pass a law  much effort and money is expended attempting to organize politicians to vote in groups. Well, the House leaders Newt Gingritch and Nancy Pelosi each managed to organise politicians around a political platform. The "Republican Contract with America,"  & "The Democrat's 100 hours plan." were both very popular with the voters.

Platforms: From the Voters Perspective

One National Committee for each Political Party

There is only one National Committee for each party The National Committee's original function was to run the Presidential nominating convention. Over time they have has become much more active in fundraising and election stratagy,
Since both National Committees are now also engaged in fundraising and election stratagy, I think it is obvious that they are essentially doing the same thing as the Hill Committees, collecting money at the national level and using it manage the next election with cold hard cash .   The only real differnce is a slightly more diverse  voting membership.

National Committee Voting Membership
Note : There are many more members  but I don't know if they are voting members..  I am just providing  enough information to indicate that the National Committees have  fewer, if any, incumbents as voting members.

The members of the Republican National Committee shall consist of one (1) national committeeman and one (1) national committeewoman.
In 1952, committee membership was expanded to include the state party chairs of states that voted Republican in the preceding presidential election, have a Republican majority in their congressional delegation (U.S. representatives and senators), or have Republican governors.

For the purposes of this rule and all other rules, "state" or "states" shall be taken to include American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands,

The Chairperson and the highest ranking officer of the opposite sex of each recognized state Democratic Party and of the Democratic Parties of Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa;

If you find it strange that both political parties don't just form one combined committee to use donations to organize the politicians of both the Senate an the House to sign onto a single platform - perhaps you should stop and think for a minute.  You can't outlaw either House of congress from electing leaders.  You can't stop those leaders from soliciting campaign donations.  Politicians work for their own self-interest first and foremost - not the interests of the voters.  The elected U.S. House incumbents elect leaders to get them re-elected no matter what the voters think.  The same is true for the Senate.  I doubt any of these Committees are enshrined in law. If they are I am unaware of it.

Now if the voting members of either National Committee and both the respective Hill Committees Hill wanted to organize their members around specific political issues - I am sure they could do it., Actually according to author Kevin Phillips - in the 1980's they did even more than that!  They apparently combined the Democratic & Republican National Committees!  He doesn't mention the Hill Committees, but my assumption is that the leaders of the Hil Committees signed onto the deal. It was obviously in their interest to do so.

Quotes from Arrogant Capital by Kevin Phillips
1994, Chapter V page 123

Aspects of Republican-Democratic rivalry seems as staged and as phony as American professional wrestling.  Since the 1980's bipartisanship in the United States frequently involves suspending electoral combat to orchestrate some outcome with no great public support, but a high priority among key elites. 

.... bipartisan commissions or summit meetings have been used to increase Social Security taxes on average Americans while the income tax rates of the rich were coming down and to raise the salaries of members of Congress.

The pay raise deal involved walking on so many political eggshells that both sides negotiated an extraordinary side bargain: that the Democratic and Republican National Committees would refuse to fund any congressional candidate who broke the bipartisan agreement and made the pay raise an issue!

In Conclusion
Private member based political parties in the U.S. were legal until around 1900. Most, if not all, other democratic nations continue to have private member based political parties.  

The EU apparently gives them constitutional protection. Article (7.6) of the Helsinki Accords
states - "Respect the right of individuals and groups  to  establish, in  full freedom, their  own  political  parties  or  other  political organizations  and  provide  such  political  parties  and  organizations  with the  necessary  legal guarantees  to  enable  them  to  compete  with  each   other  on a basis of  equal  treatment  before the  law and  by the authorities;"


Helsinki Accords & EU

, Hill committees

Full permission for non-profit distribution


Boss_Tweed, byThomas_Nast "The Brains"


Modern U.S. attempts at 
realistic political party

One elected politician can't pass a law. One elected politician can't even get a bill out of a committee! Obviously voters would tend to be much more interested in political platforms.

Politicians can organize themselves, or be organized by money, or be organized along party lines by the party leadership, or any combination of those methods.

Do  organized & specific political promises work?

Republican Contract with America
1994 midterm elections
Result Republicans gained control of both Houses of Congress

The Democrat's 100 hours plan
2006 midterm elections
Result Democrats gained control of both Houses of Congress

Republican Pledge to America
2010 midterm elections
Result Republicans gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives

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