chapter  13
28 Pages

Parties in Congress and State Legislatures

Republicans in Congress have become more deeply and consistently conservative, and Democrats have become more consistently liberal. As a result, each party has a stronger motive to keep the other party from passing bills. In a political system without a separation of powers—a parliamentary regime, such as that of Great Britain—the party that wins a majority of legislative seats becomes the governing party, and its leader becomes the head of government. The members of each legislative party come together in meetings to select their party's leaders. Each party creates its own leadership structure in each house of Congress; the individual leaders are elected by the entire party membership of the chamber. As in Congress, the legislative parties organize the legislatures in almost every state. The power of the legislative parties varies, however, depending in part on the legislature's rules and on the personal skills and resources of the party leaders.