ABSTRACT

The Democrats and the Republicans have done a lot to shape American politics over time. Political parties promote public policies in response to citizens’ beliefs, demands, and fears. Media coverage in recent years has focused a great deal on the changing political attitudes of white voters without a college degree. Between 2010 and 2018, whites without college degrees grew from 50 to 59 percent of Republican voters, while whites who did finish college fell from 40 to 29 percent of Republican voters. American political institutions differ in many ways from those of most other democracies. Most democratic nations do not divide governmental powers so insistently among different branches and levels of government. Events in the larger society also affect politics at a particular time. A fundamental feature of the American parties is that the three party sectors are bound together only loosely.