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The National Parties: Organization & Structure

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Nowaczyk
The following lesson will cover the structure and organization of the Democratic and Republican parties at the national level. A short quiz will follow to check your understanding.

How Are National Parties Structured?

Who doesn't love a good party? Parties are the place to be and have fun, and for some, the bigger the party the better.

While some may not consider politics a party-like atmosphere, our political parties, or groups of people who organize to win elections, operate the government, and determine public policy, do have different geographic levels where important things happen. The broadest level is the national level, and it definitely is the place to be.

Our nation has two major political parties, the Democratic and Republican parties. Both of these parties have a national party level group that more or less oversees the state and local party levels. While the national party level doesn't strictly control the state and local party levels, it does, however, establish the ideals and positions that all levels of the party supports. This is called the party platform.

How Are National Parties Organized

Just as there are different parts that make up a political party, there are also many parts that go into creating the national party level for both the Democratic and Republican parties. All of these parts work together like a machine to ensure that the people who a political party supports are elected to political office and so that each party can pass laws that are in line with its party platform.

One of the most important parts of the national party organization is the national convention. The national convention is a meeting that is held every four years by each major party to select presidential and vice presidential candidates, to write a platform, to choose a national committee, and to conduct party business. Earlier we had said that parties are the place to be and the bigger the party the better.

Well, in politics, 'parties' don't get much bigger than the national convention.

National Committee & Chairperson Election

At the national convention, each of the parties formally chooses a national standing committee, elected by the individual state party levels. The national committee directs and coordinates party activities during the four years in between national conventions. National committees are typically comprised of men and women from each state as well as other state-level party leaders, such as governors, mayors, and members of Congress.

For example, one of the activities that the national committee has is to ratify the choice of a national chairperson. The national chairperson is the spokesperson for the entire party.

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