The American Political Science Association (APSA) and Protect Democracy
partnered to create the APSA Presidential Task Force on Political Parties because they recognized the real and serious threat of democratic backsliding and the contributing role political parties play in that decline and, potentially, in democratic renewal. In aggregating research around American political parties, More than Red and Blue
diagnoses the sources of the challenges that face our democracy, the characteristics of political parties that exacerbate those vulnerabilities, and considerations for reform of our current system for the good of democracy.
More than Red and Blue makes a landmark contribution to public debate — APSA has not published a major report on American parties and partisanship since 1950. “Ideally, political parties provide channels for representation of views and assist candidates and voters in organizing around issues. They help bring people from disparate points of view together for a common purpose and hold elected officials accountable. And perhaps most importantly, parties govern. But our parties do not appear to be performing these functions well. The question is–why not? And what can be done to rectify this?” explained John Ishiyama, who served as APSA’s President from 2021-2022.
The analysis, views, and conclusions contained herein reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the American Political Science Association or Protect Democracy.
The ultimate purpose of this Task Force is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which political parties can be responsible promoters of democracy, to prevent a decline into a more authoritarian form of government. The Task Force will achieve this goal by highlighting insights rooted in the academic literature that can inform policy development and strategy.
The idea for this task force was the result of two separate but parallel sets of conversations—one that began during my presidency of APSA, and one that preceded it. Both were motivated by a profound concern with the state of democracy not only in the United States, but in the world. More importantly, we were all concerned with the lamentable role our political parties have played in undermining democracy, rather than strengthening it. The first conversation was with David Lublin, who mentioned to me that the time was right for APSA to issue some kind of report about the state of our democracy—something akin to the famous 1950 report of APSA’s Committee on Political Parties, “Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System.”