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Suggested Reading

Black, Earl, and Merle Black. The Rise of Southern Republicans. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

A study of the major shift in party alignment over the last few decades: the move of white southerners from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

Green, John C., and Daniel Shea, eds. The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary Parties. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1996.

A number of top-notch scholars analyze the changing roles of the parties as the parties adapt to open-nomination systems and campaign finance laws.

Greenberg, Stanley B. The Two Americas: Our Current Political Deadlock and How to Break It. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2004.

Greenberg studies the division of America into red states and blue states.

Keith, Bruce E., et al. The Myth of the Independent Voter. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

The authors argue that the rise in independent voters is an illusion because most so-called independents behave exactly like party loyalists.

Nader, Ralph. Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

Nader recounts his iconoclastic run as the Green Party nominee in 2000, including his role as a spoiler.

Rosenstone, Steven J., Roy L. Behr, and Edward H. Lazarus. Third Parties in America. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1996.

An excellent account of the history and impact of third parties.

Sundquist, James L. Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States. Revised ed. Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1983.

One of the classic works on realignment. Sundquist provides ample detail in describing the history of party shifts.

Useful Websites


The Democratic National Committee’s site offers information and links to candidates and local organizations. The site also contains the Democratic Party platform.


The web site of the Green Party, a fairly new but prominent third party.


The Libertarian Party is the most successful third party in the United States.


The National Political Index has extensive links to political parties, both major and minor.


A great site with information about the major parties and about 50 third parties active in the United States.


The Republican National Committee’s site offers information and links to candidates and local organizations. The site also contains the Republican Party platform.

Popular pages: Political Parties