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The real purpose of political parties is to establish and promote democracy and democratic procedures within the country and also, internationally. The parties are fundamentally required to instate fair and just measures and allow people to use their right to choose the candidates who they deem eligible to run the country.
The nation gets a chance to participate in politics and government by making decisions about who should be elected and who should be voted for. The parties, in a way, restore power within the people and curb misuse of political authority.
Morgenthau has presented his views and ideology on political realism. He asserts six principles which hold true in the real world. There are many examples from American and international politics which can be used to back his philosophy.
Julander asserts that scholars believe that the political parties are vital drivers of democracy. According to him, the “political scientists” have reached a mutual consensus that democracy cannot be instated unless political parties are formed. He quoted, William Thomas, a congressman, to support his argument and wrote that “there is no other organization in American society that can replace the citizen-based political party as a vehicle for self-government”. His point was further strengthened by Gerald M. Pomper’s view that democracy is established by political parties. (p. 8)
Political parties perform numerous “functions including linking the state and civil society, influencing the executive, formulating public policy, engaging in political recruitment, structuring electoral choices and facilitating coalitions” (Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, 2006). Julander, however, makes a point that the importance of political parties can only be elaborated on in theory; they do need to be reformed or work towards eliminating “less democratic” elements before they can stabilize and fortify democracy in practice. (p. 9).
Hans Morgenthau’s Ideology of Politics and Political Parties
Morgenthau (1960) draws an analogy between politics and power and maintains that politics can be healthy within states or internationally depending on the interpretation and use of power. He stated that “politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power”. (Morgenthau & Thompson, 1993, p. 5).
Although Morgenthau emphasized more on international relations and politics, he had introduced six principles of political realism which are relevant to many theories of politics. The first principle was that politics are also “governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature”. This meant that in order to make society better through politics, one must comprehend the social values, “preferences” and norms. The second principle stresses that in the international arena, politics must supercede economic, religious and aesthetics aspects. The third one discusses that the “essence” of politics and power is “unaffected by” “time and place”. The fourth principle discusses that justice be done in a way that “liberty” of others is not sacrificed. An individual may want justice but the “state” has to ensure that it does not infringe on the rights of others. The fifth principles states that “Political realism” “distinguishes between truth and opinion” and what holds true for one nation, also holds true for others. The sixth one talks about “political realists” relating politics to power just as economists associate economy with wealth. (Morgenthau, 1978, p. 4-15).
Examples of Roles of Political Parties
Similarity can be drawn between the roles of political parties in America and Morgenthau’s principles. Julander maintains that if political parties function traditionally, the “influence” of “media” and “special interest” groups on public opinion would diminish greatly. He further emphasizes that parties “are more democratic than the media or special interest groups because the people can hold them accountable”. The Democrats and the Republicans present before the nation every November to hear their views and “criticism”(p. 9). The parties also “act as brokers, linking the government and the electorate” and “translate” social and cultural “preferences into a unified public policy” (p. 10). These parties also encourage participation of citizens in stabilizing and restoring democracy as they are free to decide and vote for the political candidates they deem as the right choice (p.11). In real politics, the parties do not misuse their power and try to curb “less democratic” facets of society. (p. 9).
Political are ideally suppose to work towards establishing and promoting democracy.
Morgenthau, H, & Thompson, K, 1993, Politics Among Nations, Brief Edition, McGraw Hill, New York.
Morgenthau, H, 1978, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Julander, Treg A., Democracy without Political Parties. 2007. Web.
Political Systems – Political Parties 2006, Governance and Social Development Resource Centre. 2007.