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Walter J. Stone, Ronald B. Rapoport, and Monique B. Schneider, "Party Members in a Three Party Election: Major-Party and Reform Activism in the 1996 American Presidential Election," Party Politics, 10 (July 2004), 445-469.

First Paragraph:
Students of political parties in developed democracies have wrestled for decades with the problem of understanding the relationship between democracy and political parties (Michels, 1962; Ostrogorski, 1902). A variety of issues emerge in assessing this question, including whether and how democratic processes within the parties relate to the parties' ability to foster competitive elections, how the interests of ordinary voters relate to those of activists and office holders, and how the parties facilitate responsiveness to change in the larger polity. The interests of party activists, whether expressed through the formal processes of membership participation or voting in primaries or other candidate nomination processes, provide important clues about broader mechanisms of electoral competition and representation (Epstein, 1980; Ware, 1979).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Contributors' demographic characteristics in comparison to the general public, 1996
Table 2. Contributors' activity for their party's presidential campaign, 1996
Table 3. Contributors' issue positions, 1996 (mean positions)
Table 4. Contributors' evaluations of presidential candidate and party, 1996 (mean evaluations)
Table 5. Regressions of relative party activity scores on candidate and party evaluations by party, 1996
Table 6. Regressions of relative party activity scores on issue positions, 1996
Table 7. Mean levels of trust among party contributors, 1996
Table 8. Personal and governmental trust regressed on campaign activism, 1996
Table 9. Regression analysis of campaign activism in three US parties, 1996
Table 10. Mean major-party campaign activity levels among reform contributors, 1996-2000
Table 11. Regressions of 2000 Republican and Democratic campaign activism, Reform contributors only

First Paragraph of Concllusion:
The American party system lacks many of the attributes one finds in other developed democracies. Compared with parties in most other Western democracies, the American parties are undisciplined, fragmented, highly permeable, and only loosely capable of making coherent policy commitments. The American parties also lack formal members. Instead of members, the parties make do with disparate decision mechanisms ranging from direct primary elections to determine the party's nominee, to local caucuses and committees, to state policy and nominating conventions, to national party offices, national conventions, and campaign committees. While the parties lack formal members, they do conduct direct-mail solicitations, which register a kind of commitment to the party and predisposition toward further involvement on its behalf that is analogous to formal party membership.