Organizational structure of political parties

Written by colin rowe
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  • Introduction

    Organizational structure of political parties

    Despite ideological differences, the two main political parties in the United States have a very similar basic organizational structure. Independent parties operate on a different level due to restraints and the issues on which they run. Each party, no matter which it is, has a strict structure to deal with all levels of national and state politics.

    The Whitehouse in Washington, D.C. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    National Committee

    The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are the bodies in charge of developing, promoting and funding the campaigns for their respective parties on a national level. The committees also are responsible for organising the national conventions, at which each party’s nominee for president is officially chosen and announced. Independent or third parties generally have no national structure and operate on a state level, focusing on state-level campaigns on a single issue, such as abortion, gun control and state independence.

    The national committees deal with national campaigning. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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    State Party

    Every U.S. state has a committee to oversee local issues surrounding a political party. The activities for the state parties include coordinating campaigns, overseeing local conventions and sometimes running primaries and caucuses. The larger independent parties, such as the Constitution Party, Libertarian Party and Green Party, have a state organisation to deal with similar issues. Due to their lack of a national structure, however, they have more influence over the party’s candidate selection and agenda. It is not unusual for smaller independent parties to run for office in just one state.

    Every state has its own political party infrastructure. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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    Each party also has a congressional committee--the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Their roles are also very similar and involve organising, assisting and fund raising for the party’s candidates seeking election to the House of Representatives. The DCCC and the NRCC also play an important role in selecting which candidate stands for what seat.

    Congress sits on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) deal with the same issues as the DCCC and the RNCC but with regard to the Senate instead of the House.

    The Senate meets in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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    State governors of both parties are represented by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and the Republican Governors Association (RGA). The roles of the associations are similar to those of the congressional and senatorial committees.

    Governors have no national power but are represented on a countrywide level. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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    The mayors of large cities are represented by the National Conference of Democratic Mayors (NCDM) and the Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO), which all fall under the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The role of the NCDM and RMLO is to coordinate with the state and national party to raise funds, select candidates and promote issues that its mayors face.

    Mayors of major cities are represented on a national level. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

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