Limitation #2: Political Parties are Not Think Tanks

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Political parties would like the citizenry to believe their prime function is to listen to the people and develop policies for the benefit of the population at large. To do this, the “grassroots” of the party are supposedly spending great amounts of volunteer time hashing out, debating, and formulating policy and then bringing this policy to the leadership of the party. The leadership then, supposedly, adopts this policy as its platform or perhaps provides further insight for more policy development from the grassroots.

Nothing is further from the truth! Nearly all of the party volunteers are spending most of their time towards electioneering purposes, not policy development. Although the leadership of any party must create a platform that will attract workers and donors for the election campaign, these party supporters really have not had much say about these policies. The only real policy development the average party worker can do is to support the party more or less as the leadership presents it. Therefore much of the knowledge, experience, and wisdom that these volunteers can bring to the party are never used.

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