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2012 | 13 | 111-124

Article title

Think Tanks as a Complementary Element of the American Political System

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The U.S. political system strongly differs from the European solutions. The main American political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have a less hierarchical organizational structure, and are characterized by a lack of party discipline and a less ideological political program. Moreover, if we add to this indicators showing a decrease in public confi dence in political parties, for example a decline in voter turnout, a conviction that individuals have no infl uence on politics, or a sense of limited political choice, then the question appears whether there is an entity capable of replacing political parties. In this article I put forward the hypothesis that think tanks may serve as such a body. I defi ne, classify and characterize the activities of American think tanks. Even if I have proven in this article that American think tanks execute some functions of political parties, i.e. articulation of values, representation of social groups’ interests or recruitment of political elites, they still do not fulfi l the function of direct rivalry for power and ruling. Therefore, think tanks will still play a supplementary role towards political parties and the whole American political system.








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  • Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin


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