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What are the reasons for the decline of political parties?

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Quick Answer

The decline of political parties is a direct result of voters becoming more concerned with individual issues than an overall party platform. It is also a result of parties losing their traditional meaning. The most vocal party members are often extremists who do not represent the majority of voters.

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In 2014, a Gallup poll reported that a record 42 percent of Americans identify as Independents. The decline in party affiliation is widespread in Europe and Latin America as well. Political scholars debate the reasons, but many agree that the informational age is partially responsible. Voters are more focused on individual causes than an all-encompassing worldview. Thus, they may agree with portion of the party's platform, but not identify with it as a whole.

Much of the blame for the decline of the party system can be placed on the parties themselves, which have lost their traditional values. The priorities that once defined Republicans and Democrats have been muddled by corruption, lobbying and divided party loyalties. At the same time, the most vocal members of the major parties may express extremist views that don't resonate with a centrist public.

Some scholars associate the decline with young voters. The age of party members is disproportionately higher than the general public, suggesting a lack of interest in party politics among youth.

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