RWAP: Joseph Warren
At some times in American history, national political parties incorporate heterogeneous geographic and ideological constituencies (like Northern and Southern Democrats in the mid-twentieth century), while at other times, political parties are ideologically unified and geographically concentrated. We refer to the latter type of party alignment as a "sectional'' alignment. We argue that the federal nature of the American party system, in which state parties hold an important degree of ideological flexibility, plays a key role in determining the conditions under which national parties divide along a sectional ideological cleavage. We present a formal model showing different ways in which sectional issue cleavages are incorporated into the party system.