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Political parties are weak in the US for two main reasons.
First, they are weak because we have primary elections. In a primary election, candidates only have to appeal to voters. They do not have to keep in the good graces of the actual party establishment.
Second, political parties are weak because of the strength of interest groups. Parties try to bring together big coalitions that can agree over a broad range of issues. This calls for compromises. Interest groups insist on getting their way on specific issues. This works against compromise and makes it harder for party coalitions to stay together.
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