How do party platforms influence public policy?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Political party platforms influence public policy in many ways.  First, the party platform reflects (or should reflect) the will of the majority of members in the party.  The platform states positions on various issues which affect the people, and therefore, it may affect public policy. Because these platform ideas reflect the majority of the party's members, these ideas could become policy if the party wins the election.  Second, when a party wins an election, there is an expectation to carry out and implement the ideas expressed in the party platform. Failure to do so could alienate voters, especially moderate and independent voters, in the next election cycle. Thus, the ideas in the platform may become public policy because the winning party would be pushing for their passage and/or implementation. Finally, party platforms influence public policy because the ideas in the platform need to be ones which will help elect the party's candidates. If a party takes extreme positions, this may diminish their opportunity for victory in the election. Also, the other political parties may look at one party's platform and modify their position on an issue important to the American people. The development of a political party's platform is very important because it may impact public policy for years to come.