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Final Report and Background Papers 

Allerion House, Monticello, Illinois 
December 8-10, 1959 

Edited by Lois M. Pelekoudas 


MARCH, 1960 







J. Austin Ranney 13 

Clarence A. Berdahl 18 


Samuel K. Gove 29 


Lester \V. Milbrath 40 


Bruce B. Mason 51 


J. H. Bindley 58 


Clayton D. Ford 65 


Thomas W. Tearney 71 





Much discussion has taken place recently among journalists, politicians, 
and political scientists about the functions of political parties in the Ameri- 
can governmental system and about the desirability of strengthening the 
parties to make them more efficient vehicles for carrying out their job in 
our democratic society. There has been general agreement not only that a 
competitive, two-party system is desirable in our democracy, but that it is 
indeed almost necessary. 

Because parties are so important in Illinois, and because little informa- 
tion about them is available, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 
in cooperation with the Illinois Citizenship Clearing House, sponsored an 
Assembly on Illinois Political Parties, in order to come to grips with some 
of the problems facing the state parties. An attempt was made to bring 
together people representing both parties and all geographical areas of the 
state, as well as to provide a balance between types of people interested in 
political parties — politicians, government officials, interest group repre- 
sentatives, etc. The participants were divided into three round-table sections 
to discuss the following problems, among others: legal regulation of the 
parties, competition between the parties, financing of the parties, participa- 
tion in politics, and the function of the non-party or auxiliary organizations 
in the political system. During their discussions, the participants contributed 
significantly to a better understanding of the Illinois parties, their activities 
and their problems. After the round-table discussions, a final general session 
was held in which the final report, or findings, of the Assembly was drafted. 
In this volume are presented the findings of the conference, representing in 
all cases the thinking of a majority of the participants, and the background 
papers used as a basis for the discussions in which the findings were 

Background Papers 

Each of the eight background papers was written by a person familiar 
with the topic, and each was intended not as an intensive study of some 
aspect of party stnicture or activity, but rather as a problem paper to facili- 
tate discussion by the conference participants. 

Mr. Ranney has defined the concept of party responsibility as a model, 
or a set of ideas about how a party should perform. Without considering 
the desirability of party responsibility, he has presented the responsible- 

parties model as a framework in which Illinois political parties can be 

Mr. Tearney and Mr. Ford have written about the structure of the 
Democratic and Republican parties in Illinois, noting both the statutory, 
formal organization and the more informal aspects of party structure. 

Mr. Mason has examined problems arising from the existence of three 
kinds of extra-party organization: the group created by party leadership 
to meet certain specific needs; the intellectually-oriented group set up either 
with or without party encouragement as a research and policy-suggesting 
agency; and the group clearly and expressly in competition for actual leader- 
ship of the party. He asked, do the organizations established by the party 
serve their purpose adequately, can intellectually-oriented groups function 
except as critics of the opposition party, and what problems in party struc- 
ture and leadership are shown by the existence of an extra-party group 
frankly competing for party control? 

Mr. Gove, in his study of inter-party competition, has sought to point 
out what kind of competition between the parties actually exists in elections 
on the state and local level in Illinois. He has considered the effect of 
cumulative voting on inter-party competition and has discussed nonpartisan 
elections and their relationship to party competition. 

Mr. Milbrath has discussed party finance and cited as one main problem 
public apathy to party financial needs. He has considered how much cam- 
paigns cost, how money is raised and from whom, and what effects different 
kinds of regulatory laws may have on party finances. 

Mr. Berdahl was concerned mainly with legislation controlling primaries 
in his discussion of legal regulation of parties, and he pointed out particu- 
larly the problems arising from cumulative voting and the loose definition 
of party membership. 

Mr. Bindley's discussion of political participation deals with the political 
activities of organized groups (business, labor, agriculture, etc.), primarih 
those activities designed to stimulate group members to take an active role 
in party affairs, and asks, what will be the total effect of these programs? 


Assisting in the planning of the Assembly was an acl\-isory committee 
consisting of Stanley H. Guyer, state chairman of the Republican party; 
James A. Ronan, state chairman of the Democratic party: Richard Nelson 
of Inland Steel Company; Samuel W. Witwer of Wilkinson. Witwer and 
Moran, a law firm; Professor Clarence A. Berdahl, Southern Illinois Uni- 
versity; Professor J. H. Bindley, Knox College; and Professor Bruce B. 
Mason, director of the Illinois Citizenship Clearing House. The assistance 
of these people has been greatly appreciated. 

Also contributing to the success of this endeavor ^vere the authors of 
the background papers, who are identified in the list of authors near the end 
of this volume. 

To the chairmen of the various panels — Professor Morton Grodzins of 
the University of Chicago, Professor John A. Kinneman of Illinois State 
Normal University, and Professor Clarence A. Berdahl of Southern Illinois 
University — must go most of the credit for channeling the conference dis- 
cussions and bringing out the final findings. Also thanks should go to the 
reporters of the panel sessions • — Professor Eric H. Olson of Carthage Col- 
lege, Professor Marcy G. Bodine of Western Illinois Uni\ersity, and Mrs. 
Lois Pelekoudas of the University of Illinois — who recorded the discussions 
of the panels. 



Agreeing that informed, militant, and effective participation 
in party politics is critical to American democratic life, the par- 
ticipants in the Assembly on Illinois Political Parties, meeting at 
Robert Allerton Park, Monticello, Illinois, December 8-10, 1959, 
approved this summary of their findings at the conclusion of 
their discussions. Since there were dissents on particular points, 
it should not be assumed that every participant subscribed to 
every detail of the statements contained herein. 

Among the major causes of failure to participate in partisan 
politics are the following : ( 1 ) the stigma attached to politics 
and politicians has led to an overemphasis on nonpartisanship ; 
( 2 ) there is widespread ignorance of party machinery and opera- 
tions; (3) party organizations often refuse to accept responsibility 
for local issues and to formulate programs consistent with com- 
munity needs; and (4) in some instances the party organization 
fails to use the full potential within the party. To the extent 
that business, labor, and other groups seek to overcome these 
causes, their efforts should be supported. 


The prestige and authority of the state central committees 
should be enhanced. The state chairmen should continue to be 
picked by the respective committees from their membership. 

The county chairmen's associations should be encouraged as 
voluntary organizations, but need not be accorded statutory 

recognition. The party organization should provide for the neces- 
sary and legitimate expenses of county chairmen. 


Party-sponsored or party-affiliated agencies which concern 
themseh^es with recruiting new members, generating enthusiasm, 
getting out the party vote, developing new ideas, and providing 
information and research services are commended. 


A formal system of slate-making is generally desirable. On 
the state level, official slate-making should be made compulsory. 
However, clear and explicit public statements explaining the 
slate-making process should accompany the announcement of 
the slate. Criteria for slate-makers and methods of slate-making 
need to be established, and the representative character of slate- 
making committees should be improved, perhaps by use of the 
state central committee as the slate-making agency. 

The legislature should pass permissive legislation allowing 
county committees to adopt official systems of slate-making. 

The primary should be preserved and an opportunity pro- 
vided for other candidates to run against the slate in order that 
the party rank and file may be the ultimate decision-maker as 
to the party's role on public issues and candidates. 

The right to \ote in a party's primary should be limited to 
those who publicly declare their adherence to that party; the 
present Illinois closed primary meets this requirement. Not only 
should efforts to weaken the present system be resisted, but a 
system of formal party membership enrollment should be 


Cumulative voting has worked efTectively to insure minority 
representation in the Illinois House of Representatives. Cumula- 

tive voting involves technical problems and may lead to intra- 
party friction and an occasional lessening of inter-party competi- 
tion. However, in the absence of a more desirable substitute 
technique, the system should be continued. 


Intra-party contests are not substitutes for inter-party con- 
tests. Inter-party competition should therefore be encouraged, 
and partisanship at the local level should not be discouraged. 


Efforts should be directed to maximizing the number of finan- 
cial contributors to parties and candidates. As well as providing 
funds, contributions encourage psychological identification with 
party. To a wider extent than at present, local party organiza- 
tions should secure financial support from their home bases. 

Tax credits (with a nominal top limit) are recommended to 
encourage more people to contribute to candidates and parties. 
Campaign expenditures of candidates should be made tax de- 
ductible to a reasonable amount. 

The public has a proper and vital interest in the source of the 
campaign contributions to and the expenditures of candidates 
and political parties. Unable to agree on- any detail, other than 
that campaign contributions of corporations and labor unions 
should be subject to the same regulations, the Assembly recom- 
mends further and continued study looking toward appropriate 
lesrislation in this field. 




The concept of party responsibility is a model — a body of ideas about 
the role political parties should perform in a modern democratic government 
and about how they must organize and operate in order to perform this 
role. Being a model, it is not an exact description of any actual party sys- 
tem. It is, rather, an ideal — a set of intellectual bench marks which may 
be used to analyze and evaluate an existing political party or party system. 

The responsible-parties model has been de\eloped and championed by 
a number of eminent political scientists. It was first put forth around the 
turn of the present century by such distinguished scholars as A. Lawrence 
Lowell, Frank J. Goodnow, and, pre-eminently, Woodrow Wilson. In recent 
years its best-known advocate has been E. E. Schattschneider, and its most 
authoritative statement has been the 1950 report of the American Political 
Science Association's Committee on Political Parties, entitled Toward a 
More Responsible Two-Party System. 

The publication of this report notably stepped up the tempo and in- 
tensity of the long-standing debate among political scientists over the ques- 
tion of whether the responsible-parties model constitutes an appropriate 
standard of measurement and a desirable goal for the American party sys- 
tem. The model's early critics numbered such men as Herbert Croly and 
James Sayles Brown, and in recent years it has been attacked by such schol- 
ars as Pendleton Herring, Herbert Agar, and Ernest Griffith. 

At present the controversy over the doctrine of responsible party 
government may be described as one of the "great debates'' in contemporary 
political science and democratic theory. In the present paper, however, the 
debate will not be described, nor will sides be taken. This paper will, 
instead, concentrate upon two tasks: outlining the nature of the model and 
using it to appraise the current state of political parties in the State of 

Outline of the Model 

The advocates of the doctrine of responsible party government are 
concerned with maximizing both the level of efficiency and the degree of 
democracy in modern government. They do not feel any need to assign 
priorities to these two values, for they believe that a system of truly respon- 
sible parties — and only such a system — can enable a modern, thickly- 


populated community to have a govei'nment that is both efficient and 

Their reasoning supporting this conclusion may be reduced to the follow- 
ing five steps. 

1. The Nature of Modern Democratic Government. The only meaning- 
ful conception of democratic government in the modern community is that 
of government in which the ultimate power rests in the hands of all the 
citizens, and decisions are made according to the wishes of popular major- 
ities. The older Athenian and New England town-meeting dream of having 
all the citizens participate in all the day-to-day decisions of government has 
little relevance to the modern nation-state. In such a community there are 
simply too many citizens to participate in this manner, and to insist upon 
such a role for them is to deny the possibility of achieving democracy in 
the modern world. Hence the citizens' role should be thought of as the 
making of only the basic decisions: e.g., what shall be the constitutional 
structure of go\'ernment, what general direction shall public policy take, 
and, above all, who shall hold public office? Where the citizens effectively 
decide such matters as these, democracy is well satisfied — and satisfied 
in the only manner possible in the modern community. 

2. Teamwork and Efficiency in Modern Government. A modern national 
or state government is so huge and complex an organization and deals with 
such enormous and complicated problems that it can not be run effectively 
by a series of isolated individual officeholders, each acting without reference 
to or consultation with the others. Such a situation inevitably means that 
public policy will fly off in all directions at once, governmental agencies will 
work at cross-purposes, and the result will be increased costs and, in the 
fullest sense of the term, inefficiency. Only a team of officeholders working 
together under recognized mutual leadership and pursuing a common pro- 
gram can hope to meet the tremendous demands made upon a modern 

3. Power, Visibility, and Responsibility. Democratic government must 
be responsible government: if the citizens like what their government has 
been doing, they must be able to reward the officeholders by keeping them 
in office; and if they do not like what their government has been doing, 
they must be able to punish the officeholders by turning them out of power 
and replacing them with another group who will change things. In order 
to provide this kind of responsibility, the governors of a democratic com- 
munity must have two characteristics. First, they must, during their term 
in office, have full power over governmental operations, for only he who has 
full power over an organization can be held fully and meaningfully 
responsible for what that organization does or fails to do. And second, the 


governors must be visible — that is. the citizens must know who has power 
to do what in order to know whom to reward or pvmish at the polls. 

4. The Central Role of Political Parties. Of all political groups, only 
the major political parties are large enough, comprehensive enough in 
membership and goals, and visible enough to the general pviblic to provide 
the kind of teamwork required to run a modem government efficiently and 
to provide the kind of responsibility necessary to make it democratic. Their 
only conceivable alternati\es are pressure groups, and the latter can not do 
the job. Each and every particular pressure group is necessarily concerned 
with a private interest, and the public interest is far more than the sum of 
all private interests. Thus, government-by-pressure-groups can not be either 
efficient or democratic. 

In a modern community, therefore, the only way to achieve govern- 
ment that is both efficient and democratic is to establish responsible party 
government: put a major party in control of the government for a fixed 
period of time; let the people judge how well or how badly the party has 
used its power; and, according to the people's judgment as expressed at 
the polls, let the party continue in power or be replaced by the opposition 
party. In short, efficient and democratic government can be achieved only 
by establishing collective party responsibility rather than a series of isolated, 
disconnected, individual responsibilities of particular officeholders to their 
local constituencies. 

5. The Proper Organization of Political Parties. In order to perform 
fully and properly the demanding role democracy requires of them, the 
major political parties must, above all other things, be cohesive. That is to 
say, each party's members holding public office must work together as a 
team and not separately as independent individuals. For example, when 
a legislative body is about to vote on an important bill, the legislators belong- 
ing to a particular party should meet together and decide what should be 
the party's stand on that bill. When they have decided, every legislative 
party member should vote according to his party's stand even if he person- 
ally may disagree with it — or he should resign his membership in the 
party. For another example, the party's program should be formulated by 
mutual consultation and give-and-take among all of the party's leaders in 
both the executive and legislative branches. Once the program is formu- 
lated, however, eveiy party member in both branches should support it 
whether or not he approves of it in all its details. "Independence" of party 
members in public office, in other words, is incompatible with responsible 
party government and should be eliminated by whatever means seem 

Why is party cohesion so crucial? Because only cohesive parties can 
provide the collective party responsibility which, as noted above, modern 


democracy demands. When the members of a particular party are regularly 
divided among themselves and vote and act differently on matters of public 
policy, there is no meaningful sense in which the party, as a collectivity, 
can be held responsible for how well or how badly the government is being 
rim. In such a situation there is no real teamwork in government opera- 
tions, and all the people have is the same old series of isolated individual 
responsibilities of particular officeholders to their local constituencies. 
Hence, only tnjly cohesive parties can be truly responsible parties, and only 
truly responsible parties can make modern governments both efficient and 

This, then, is the model of responsible party government. As previously 
noted, the much-debated question of whether or not it is a desirable model 
for Illinois or for any other modern community will not be discussed. Nor 
will any of the numerous specific reforms suggested by the advocates of the 
model as means for converting irresponsible parties into responsible parties 
be considered. Instead, to what extent the Republican and Democratic 
parties of Illinois measure up to the model will be noted. 

Party Responsibility in Illinois 

Judged by the foregoing standards, the parties of Illinois are clearly 
irresponsible. Among the abundant evidence supporting this statement two 
scholarly studies may be cited. First, the study of the Illinois legislative 
process by Gove and Steiner shows that the two parties' organizations in 
the General Assembly play very minor roles indeed in the formulation of 
legislative policy.^ And second, Keefe's study of roll call votes in the Gen- 
eral Assembly shows that the party labels of legislators mean very little 
when it comes to voting on bills. ^ From two-thirds to three-fourths of all 
roll call votes are unanimous (that is, all members of both parties vote the 
same way). Hence, any voter who is trying to decide which party to sup- 
port in the next election will find the parties' legislative records of little or 
no help in discovering what differences, if any, the parties have on matters 
of legislative policy. Moreover, Keefe's study shows that less than 5 per 
cent of the roll call votes are "party votes" in the sense of divisions in which 
80 per cent or more of the Democrats vote one way and 80 per cent or 
more of the Republicans vote the other way. 

In short, judged by the standards of our model, political parties in 
Illinois are unquestionably irresponsible. This does not mean that they 
are unimportant or inactive or evil. It means only that they provide little, 

^ Samuel K. Gove and Gilbert Y. Steiner, The Illinois Legislative Process 
(Urbana: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, June, 

" William J. Keefe, "Party Government and Lawmaking in Illinois General As- 
sembly," Northwestern University Law Review, XLVII (March-April, 1952), 55-71. 


if any, of the sort of collective party responsibility advocated by the adher- 
ents of the model. 

Much of the explanation of why this is so can be found in the other 
papers given at this Assembly. Whether or not it is good that it is so is a 
question beyond the scope of the present paper. But that it is so seems 




The political party in the United States grew up as an entirely volun- 
tary, private, extra-legal, and extra-constitutional institution. Professor 
Arthur N. Holcombe, in one of his books, very aptly referred to the political 
party as ''The Unplanned Institution of Organized Partisanship,"^ and other 
writers have described its beginnings this way: "When the parties first 
developed they were children of nature, unplanned and unchecked. Party 
candidates were named by whateser group of influential citizens had the 
gumption and go to do it. The smoke-filled caucus room was a private 
club making public policy."^ 

The party remained in this extra-legal situation until 1866, when laws 
were enacted in California and New York that had for their purpose the 
protection of party caucuses and meetings against bribery, intimidation, and 
other corrupt practices, but that incidentally subjected the party to some 
legal regulation.^ With this beginning, legal regulation of the political 
party spread rapidly throughout all the states and increased in scope until 
it covered virtually all phases of party organization and activity. In fact, 
the party became in general so completely dependent on state law that a 
Minnesota state commission twenty years ago (1939) pleaded for a return 
to party self-government, and in that state a considerable measure of self- 
government for each party has been provided."* At any rate, the status of 
the political party has undergone such substantial change that, as a recent 
Federal Court decision put it, "The party may, indeed, have been a mere 
private aggregation of individuals in the early days of the Republic, but 
with the passage of the years, political parties have become in effect state 
institutions, governmental agencies through which sovereign power is ex- 
ercised by the people. ""* 

'Arthur Holcombe, Our More Perfect Union (Cambridge: Harvard University 
Press, 1950), ch. 4. 

' Quincy Howe and .Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Guide to Politics 1954 (New 
York: Dial Press, 1954), pp. 119-120. 

'The titles of these earliest laws are significant: California, ".\n .A.ct to Protect 
the Elections of Voluntary Associations and to Punish Frauds Therein" ; New York, 
"An Act to Protect Primary Meetings, Caucuses, and Conventions of Political Parties." 

* Report of Minnesota Interim Commission on Election Laws (1939), pp. vi, 20. 

'Rice v. Elmore, 165 F. 2d 387 (1947). 


Beginnings of Party Regulation in Illinois 

This general pattern in respect to legal regulation of the political party 
has been followed in Illinois. There was no regulation of the party at all 
until 1891, when the Ballot Act established the Australian ballot system, 
with its requirements that only official ballots could be used; that candi- 
dates' names be put on the ballot in party columns; that for this purpose a 
legal definition of a party was provided; and numerous other regulations 
that recognized and established the party as a legal institution. This legal- 
ization became even more detailed with the development of the direct 
primary, and Illinois was among the earliest states to provide for such a 
primary, with a law enacted by the legislature of 1905, under the leader- 
ship of Governor Deneen. Illinois has also had probably more primary laws 
than any other state, the present law (aside from minor amendments), 
enacted in 1927, being the sixth completely separate statute on the subject. 
A discussion of statutes concerning political parties in Illinois is, in effect, 
a discussion of this primary law, for the parties are legally regulated only 
as parts of the nominating machinery. Therefore, most of this paper will 
deal with the primary law and the problems resulting from its application. 

This large number of laws dealing with primaries is due to certain con- 
ditions peculiar to Illinois, involving particularly ( 1 ) the special needs of 
Chicago and Cook County, which have approximately half the population 
of the state, and (2) the constitutional requirement of minority representa- 
tion, or cumulative voting, for the lower house of the legislature. The 
existence of these special conditions in Illinois has made it unusually diffi- 
cult for the legislature to enact a workable law which would also meet the 
interpretation of the courts. The earlier primary laws, enacted in 1905, 
1906, 1908, 1910, and 1919, were all declared vmconstitutional by the 
Illinois Supreme Court; but the legislature, obviously convinced that a pri- 
mary was essential to good government, persisted in dealing with these 
problems, and its sixth law, enacted in 1927, was upheld as a valid measure.® 
In fact, the Illinois Supreme Court expressly reversed its previous decisions 
on the primary, held that a primary is not an election in the sense in which 
that term is used in the Illinois Constitution, and gave the legislature almost 
complete freedom to regulate the primary as it will. 

Chicago and Cook County Situation 

With respect to the first of these problems, the Chicago and Cook 
County situation, the legislature recognized that it was quite impossible for 

''The decisions were as follows: 1905 Act: People v. Board of Election Com- 
missioners of Chicago, 221 111. 9 (1906) ; 1906 Act: Rouse v. Thompson, 228 111. 522 
(1907); 1908 Act: People v. Strassheim, 240 111. 279 (1909); 1910 Act: People v. 
Deneen, 247 111. 289 (1910); McAlpine v. Dimick, 326 111. 240 (1927): 1919 Act: 
People V. Fox, 294 111. 263 (1920); 1927 Act: People v. Kramer, 328 111. 512; 
People V. Emmerson, 333 111. 606 (1929). 


effective party committees to be organized in Cook County on the same 
basis as in downstate counties. A county comniittee composed of all the 
precinct committeemen in the county is reasonably appropriate and work- 
able for downstate counties, although the number of committeemen varies 
(in 1956 Putnam County had 7, Champaign County 91, and Peoria County 
220) : but. applied to Cook County, this would mean a county committee 
(in 1956) of 5,001. The legislature therefore attempted to prescribe a 
separate and different scheme of party organization for Cook County, which 
the Illinois courts held was in conflict with the provision in the Illinois 
Constitution requiring "free and equal elections." In the 1927 law, the 
legislature solved this problem by an ingenious application of the principle 
of classification: (1) by classifying cities and counties, for the purposes of 
party organization, in such a way that only Chicago and Cook County fell 
into one class; (2) by providing for "ward, township, and precinct com- 
mitteemen," but in such a way that only ward and township committeemen 
are elected in Chicago and Cook Covmty; and (3) by composing the county 
committee of each party of "the \arious township committeemen, precinct 
committeemen and ward committeemen, if any, of such party in the county." 
This was technically the application of the same provision alike to all the 
counties, and therefore constitutional; but actually it provided for Cook 
County a committee based on w^ard and township committeemen instead of 
precinct committeemen, and a workable committee (in 1956) of only 80 

Cumulative Voting 

The second and more difficult constitutional problem was that of cumu- 
lative voting. It may be recalled that minority representation in the Illinois 
House of Representatives, secured by cumulative voting, was incorporated 
into the Constitution of 1870 in order to break up the north-south political 
division of the state that came about as a result of the Civil War. That 
purpose was laudable and has, in fact, long since been accomplished ; but the 
cumulative voting system persists, and its application to the primary makes 
no sense. That is, there is no situation within each party at all comparable 
to the sectional division %vithin the state, and certainly those who wrote the 
cumulative voting provisions in 1870 could not have contemplated their ap- 
plication to the internal operations of the political parties. The Illinois legis- 
lature recognized this, and at first attempted, in enacting a primary' law, to 
ignore these cumulative voting pro\isions. However, the Illinois courts held 
that a primary is an election within the meaning of the Constitution, and 
therefore required the cumulative voting provisions to be applied in the 
same way at party primaries as at general elections. 

The legislature, confronted with the necessity of meeting this judicial 
requirement if there were to be a legislative primary at all, and at the same 


time of writing a law that would avoid party chaos, finally hit upon the 
device of a party committee within each legislative district (at first, the 
senatorial committee; since reapportionment, the representative committee) 
to decide the number of nominees to run for the three seats. In that way 
the cumulative voting privilege was made workable. The Illinois Supreme 
Court, as already noted, not only upheld these provisions as incorporated in 
the 1927 law, but indicated that it had changed its mind on the basic 
assumption and gave the legislature much greater freedom than before to 
work out practicable measures for party primaries within the cumulative 
voting system, and presumably for other party controls." 

The result of this application of cumulative \'oting to the primary has 
been to encourage, or even to require, a considerable manipulation by the 
respective party organizations of the nominations and elections to the House 
of Representatives, and to impose serious limitations on the voter's right of 
choice. Since 1902, or through 29 legislative elections, there has not been 
a sinsfle district in which the voter has been offered a full slate of six nom- 
inees for the three seats. During that period there have been 17 occasions, 
involving 10 districts, when there were five nominees by the two parties, 
but none since 1954; and this practice probably stopped because, while the 
party which nominated three elected three on four occasions (Republicans, 
10th district, 1930; Democrats, 27th district, 1948, 1950, 1952), that party 
on other occasions risked too much and elected only one (Republicans, 
50th district, 1928, 10th and 39th districts, 1936; Democrats, 21st district, 
1916, 10th and 24th districts, 1948, 10th district, 1954). 

On 46 occasions there have been four nominees, three by one party 
(Republicans, 39 times in 12 districts; Democrats, 7 times in one district, 
the 27th). The Republicans won all three on 17 occasions, and the Demo- 
crats on three occasions. Since 1954 there have been no such combinations,^ 

' "If, as stated in People v. Election Commissioners supra, and the later cases fol- 
lowing it, a legislative primary' is an election in the sense that every voter must be 
given the right to vote for three candidates, as he is entitled to do at a general election, 
it seems clear that we must say that it is impossible to devise a valid scheme for the 
nomination of candidates for representatives in the General Assembly by primary, for 
the reason that such a method of nomination will, at all events, result in the nomina- 
tion of three candidates for each party, and thus render nugatory the provisions of 
sections 7 and 8 or article 4 of the Constitution, designed to secure minority repre- 
sentation. . . . The former decision of this court on this point in People v. Election 
Commissioners supra, and the cases decided by this court following that case, in so 
far as they are in conflict with the views herein expressed, are overruled." People v. 
Emmerson, 333 111. 606 (1929), at 613-614, 623. 

* In making preparations for the 1956 elections, Joseph L. Gill, chairman of the 
slating committee for the Cook County Democrats, announced that no attempt would 
be made in the future to elect three Democrats from any district. "It would be a 
violation of the spirit of the Illinois Constitution to deny minority representation to a 
district," he said. It was also decided that the Democrats would nominate two candi- 
dates for each district, and this has been carried out in Cook County. Robert Howard 
in the Chicago Tribune, December 19, 1955, p. 7. 


but only two nominees by each party or two and one. Thus, in 1956 there 
were only three nominees for the three seats in 30 of the 59 districts (two 
by each of the parties in 15) and in 33 districts in 1958 (two by the Repub- 
licans in 14, and two by the Democrats in 19'> . In all other districts in 1956 
and 1958 there were four nominees (two by each party) for the three seats, 
and something like that has been the case in most years. In the Champaign 
district (the 24th before, the 44th after reapportionment), which is fairly 
typical, in the 29 elections since 1902 there have been five nominees only 
once (three by the Democrats in 1948), four nominees (two by each party) 
12 times, and three nominees 16 times. 

What all this means is that, as far as the Illinois legislature is concerned, 
there is grave uncertainty as to the extent of either representative govern- 
ment or responsible party government. In the first place, the party nominees 
are not necessarily the choice of a majority or even a plurality of the party 
voters, but may well be the choice of a smaller number who "plumped"' 
their three votes on these particular candidates. Plural voting has long 
been abandoned as a democratic concept or practice e\er\^vhere but in 
Illinois. Second, the voter has little or no choice in the election. In 1956, 
90 members (45 of each party) and in 1958, 99 members (52 Democrats, 
47 Republicans) , or a full majority, had no opposition whatever and got a 
free ride to the legislature; and those years are typical of most, with only 
slight variations in the figures. Third, most contested districts throughout 
the years have been with t^vo nominees by each party, or four candidates 
for three seats, which at the best has given the voter a very limited choice 
and which has actually been in most instances a contest between the two 
candidates of the minority party rather than between the two parties.^ The 
effect on the so-called two-party system is obvious. 

Another feature of the cumulative \oting svstem is that it has led to 
considerable confusion and illegal practice. Apparently election officials, if 
not the voters, have assumed that cumulative voting applies to certain 

^A good example is what happened in the Champaign (24th) district in 1946, 
when the Democrats decided to nominate two candidates, Tom Garman, the incum- 
bent, and Charles "Jim" Simpson, a blind young man just out of the University of 
Illinois Law School. These two campaigned openly and bitterly against one another, 
a sample being a newspaper ad run by the Simpson supporters, headed "Prominent 
Democrats Flay Garman — " and including these statements: "As members of the 
Democratic Party in Champaign County, we have felt it our duty to seek the election 
of every candidate on the Democratic ticket. However, we no longer feel that we 
can conscientiously support Tom M. Garman. In a recent circular letter Garman re- 
quests support for himself and urges the defeat of his running mate, Charles (Jim) 
Simpson. We suggest that every Democrat urge the defeat of the man who has 
worked against the party, and elect Charles (Jim) Simpson. One Democratic candi- 
date is assured of a seat in the General Assembly. Therefore both Republicans and 
Democrats have a duty to vote for a competent man — Jim Simpson, to represent us 
in the crucial period that lies ahead. . . ." Cham paign-Urh ana News-Gazette, Novem- 
ber 4, 1946, p. 4. 


other offices as well as to members of the House, notably University of 
Illinois trustees and delegates and alternates to the national conventions. 
The Official Vote of Illinois shows, for example, that in 1954 half -votes 
were recorded and counted in DeKalb County for every trustee candidate, 
and for two of them (Vernon L. Heath and Dr. Ralph H. Kunstadter, Re- 
publicans) also in Mason County; in 1956, for four of the trustee candidates 
(Wayne Johnson and Earl M. Hughes, Republicans; Joseph B. Campbell 
and Richard J. Nelson, Democrats) in Clinton County, for the same two 
Republicans in La Salle County, and for the same two Democrats in Ogle 
and Pulaski counties; and in 1958, for two trustee candidates (Park Living- 
ston and Doris S. Holt) in Marion County. 

Such half- votes were similarly recorded in 1948 for Democratic delegate 
candidates in eight counties (Boone, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, Grundy, 
Henry, Mason, and Pike), for Democratic alternate candidates in three of 
these counties (Crawford, Mason, and Pike), for Republican delegate can- 
didates in two (Crawford and Mason), and for Republican alternate candi- 
dates in one (Mason). In 1952, the record shows half-votes for one 
Republican delegate candidate in one of these counties (Coles). 

The record shows the application of cumulative voting to these offices in 
many other years, and of course its application may be much more extensive 
than is revealed by the record, since an even number of such half-votes 
would result in even totals for any precinct or county. These votes are 
obviously illegal, but in some cases the explanation for the confusion is 
reasonably clear. In the case of the University trustees, there are three 
seats to fill at any election, and the election judges apparently consider that 
the same voting principle should apply as does for the House of Repre- 
sentatives. Thus, if a voter votes for only one or two of the trustees, he is 
allotted three votes which are split and counted accordingly. 

In the case of some delegate contests, three candidates ran for two seats 
(in 1948, Boone, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, Grundy, and Henry counties, 
all Democrats; in 1952, Coles County, Republican), and similar confusion 
presumably arose. In other cases, however, there were only two candidates 
for two seats (in 1948, Crawford County, Democratic alternates, Republican 
delegates; Mason County, Democratic and Republican delegates and alter- 
nates; Pike County, Democratic delegates and alternates), and it is difficult 
to explain how the confusion could ha\e arisen. This counting of illegal 
votes or the illegal computation of the vote may well make the actual result 
doubtful in close contests, and no doubt should invalidate the election for 
those offices. In view of this confusion and misapplication of the cumulative 
voting system, as well as the fact that cumulative voting has long since 
accomplished its original purpose, it would seem that the system ought now 
to be abolished. 


Other Problems in Legal Regulation of Illinois Parties 

Except for the cumulative voting feature, the IlHnois law is fairly typical 
of primary legislation throughout the United States, differing from most 
other state primary laws only in its details. Its essential features may be 
summarized as follows and certain problems noted: First, a political party 
for the state or any election area within the state is defined as a group 
which cast at the last preceding general election more than 5 per cent of 
the total vote cast at that time within such area. A new party for the state 
may be formed on petition of 25,000 voters, inckiding 200 from each of at 
least 50 counties; and for any other election area on petition of 5 to 8 per 
cent of the voters within such area. Communist, Fascist, Nazi, or other un- 
American groups are outlawed as political parties. The requirements in 
most other states are more severe (10 per cent in thirteen, 15 per cent in 
one, 20 per cent in three, 25 per cent in one), and the Model Primary Law 
adopted by the National Municipal League proposes a 10 per cent require- 
ment. On the other hand, the Progressive (Wallace) party, which failed in 
1948 to qualify as a political party in Illinois, particularly because of the 
county-distribution requirement, challenged the constitutionality of these 
provisions. The law was upheld,^° and does not seem unreasonable in this 

Second, the Illinois law is a mandatory and detailed law in its applica- 
tion to qualified political parties. This has meant for a long time that only 
the Democratic and Republican parties in this state are required to hold 
primaries for the nomination of their candidates, but also, such primaries 
must be held for most elective offices — federal, state, legislative, county, 
and local — from United States Senator, Congressman, and Governor down 
to county coroner and county recorder. The only exceptions of any conse- 
quence in Illinois are presidential electors, University of Illinois trustees, and 
Circuit and Supreme Court judges, who are still nominated at party con- 
ventions. Other and smaller groups may, of course, make nominations to 
public office if they desire, but must do so at a later date by the procedure 
of independent petition. 

Third, the Illinois law also regulates in some detail the party organiza- 
tion of these qualified, or major, parties. That is, certain committees and 
conventions are required, their composition and method of selection are 
specified, their functions are to some extent enumerated, and, to a degree, 
even their meetings and procedures are prescribed. The principle of popular 
or democratic control of the party organization is emphasized by the election 
at the party primary of the state committee, the representative committees 
(formerly the senatorial committees), and the precinct (including ward 
and township) committeemen; the other party committees are made up 

"Decision of Illinois Supreme Court, September 14, 1948. Account by Robert 
Howard, in the Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1948, pp. 1, 10. 


through interlocking arrangements that make use of these elective commit- 
tees. These committees are also presumably representative of the party rank 
and file, in that the principle of unit representation is applied, each com- 
mitteeman having a vote equal to the party vote cast in his area. Accord- 
ingly, in 1952, when Governor Stevenson withdrew from the Democratic 
gubernatorial nomination after being nominated for President, the Demo- 
cratic state committee substituted Lieutenant Governor Sherwood Dixon by 
a vote of 467,706 to 435,244, although a majority of the committee members 
(13-12) favored Secretary of State Edward Barrett. 

Fourth, a mere plurality of the votes cast is required for nomination to 
public office or election to party office in Illinois. This is in accord with 
the practice in most states, and has the advantage of an assured result 
(except in the rare instance of a tie) and no additional inconvenience or 
expense. This also means, however, that in many cases the nominee is not 
necessarily the real choice of the party voters, but only of a minority and 
sometimes of a small minority. An outstanding example is the Republican 
nomination for United States Senator in 1954, when Joseph Meek won 
the nomination with a vote of 283,843, leading his nearest competitor, 
Edward Hayes, by more than 100,000, and therefore being generally credited 
with an "overwhelming" victory; but there were ten candidates on the 
ballot, who polled a total vote of 845,465, and a total vote for Meek's 
opponents of 561,662. In other words. Meek received only one-third of the 
primary vote, and was by no means the choice of the Republican voters. 
This situation may well account for the dissatisfaction in the Republican 
party that year and for the easy defeat of Meek by Senator Douglas. The 
alternatives to the plurality system are the requirement of a majority, with 
a run-off primary in case no majority is obtained at the first primary, a sys- 
tem used in most southern states; or a minimum vote, such as 35 or 40 per 
cent, with nomination by a later convention if such minimum is not secured. 
This latter system is used in some states, such as Iowa and South Dakota, 
and might well be considered for Illinois if the primary choices are to be at 
all representative of the party rank and file. 

A fifth problem involves the procedure of getting candidates' names on 
the primary ballot and the relationship of the party organization to this 
procedure. In Illinois the presumption is that any legally qualified person 
should have the right to file for a party nomination under the prescribed 
procedures, and that the party voter should have a completely free choice. 
Actually, however, the party organizations, particularly in Cook County but 
also throughout the state, make their selections or endorsements for most 
offices, state and local, before the party primary. Only occasionally do these 
organizations announce a so-called "open" primary - — that is, a primary in 
which no candidates will be endorsed by the appropriate party organization 
for any or for particular offices. In general, the practice of organization 


endorsement has become so regular in Illinois that slate-making committees 
are openly announced in advance and candidates are invited or summoned 
to appear before these committees to explain their qualifications and suit- 
ability for the desired office. The result of this is to give the endorsed can- 
didates a considerable advantage, and to discourage others from running, 
and since this appears to limit the party voter's choice and to be contrary 
to the spirit and intent of the primary, there is some criticism of such slate- 
making as "bossism," "dictatorship," and the like. There have, ho\vever, 
been instances when candidates bold enough to run against the organization 
have broken the slate and won nomination without organization endorse- 
ment or support, notable examples being Governor Horner, who won 
nomination in 1936 against the Democratic organization choice, Dr. Herman 
Bundesen; and Warren Wright, who won the Republican nomination for 
State Treasurer in 1958 against the organization choice, Louis Beckman. 

Since such slate-making can not be prevented, goes on virtually every- 
where in some form, and actually has some advantages in reducing the 
number of candidates, in discouraging fly-by-night candidates, and in 
attaching some responsibility to the party organization for the calibre of 
the party candidates, five states now provide by law for slate-making by the 
party organization, requiring that it be open and official and always with 
opportunity for qualified individuals to run against the organization slate. 
This is also in accord with the principle, now increasingly recognized as 
sound, that the party organization should be responsible for party operations, 
including selection of party candidates for office, and at the same time be 
completely accountable to the party voters for its actions under such respon- 
sibility. The Model Primary proposed by the National Municipal League 
includes recommendations to this effect, and these ought to be given serious 
consideration in Illinois. 

Still another problem is that of party membership in relation to party 
operations. The Illinois law provides for a closed primary, which presumes 
that the respective party primaries are closed to all except bona fide mem- 
bers of the party, that only Democrats should participate in a Democratic 
primary and only Republicans in a Republican primary. The statutory test 
of such party affiliation, namely that one must not have participated over 
a period of 23 months with any other party or with an independent group 
or individual, seems fairly severe; but it is actually very loose, since it per- 
mits switching from one party to another for any statewide primary. The 
method of applying this test in Illinois is that of an open declaration of 
party affiliation or request for the appropriate party ballot at the primary, 
with the possibility of a challenge. This procedure is easy for the voter, 
challenges are infrequent, and bona fide party membership is difficult to 
prove or disprove. 


The result is that organized raiding or invasion of the opposing party 
primary has occurred on many occasions in Ilhnois, and the presumptions of 
a two-party system are thereby vitiated. For example, Chicago Democrats 
were encouraged to invade the Republican mayoralty primary in 1927 in 
order to help nominate William Hale Thompson, who was thought to be 
the easiest man to beat in the election; the Democratic leaders later openly 
acknowledged their mistake, and in 1931 issued public appeals to Democrats 
to stay in their own primary. In 1934 and 1938 it was a Republican prob- 
lem, in that some 250,000 Republicans, who had invaded the Democratic 
party in 1932, probably because of a genuine interest in Franklin Roosevelt 
and the New Deal, were urged by the Republican leaders to return to their 
own party; the legal, as well as the practical, problem involved was noticed 
in full-page newspaper explanations and appeals. These and other examples 
are sufficient evidence of the practice. 

In 28 states there is an enrollment system in respect to party membership, 
instead of the simple declaration used in Illinois and seven other states. 
That is, voters are required to register or enroll themselves as members of a 
particular party (or as independents), and this written record is produced 
at the primary as a check on the voter's claim of party affiliation. This 
system makes the selection of a party a much more serious act, it effectively 
prevents raiding, and it helps to preserve a more genuine two-party system. 
In Illinois, a beginning of a sort has been made toward such an enrollment 
system, in that in Cook County and certain downstate cities a written 
certificate on which the voter checks his party affiliation is substituted for 
the oral declaration. This does not, however, constitute a permanent record 
of party membership, and the oral declaration is expressly preserved in gen- 
eral ;^^ but it would be easy to extend this written statement of party affilia- 
tion to all election areas in the state and make it over into a genuine 
enrollment system. 

There are those in this state, such as Governor Adlai Stevenson and 
Stephen A. Mitchell, who urge the adoption of the open primary instead 
of the present closed primary, the principal arguments for this change being 
that the open primary is "secret," that more voters would participate if they 
did not have to reveal their party, and that independents could also partici- 
pate more freely in the primary. The open primary is more secret than 
the closed primary only in the sense that the voter, who must affiliate with 
one of the established parties, makes his choice without undergoing any 
test and without a public revelation of his choice; but, in view of the 
importance of the political party in our system of government, it may be 
doubted whether this kind of secrecy is desirable, even if it is actually 
possible. There is no persuasive evidence that the open primary actually 

"Illinois Election Laws (1955), pp. 77-78, 83, 156 (§ 5-30, 6-1, 7-44). 


attracts greater participation, although it may attract to a party primary a 
larger number of independents, who by definition have no genuine concern 
for any party. On the other hand, the open primar)- tends to confuse still 
further the operation of the two-party system by encouraging voters to 
ignore party lines and party differences; it makes much more difficult the 
establishment of responsible party government; and it runs counter to the 
trend in respect to parties in the United States, since only six states (includ- 
ing Washington, with its blanket primary) continue to maintain the open 
primary. It would seem far better for Illinois to strengthen, rather than to 
weaken, its system of party government by moving along the lines suggested 
in this paper. 

Finally, it should be noticed that Illinois is one of only three states (the 
others being Nevada and Rhode Island) that have no corrupt practices act 
and that do not regulate party financing or campaign funds at all. There 
are many difficult problems in respect to such legislation, but there is definite 
need for it; and the Florida law on the subject is generally considered the 
best and may well serve as a model. 




The presence of two major political parties actively competing for 
power has been deemed essential to the successful functioning of the Ameri- 
can system of government. A strong minority party acting as a watchdog 
over the party in power and waiting to capitalize on that party's mistakes is 
considered desirable. 

Inter-party competition raises two fundamental questions: first, how 
much competition exists, and second, how much is desirable? More specific 
queries are: does the absence of a close two-party vote in a particular 
county or area necessarily result in unrepresentative or ineffective govern- 
ment, can competition in primaries in a one-party area adequately replace 
inter-party competition, and is it possible to encourage competition at the 
local governmental level by eliminating national party labels from local 

This paper attempts to answer the question of how much inter-party 
competition now exists in Illinois. The answer to the question of how much 
inter-party competition is desirable is left to the reader. However, it should 
be remembered that any change in the present competitive situation would 
require large numbers of voters to change their voting habits. This change 
very likely would involve the question of party ideology and party loyalty. 

On a national basis there is a reasonably effective two-party system, 
although in some areas competition between the two parties is practically 
nonexistent. Similarly in Illinois, two highly competitive parties exist on a 
statewide basis, although the degree of competition varies in different areas 
and at different levels of government. 

Because of the high degree of competition between the Illinois parties in 
state and national elections, the state's electoral vote and control of the state 
government have switched from one party to the other with some frequency 
in recent years. However, the same high degree of inter-party competition 
is found in only a few localities, and it is not unusual to find in many 
counties one-party domination nearly as extreme as that foimd in the 
southern states. In the one-party counties in Illinois, there is little or no 
competition for local offices in elections when these offices are selected on a 
national party basis. Of course, intra-party competition for these offices in 
a primary may take the place of inter-party competition. Competition also 
may be encouraged in these same counties by providing for nonpartisan 


local elections. In fact, nonpartisan elections are the practice in school 
board elections, in most municipal elections, and in some township elections. 
Nonpartisan elections (other than for school boards) do not necessarily 
mean that candidates run without party labels; local party labels, instead 
of Republican and Democratic labels, are frequently used. 

This paper is primarily concerned with inter-party competition in elec- 
tions, and does not deal with the political actions of the successful candidates 
after they assume office.^ It would be well to study the political action of a 
party's delegations to the legislative bodies — boards of supervisors and cit\- 
councils as well as the state legislature — to determine if there are, or should 
be. positive party programs. The same general consideration can be raised 
in regard to elective administrative officers. In other \vords, a discussion of 
inter-party competition in elections alone leaves an important void in the 
understanding of Illinois political parties in action. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, little study or attention in a systematic way has been given to party 
activity in the actual policy-making and administrative aspects of govern- 
mental operation. Studies have been made of parties and roll calls in the 
Illinois state legislature, but there knowledge in this area ends. 

Party Competition in Statewide Elections 

Since the turn of the century, Illinois has followed national trends in 
presidential elections, and, except in 1916, the state's electoral vote has been 
delivered for the winning candidate. In 1916. \vhen President Wilson was 
re-elected, Illinois gave Hughes a plurality. Although Illinois has almost 
always been on the winning side, the percentage of the vote given to the 
winner has varied considerably from that which he received on a national 
basis. Table 1 shows Illinois presidential voting summarized from 1900 to 

It is interesting to note that the Republican presidential candidate has 
usually carried more counties than the Democratic candidate. As an extreme 
example, in 1944 President Roosevelt carried Illinois, but carried only 17 
of the 102 counties. This discrepancy occurs, of course, because the counties 
that the Democrats cany are generally the more populous industrial areas. 
The Republicans, on the other hand, have their strength in the less popu- 
lated downstate counties. The map on the next page gives some indication 
of where the strength of each of the two parties lies geographically. Classi- 
fied by the vote in the fifteen presidential elections since 1900, the counties 
are designated "always," "usually," or "doubtful" for one party or the other. 
Those counties that have given the Republicans a plurality' of the two-party 

' Also omitted from this paper, because of space limitations, is the subject of 
judicial elections, although judicial politics are important in inter-party competition, 
especially when coalition slates of judicial candidates are developed. 



(Major party percentages do not necessarily add to 100 per cent 
because of the vote for other parties.) 


Per Cent of 



Per Cent of 




Total Vote 



Total Vote 











































































































* Winner nationally. 

t In 1912 Roosevelt on the Progressive ticket received 33.7 per cent of the total vote and carried 
28 counties. In 1924 LaFollette on the Progressive ticket received 17.5 per cent of the total vote and 
carried one county. 

vote (excluding the 1912 Progressive vote") throughout this period are classi- 
fied as ''always Republican." No county has a similar "always Democratic" 
voting record. Those counties that have delivered a pluralit)- in ten or more 
of the fifteen elections are classified as either "usually Republican" or 
"usually Democratic" ; the counties where neither part^- won as many as ten 
elections are classified as "doubtful Republican" or "doubtful Democratic." 

It can be seen from the map that the large majorits- of counties have 
consistently had a Republican voting record since the turn of the century. 
In fact, 17 counties fall into the category "always Republican," 48 into the 
category "usually Republican," and 14 into the "doubtful Republican" 
categon'. In contrast, there are only 12 "usually Democratic" and 11 
"doubtful Democratic" counties. 

Some counties have had a major change in voting habits in national 
elections since 1900, and the classification used on the map would not be 
the same if only recent elections had been considered. Probably the most 
obvious case is Cook Count\-. In the fifteen presidential elections since 1900, 
that county has had a Republican plurality in nine and a Democratic 
pluralit)' in five, and in 1912 the Progressive candidate led. All of the 
Democratic victories in Cook Count)^ have been in elections since 1932. A 
similar situation of changing voting behavior prevails in some of the down- 
state counties. 

The preceding analysis is based entirely on presidential elections. If a 


If'fii SlCPMCMiON HIMnCBAiO lOOKt m^MlNRr'/,-,- Lt'C 







IKQ doubtful DEMOCRAT 


similar study had been made of gubernatorial or congressional elections, the 
patterns would have varied somewhat, but probably to no great extent. 

Generally, in each election for state and national offices, Illinois voters 
choose all candidates from the same party. Since the turn of the centuiy, 
split party tickets have been elected in only four election years — 1930, 1940, 
1944, and 1954. In 1930 a Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction 
was elected at the same time as a Democratic United States Senator and 
State Treasurer. In 1940 and 1944, President Roosevelt carried the state by 
small margins, receiving less than 52 per cent of the total vote. With this 
close vote, the Republicans were able to win all the state government 
executive positions other than that of Secretary of State. They won the 
contested U.S. Senate seat in 1940, but lost it in 1944. In 1954 the Demo- 
cratic candidate for U.S. Senator was elected at the same time as the 
Republican candidates for State Treasurer and Superintendent of Public 

Table 2 shows the party affiliation of the successful candidate for the 
various statewide offices in Illinois in each election contest from 1920 to 
1958, and thus shows the tendency of Illinois voters to choose one-party 
slates. The absence of split tickets can partly be explained by the inclusion 
of the party circle on the "Australian form" ballot used in Illinois. The 
party circle tends to put more emphasis on party than on individual candi- 
dates, especially for lesser offices. It is difficult to generalize about the effect 
of straight party voting on inter-party competition, and more study in this 
area is needed. 

Party Competition and Cumulative Voting^ 

Illinois' cumulative voting system for electing the representatives to the 
General Assembly is unique in this country and raises certain questions about 
inter-party competition. Three representatives are elected from each of the 
59 districts, and each voter casts three votes. He may give all three of his 
votes to one candidate, or he may divide them among two or three candi- 
dates. Cumulative voting was intended to secure minority representation 
from each district by enabling the voters in the minority party to cast all 
of their votes for their party's candidate, and thus to assure his election. 
The system has had the desired result, and only rarely has a district elected 
a three-man slate from one party. 

The legal basis for the system is found in the Constitution of 1870, and 
the statutes empower party leaders to determine the number of candidates 
from their party to be put on the ballot at the general election. In many 
districts it is customary for one party to put up two candidates and the other 
party one, thus presenting "no contest" at the November election. It is 
argued, and rightly, that the voters in the "no contest" districts can deter- 

" For further discussion of cumulative voting, see Professor Berdahl's paper. 



























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mine the candidates in the primary, but here they have a choice only within 
their own party. The voter who is unwilHng to declare his party affiliation 
and vote in the primary has no voice in choosing representatives to the 
General Assembly. 

The cumulative voting system sets up the possibility of inter-party collu- 
sion in the determination of the number of candidates to be selected by 
each party. Although there is no evidence that one party ever consciously 
threw away the possibility of electing more representatives by putting too 
few candidates on the general election ballot, a party in a particular district 
mififht miscalculate the "landslide" effect of a national election and thus 
lose its chance for an additional representative. There is, however, no evi- 
dence that this is widespread. In defense of the present system, it has been 
pointed out that the Illinois House has relatively little turnover in member- 
ship, and thus gets the benefit of the experience its members gained in prior 
sessions. Also, it has been pointed out that party representation (on a per- 
centage basis) comes close to the party division for the top office on the 
ballot at a general election. Cumulative voting also insures the presence of 
a strong minority party in terms of numbers in the legislature, and some feel 
that this will foster strong inter-party competition there. Whether this has 
been the case in practice is open to discussion. 

Intra-party friction results when leaders of the minority party in a dis- 
trict decide to run two candidates for representative. The two minority 
party candidates often campaign against each other in the general election 
for the one seat in the House usually won by their party, and the resulting 
friction causes the minority party to lose whatever effectiveness it might 
otherwise have in the general campaign. 

Party Competition in Local Elections 

The main issue in the present system of local elections is whether these 
elections should be conducted with formal national party labels, or whether 
they should be nonpartisan. The issue has been much debated here and 
elsewhere. The nonpartisan movement has gained considerable support, and 
most of the cities of over five thousand population in this country have 
nonpartisan local elections. The argument that "there is no Republican or 
Democratic way to collect garbage" is considered valid by many civic 
leaders, who argue that there is no relationship between national and local 
issues, and that a person elected to a local office should be chosen on the 
basis of his stand on local issues and not simply because he ran under the 
label of one of the national parties. It is further argued that when national 
party labels are used in local elections, a person affiliated with the national 
party that is a weak minority in a particular community is, in efTect, dis- 

The opponents of nonpartisanship argue that it is not uncommon for 


the local political parties to participate actively in local nonpartisan elec- 
tions, thereby negating the nonpartisan concept. They say that it is gener- 
ally considered desirable to strengthen the parties and that this can be done 
by encouraging young people to seek political elective office. Thus, if 
political parties are encouraged to participate actively in elections from the 
township level to the national, a "political career ladder" can be established. 
And lastly, it is argued that the concept that national and local issues are 
unrelated is becoming obsolete in our changing federal system. It is not 
unusual today for county and city officials to have direct relationships with 
federal agencies in Washington. The local public official who is an acknowl- 
edged political leader in his state will undoubtedly have a better reception 
\vhen he is negotiating in Washington for, say, an urban renewal project for 
his community. 

The role of the Illinois political parties in local government elections is 
inconsistent and unclear on a statewide basis. The multiplicity of local gov- 
ernments created under several differing authorizations has led to confusion, 
as has the nonpartisan movement. 

The nonpartisan movement has been aided by the election calendar now 
found in this state. In order to separate local issues from state and national 
issues, spring election dates have been established for municipalities and 
townships. One consequence of the spring election date is that less attention 
is given to these elections, and in many areas voter turnout is extremely 
light. County office contests, on the other hand, are held at the November 
general election, and the results are therefore influenced by the outcome of 
the national and state contests. Because of the timing of the county elections, 
voter participation is generally greater than in other local elections. But 
there is no indication that citizens' understanding of county government is 
either greater or less than their understanding of other local governments. 

Throughout Illinois elections for county offices are conducted with na- 
tional party labels, and only infrequently do the names of independent 
candidates go on the ballot. In 1958, for example, nine independent 
candidates in seven counties ran for office; only one of these was elected. 
In all the other contests, the candidates ran under either a Republican or 
Democratic label. 

The amount of competition for countv^ offices varies greatly. In the 
southern half of the state there seems to be more interest in counts' offices, 
and personalities play a more important role than partisan affiliation. In 
strong one-party counties, the competition, if any, usually takes place in 
the primary. In general, however, state politics and national part>' labels are 
important in Illinois county elections. 

Illustrative of the noncompetitive situation found between the parties 
in some counties is the fact that in 1958 the minority party frequently did 


not contest all the county offices. In 45 counties, for example, the Democrats 
failed to contest one or more offices; in 14 counties the Republicans failed 
to put up a complete slate. In 3 heavily Republican counties, the Democrats 
did not put up any candidates. The 1958 election results show that in 52 
counties a straight party slate was elected. In 36 counties, all Republicans 
were elected and in 16, all Democrats. Split partisan slates were found in 
the remaining 50 counties.^ 

In township elections,* the role of political parties varies even more than 
in county elections. Township supervisors and assistant supervisors are, to 
a considerable extent, county officers even though they are elected from 
townships. The supervisor has certain township functions, but also sits as 
a member of the county board, and the assistant supervisors' function is 
limited to sitting on the county board. 

From a sizeable sampling of township election returns in the spring of 
1959, it is apparent that in most counties, township officials run with 
national party labels. However, it also seems that "independent" township 
candidates are more numerous than "independent" county candidates. In 
some counties it has become the practice for all candidates to run under 
local party labels, and many examples of candidates being elected as repre- 
sentatives of a Citizen party, Progressive party-. Taxpayer's party, etc., can 
be cited. In still other counties no part)- labels of any kind appear on the 
ballot. In the eight townships in Stark County, illustrations of all of these 
varying practices were found in 1959. One result of having either local 
party labels or a completely nonpartisan election is that elected supervisors 
and assistant supervisors sit on a board that must work with the sheriff, 
clerk, and other county officials, all of whom have been elected as partisans. 

The review of the election returns for the townships sampled showed 
that there was considerable competition for township offices, and a "no 
contest" was the exception. Competition for the office of township highway 
commissioner was particularly heavy. 

Illinois is not a "home rule" state in the usual sense of that term, but 
the citizens in a municipality are granted considerable freedom in forming 
and running their local government. Optional forms of government are 
possible, and further freedom is generally peiTnitted as to whether or not 
political parties are to participate in local elections. Under the commission 
form, elections are nonpartisan, and no party designation is permitted on 
the ballot. Under other forms, there can be part)^ labels, either those of the 

'For a more detailed description of "The 1958 County Elections," see Illinois 
Government, No. 4 (Urbana: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, September, 

■* Township elections come in the spring, and usually are held separately from 
other elections. Under certain circumstances, township and municipal elections are 


national or of local parties. Most cities have nonpartisan or local partv 
elections. Only in a sprinkling of cities scattered throughout the state are 
the city officials elected as Republicans or Democrats. 

Considerable hypocrisy exists in the so-called nonpartisan system, and 
the contests in many nonpartisan cities are in fact between the local or- 
ganizations of the two major political parties. Probably the most obvious 
case of "partisan nonpartisanship" is the city council of Chicago. In 
Chicago, the mayor and other elected administrative officials are selected 
under party labels, but the 50 aldermen sitting on the council are selected 
on a nonpartisan basis. However, the regular party organizations campaign 
in each ward, and only the most poorly informed citizen does not know the 
partisan affiliation of his alderman. Attempts have been made in the Gen- 
eral Assembly from time to time to provide for partisan elections for alder- 
men, but there seems to be little interest in making a change in this direction. 

The situation that prevails concerning "partisan nonpartisanship" in 
the Chicago city council is also found in many downstate cities. Also, the 
present situation in the cities presents some interesting contrasts, with the 
twin cities of Champaign and Urbana being a good, although not typical, 
example. Because of the contiguity of the two cities, the contrasts in the 
role of the parties in local elections are more vivid. Champaign, under the 
council-manager form of government, elects its city council and mayor 
without any party labels. Adjoining Urbana has the mayor-alderman form 
and elects its officials with national party labels. The citizens of the two 
communities fall into similar social and economic groupings, and in state 
and national elections, the partisan division does not vary greatly. But 
because of a historical situation, partisan elections in one city and non- 
partisan elections in the other have become well accepted. An interesting 
result of the present situation is that a person subject to the federal Hatch 
Act is eligible to run for public office in Champaign, but ineligible in 


Considerable inter-party competition exists in statewide elections in Illi- 
nois, and, barring a significant change in voting trends, one need be little 
concerned with the state becoming completely dominated by one of the 
major political parties. In local areas, however, competition between the 
parties presents another picture. In some limited areas there appears to be 
healthy and active competition in both state and local elections, and every 
election is closely contested. In others, it is obvious there is virtually no, or 
at best a very weak, minority party. This is true not only in rural Repub- 
lican counties, but also in Chicago, with its well-organized Democratic ma- 
chine. Cumulative voting may have an effect on inter-party competition 
in some areas of the state. 


The question that arises is whether it is possible or desirable to have 
strong inter-party competition in all parts of the state in all elections. If it 
is impractical to reach this supposedly desirable goal, then would a strength- 
ened and more effective over-all two-party system result if the local organi- 
zations of the national parties were made responsible for the conduct of 
government at all levels, from the township to the White House? Would 
this cause a member of the minority party in any one county to be dis- 
franchised, in effect, from participating in local affairs, or would it mean 
that a minority party would be forced to exert more effort to become a 
more effective minority, or even to become the majority party in that par- 
ticular locality? On the other hand, would it be better to make all local 
elections nonpartisan to the extent of removing national party labels from 
local elections, and thereby provide a basis for competition for these offices 
other than the candidate's affiliation with one of the two national parties? 
And lastly, would better political leaders rise to the top if it were possible 
to establish a "political career ladder" starting at the lowly positions in 
township government and ending at the national government level? 




Political campaigns are run on the energy' of a great variety- of people. 
A certain portion of the energy in campaigns is contributed by interested 
partisans, but generally this energy is not sufficient nor does it enlist the 
variety of talents needed for the job at hand. Money as a convertible 
currency must then be used to purchase the needed energy which is not 
contributed. Money does more than just fill in the gap; it is more flexible 
than labor, for busy people it is a substitute for service, and it also helps to 
insure that campaign costs are shared more widely. No one expects the 
printer of campaign literature to contribute the time of his entire plant for a 
few days, especially since the talents of other vendors of service (dry cleaners 
or plumbers, for example) would not be needed to the same extent. Simi- 
larly, no one expects all of the complex talents of television transmission to 
be contributed without compensation. Money, then, provides a medium 
whereby numbers of people, many with no special talent or little available 
time, can share the energy requirements of a campaign. 

Money also enables a party to purchase campaign energy which far 
surpasses the support for that party as measured by votes or %vork contri- 
butions. It is in this sense that people complain about large amounts of 
monev buvinsr candidates and elections. The democratic ethic sanctions 
individual contributions of energy in any amount, perhaps because indi- 
viduals have more or less equal amounts of energy-, and perhaps because 
it is a clear-cut expression of a personal political commitment. However, 
money is not held more or less equally. Also, it is generally not as clear an 
expression of political commitment as energy per se. For example, a con- 
tributor may give money to both parties, but will hardly give time to both. 
Therefore, people frown on large amounts of money being used to purchase 
energy that would not otherwise be committed in a campaign. 

The Costs of Democracy 

One often hears the complaint that campaigns cost too much. \Vell, 
how much should they cost? Just how big is the campaign task? In most 
campaigns the voter is the target of messages coming from candidates in 
primaries and general elections, from candidates at three levels of govern- 
ment, and from candidates of two or more parties. The average voter must 
choose among thirty to fifty candidates in a normal election year, nearly 
all of whom would like to get messages through to him. Candidates com- 


pete among themselves for the attention of the voter and also compete with 
all the other possible stimuli he might attend to. such as a western or a 
football game on TV. Getting messages through to voters is a complicated 
and difficult task, and it is bound to cost money. Considering the number of 
candidates and the competition for attention, it would not be unreasonable 
to expect that minimum communication costs could come to about one 
dollar per voter. 

If there are approximately seven million potential voters in Illinois, 
reasonable campaign costs for both political parties could total seven million 
dollars. There are no good figures for election year costs in Illinois, but few 
knowledgeable people estimate that costs exceed seven million dollars in any 
election year. Even if national campaign expenditures are considered in the 
total, the costs do not seem unreasonable. Total campaign costs for the 
1952 election have been estimated at 140 million dollars; this means an 
expenditure of about $1.25 per voter. ^ On this basis it seems fair to say 
that, as a practical matter, it Avould be very difficult to reduce campaign 
costs. Furthermore, the public has refused to recognize the inevitable high 
cost of operating a political democracy. Attention to high costs diverts 
attention from some of the more urgent problems of political finance, and 
thus forces political leaders to seek funds in questionable places. It would 
probably be to its advantage if the public would accept the high cost of 
democracy and turn its attention to meeting the challenge of adequate 
party finance. 

Where Does the Money Come from? 

On the whole, the public has been reluctant to accept and share the 
burden of part)' finance. Many citizens think of parties as institutions apart 
from themselves, staffed and financed by self-seeking and corrupt indi- 
viduals, and presenting them with unhappy electoral choices. Most of them 
have never seriously confronted the thought of making a political contri- 
bution, and some of them would consider such a contribution to be down- 
right immoral. In such a setting, how are political parties financed in 

The answer to such a question should be prefaced with the caution that 
reliable and complete evidence is difficult to find. Nevertheless, although 
details are absent, there is a general picture from which some meaningful 
observations can be made. Both political parties depend to a certain 
extent on persons ^\•ho receive their livelihood from state expenditures to 
help finance parts' activities. At the present time, with the Republicans 
controlling the state administration and the Democrats controlling the City 
of Chicago, both parties have access to this kind of financial support. It is 

' See Alexander Heard's forthcoming book, The Costs of Democracy, to be pub- 
lished in 1960. 


common knowledge that persons holding government jobs through political 
appointment are expected to make a small percentage of their salary avail- 
able to the party that helped them procure the jobs. Much the same can 
be said of people who receive government contracts or concessions. 

Since this type of contributing fits the popular conception of party 
donors, there is a great temptation to overestimate its importance. Some 
states and the federal government have somewhat effectively outlawed con- 
tributions from persons likely to receive direct financial benefit from gov- 
ernment, yet the parties continue to function. In other states where such 
contributing is allowed and reports of contributors are available (North 
Carolina, for example), the percentage of total dollars contributed by these 
kinds of people is not great. 

Closely allied to the contributor who seeks a job or contract is the person 
who hopes to receive some benefit for being a "right guy," perhaps from a 
solicitor who can pass rewards in his direction. One of the secrets of 
political money raising, as well as money raising of other types, is to have the 
potential donor solicited by someone he will have difficulty in turning down. 
In this sense political money raising is inextricably intertwined with a net- 
work of business, financial, and social relationships. 

Because these motivations are direct and obvious, many people commit 
the error of thinking that these are the only reasons why people give money 
to parties. To find out if this were true, the writer made an intensive study 
of a random sample of one hundred contributors in North Carolina.^ It is 
not possible to give detailed findings here, but it can be stated that con- 
tributors like these were found. However, the motivations were much more 
complex than is popularly supposed. Most contributors were trying to ac- 
complish a variety of purposes with their contributions, and there was sub- 
stantial evidence that few were interested in direct personal reward. Instead, 
the majority of the contributors (who also gave most of the dollars) were 
hoping by their contributions to place in office a certain style of government 
which would be congenial to the kind of life they hoped to lead. They 
conceived of contributions as weapons in a political battle. This motivation 
is not unlike that of most voters. Although the same conditions may not 
prevail in Illinois, there is no obvious reason why Illinois should differ in 
this respect from North Carolina. 

Besides looking at sources from the point of view of individual con- 
tributors, one should look at the sources from the point of view of the two 
kinds of institutions in Illinois seeking support — the regular party organi- 
zations and the volunteer committees supporting specific candidates. On 

- Lester W. Milbrath, The Motivations and Characteristics of Political Contribu- 
tors: North Carolina General Election, 1952, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Uni- 
versity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1956. 


the Republican side the regular party organization is supported by the 
United Republican Fund. The URF is a legally separate adjunct of the 
party, staffed and supported largely by people who consider themselves "non- 
professional" politicians. It was initially organized in the late 1940's to 
prevent fraudulent solicitation of funds on behalf of nonexistent Republican 
committees. Now it has become the official money-raising arm of the part)', 
with organization parallel to the party in each count\'. In some counties 
the URF seems to be under the control of the county Republican committee ; 
however, in Cook County the URF has its own leadership. URF's appeal 
for funds seems to be pitched toward business and professional men, and 
presumably most of the funds come from them. At present URF is engaged 
in a drive to broaden its base of support by seeking to add nine thousand 
new memberships. About 30 per cent of the new memberships are in the 
five dollar category, and another 30 per cent are in the ten dollar category. 

On the other hand, there are persistent rumors that the regular Repub- 
lican organization continues to have lucrative sources of support outside the 
URF. Presumably, many of these donors prefer a more direct channel to 
the party organization than URF provides. In addition to this gap. the 
URF does not support special candidate and volunteer committees. These 
committees may get support from certain regular Republican county 
committees, but they must rely on donations from interested private citizens 
for most of their funds. Some money may also come from individuals or 
committees from outside the state, such as the party congressional and 
senatorial committees. 

On the Democratic side the party does not have a money-raising arm 
comparable to the URF, although there is a move afoot to start such an 
organization. Most of the funds for the regular organization are raised by 
the "professionals" in the party. In Cook County most of this money is 
raised at the ward level bv various devices, some aboveboard and some not. 
In downstate counties, where Democrats are seldom in power, patronage 
and concession sources are slender, and a Democratic money-raising arm 
would probably be very welcome. At present there seems to be only limited 
interest among Democratic part)' "professionals" in setting up a separate 
money-raising arm and in tr\ing to broaden the base of contributions. 

Democratic candidate and volunteer committees get ven,- little help from 
the regular Democratic organization. Labor unions are a major source of 
funds for these committees. Labor has traditionally preferred to allocate its 
contributions to specific candidates, hoping thereby to encourage more 
direct support for labor policies, rather than to diffuse its impact through 
general part)' support. These special committees also obtain additional funds 
from individual contributions and from committees out of state, such as the 
Committee for an Effective Congress. 


When one looks at this complex picture, one is struck by the competition 
for funds by committees and organizations at various levels. Not only does 
this duplicate many solicitations, but it makes it difficult for the donor to 
place his contribution most effectively. In this complex situation it is 
unlikely that the public will get to know who is supporting which candi- 
date, a bit of information which voters are entitled to know. Some people 
would get around this problem by centralizing money raising in one organi- 
zation or highly placed individual. The URF is one example of such an 
endeavor. Great Britain has worked a variation on this theme by central- 
izing responsibility for money raising and spending in a candidate's agent, 
and the law imposes severe penalties for money raising or spending without 
the agent's approval. This applies only to candidate funds raised in a 
constituency. It is frequently argued that this kind of centralization is the 
only realistic way of trying to impose limitations on contributions and 

There are additional questions relating to sources of funds that might be 
discussed. To what extent is the Republican party dependent on "big busi- 
ness" and the Democratic on "big labor" for support? Does any special 
interest group have an extraordinary' influence on party policies through 
financial support? How broad is the base of contributors for each party? 
Would broadening the base free party decision-making or alter party 
makeup? Is the centralized money- raising arm (like the URF) a good 
device for broadening a party base and making money raising visible and 
responsible? Are there other consequences of this method? 

Once Raised, How Is the Money Channeled? 

Generalization is difficult since practices will vary with specific campaign 
situations. On the whole, there is comparatively little transferring of funds 
from committee to committee in Illinois. In some states and at the national 
level one tends to find more committee transfers. It might be conjectured 
that in Illinois the financial independence of committees reflects the rela- 
tively independent and autonomous nature of the various campaign and 
party organizations. One can speculate further that they can maintain this 
autonomy because they do not depend on issues and public enthusiasm for 
basic support. Rather, basic support tends to flow from quid pro quo rela- 
tionships between party officials and segments of the economy dependent on 
the party for prosperity. 

The United Republican Fund has a budget agreed upon in advance by 
party and URF officials. As a general rule, one-third of the money raised in 
Cook County goes to the national committee, another third to the state 
committee, and the remaining third to the county committee. In downstate 
counties, usually about one-half remains at the county level, the other half 
moving on to the state URF, where again a certain portion is sent on to 


the national. Apparently other money raised by Republicans remains with 
the committee or candidate who is first recipient. 

On the Democratic side the information is more sketchy. Occasionally 
money goes from the Cook County Democratic committee to the Democratic 
national committee, but it is not a regular practice. More regularly, some of 
its funds may go to the state committee. Money raised by the Democratic 
national committee in Illinois seems to come from individual contributions. 
Candidate committees may on occasion get money from the regular party 
organization, but it is a more common practice for the candidates to be 
required to pay some kind of assessment to the regular party organization 
for the work the party presumably does on behalf of the whole ticket. 

For What Is the Money Spent? 

It is extremely difficult to get reliable information on this subject. No 
official reports are required by state law, and most records of this sort are 
considered partisan secrets by campaign and party committees. On the 
other hand, certain types of costs are characteristic of all campaigns, and the 
subject can be considered in this more general sense. ^ 

Organization costs like salaries, rent, utilities, travel, etc., are basic and 
tend to remain more or less constant no matter whether there is an extrava- 
gant or a sparse campaign expenditure. To put it another way, a certain 
amount of money is allocated to these basic costs; then, if additional funds 
are raised, they tend to be allocated to more elastic costs, like TV time, 
rather than to the addition of new staff to the headquarters. Thus, if 
campaign funds were very scarce, organization costs could become as high 
as 40 per cent of the total; but if funds were plentiful, they could drop to 5 
or 10 per cent. In one statewide campaign for which figures were available, 
they were about 20 per cent. 

Mass media costs like radio and TV time are perhaps the greatest con- 
sumer of campaign dollars. They are also the most elastic, absorbing without 
much additional thought or planning any unexpected arrival of funds. One 
state campaign committee bought only one five-minute time period and 
several spot announcements; still 30 per cent of the budget went for this 
item. This same committee spent another 10 per cent for newspaper adver- 

Most campaign committees also spend a fair proportion of their funds 
for additional means of communication, such as printing and distributing 
literature, billboard advertising, banners, stickers, buttons, etc. These costs 
consumed about 25 per cent of the dollars in the campaign for which 
there are figures. 

' See, for example, Alexander Heard, Money in Politics, Public Affairs Pamphlet 
No. 242, 1956; or his forthcoming The Costs of Democracy. 


Probably the most difficult costs to evaluate are election day expenses. 
Eveiy precinct organization has costs in getting out the vote. Some of the 
money distributed pays for valuable services, but some of it is paid because 
ward and precinct officers have come to expect it as a reward for the posi- 
tion they hold. The amount of money allocated to this purpose in any 
committee budget depends on many factors: the relationship of the com- 
mittee to the regular party organization, the activities and contributions of 
other candidates on the ticket, the over-all public interest and concern in 
the campaign, which, if high, may turn out the vote without the intervention 
of the party organization. In some campaigns election day expenses could 
run as high as 25 per cent, but for most campaigns it would be less than 
that. In connection with this aspect of campaign costs, many people think 
of vote buying. The best information available from around the country 
indicates that this practice is passing out of the picture, probably because 
of such factors as a generally high level of prosperity, increased literacy and 
education, the secret ballot, and public alertness and indignation about the 

In general, there is not as much reason for public concern about the 
spending of political money as there is about the raising of it. The way that 
money is spent is largely dictated by other factors. For example paying party 
officials to go out and work for the ticket seems to come about more from 
the characteristics of party organization than from the immoral or foolish 
decision of the man or committee responsible for spending campaign funds. 
In many localities this cost is negligible because campaign work by officials 
is volunteered. Even the allocation of funds to different kinds of communi- 
cation media is largely determined by the habitual attention patterns of 
media consumers. 

Many observers lament that the taste of the potential political consumer 
is not more cultivated. The technological advances of the mass media have 
produced so many competing stimuli for the attention of the average citizen 
that the emphasis in communication has shifted from informing the citizen 
to making the message attractive enough to grasp his attention. The major 
endeavor is to sell candidates on the basis of their superficial packaging, 
like cosmetics or soap, rather than to analyze and teach about political 
problems and issues. Since learning is hard work, the political communicator 
risks losing his audience if he tries to get them to think. It is this trend that 
has led to the "cult of personality" in American politics. In order to battle 
more effectively for the campaign audience, the politician has turned to the 
public relations man for advice and assistance.* In some instances all the 
major campaign decisions have been turned over to the PR men. This 

* See Stanley Kelley, Jr., Professional Public Relations and Political Power 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1956). 


trend certainly does not indicate that we are moving toward a better in- 
formed electorate. 

Legal Controls of Money in Politics 

Illinois is one of only five states that do not require reports of contri- 
butions and expenditures by political committees. Most states not only 
require these reports at stated intervals in election years, but also set limits 
on who may contribute, the maximum size of contributions, and the total 
amounts that given committees may spend. The only specific limitation in 
Illinois law is a prohibition against contributions from anyone connected 
with the liquor business. (Even this prohibition seems to be winked at in 
some quarters.) There was some agitation during the Stevenson administra- 
tion for a law requiring contribution and expenditure reports, but nothing 
came of it. Bills dealing with campaign expenditures were also introduced 
in both the 1957 and 1959 sessions of the Illinois legislature but were, in both 
cases, killed in committee. 

The experience of other states with corrupt practices legislation has not 
been completely satisfactory. Limits on size of contribution or on committee 
expenditures frequently have little relationship to the magnitude of the 
campaign task to be undertaken. For example, the laws in most states 
prohibit a candidate from spending more than $10,000 (sometimes even 
less) in a campaign; federal law prohibits a senatorial candidate from 
spending more than $25,000. Unrealistic limitations like these force candi- 
dates to set up volunteer committees to raise and spend funds on their 
behalf. Instead of limiting expenditures, these laws result in a further 
obscuring of information. In response to this problem ten states merely 
require the reports and place no limitations on size of expenditures. The 
hope is that this will ensure full disclosure and enable the public to act 
appropriately if a candidate or committee acts contrary to public concep- 
tions of fair play. The fear of public reaction is indeed present, but, instead 
of acting fairly and informing the public in all cases, in many instances the 
campaign manager simply decides not to report occurrences that he thinks 
the public might not like. Thus, one still is not sure of reliable information 
where publicity is the only legal requirement. 

These official reports might be made more reliable if some executive 
officer were given the specific responsibility for checking the reports and 
prosecuting violators. In most states one official, usually the secretary of 
state, receives the reports, and another, the attorney general, has the broad 
responsibility for prosecution; the upshot is that the reports are seldom 
examined for accuracy, completeness, or legality. Unless a state is prepared 
to police the reports and to make some effort to pass the information on 
to the public in advance of the election, the salutary effects of a reporting 
statute will not be realized. 


Prospects and Problems 

Many students of politics have come forth with suggestions for reform 
of political finance which are worthy of further discussion. 

As an inducement for contributing, and thus for broadening the financial 
base of parties, it has been suggested that political contributions be made 
deductible from state and federal income taxes or that tax credits be given 
for small contributions. Under the deduction system contributions up to a 
certain size (maybe $100 or $500) could be deducted from gross income 
before taxes are computed. Under the tax credit system the amount of the 
contribution up to a small size (maybe $10 or $25) would be subtracted 
from the tax payable once the tax had been computed. Both are indirect 
governmental subsidies for the maintenance of the political system. The tax 
credit system would be a clearer inducement for the small contributor and 
would probably broaden the base further than the tax deduction. Min- 
nesota allows tax deductions from the state income tax, and preliminary 
reports indicate general satisfaction with the statute, although the effect in 
broadening contributions has not yet been accurately measured. Illinois has 
no state income tax, and a deduction plan would therefore not be feasible; 
however, the federal government could be urged to inaugurate such a 
provision for the federal income tax. 

Such a law not only helps create incentive for contributions, but also 
implies tacit approval for the act of contributing. Widespread approval of 
political contributing as an honorable act and a civic duty is a prerequisite 
for a broad financial base for parties. If the public could be convinced they 
have as much a duty to contribute to their party as they do to contribute 
to their church, or to vote, the elimination of many of the unsavory aspects 
of politics could be hoped for. 

Another suggestion for broadening the financial base and for legitimizing 
contributions is to establish a financial foundation which would provide equal 
funds for candidates in both parties, or to establish a separate foundation 
for each party. These organizations would be legal entities separate from 
the parties; they would be governed by a separate board; contributions to 
them would be tax exempt; and they would provide more constant and 
stable income for the parties. This type of organization has some similarities 
to the United Republican Fund described above. Establishing such institu- 
tions would present many problems, such as selecting the board and per- 
sonnel, defining who would be eligible for grants, and preventing the holders 
of the money from controlling party policies. However, these foundations 
would make political contributing attractive to many more people. 

It has been suggested repeatedly over the years that the government 
could give direct or indirect support to the parties. Direct support could be 
in the form of a grant of money to each party. Indirect subsidies could be 


accomplished through free maihng privileges, publication of a campaign 
information pamphlet, or free use of governmental facilities, as well as the 
tax subsidy described above. Indirect subsidies have been tried several places 
and seem to work well: e.g., Britain allows to each candidate one free 
mailing to every voter in a constituency. Direct subsidies have never been 
tried in the continental United States; however, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and 
Puerto Rico have experimented with the method. For both kinds of subsi- 
dies, problems of eligibility and limitations on amounts would have to be 
settled in order to prevent raiding of the public treasury. 

Closely allied to subsidies is another British practice, allowing each party 
a certain amount of free radio and TV time. This is simple to provide where 
facilities are state owned. But even private facilities are state licensed, and 
provision of a minimum amount of time could be made one of the require- 
ments for licensing. In fact, there is some indication that the networks 
would give some free time to the major parties without being required to do 
so if they could be relieved of the possibility of having to give equal time to 
every person who might claim he was a serious contender for office. 

The main value of the variety of subsidies discussed is that they would 
help to equalize access to voters, whereas under present circumstances the 
party with the richer constituents may have an advantage. Subsidies would 
also be a recognition that the political process is a public concern and 
responsibility. They are a means of insuring that the citizen can hear all the 
political messages he has a desire to hear. 

Increasingly, one hears pleas for a shorter ballot. The main justification 
given is that it would simplify the decision task of the overworked voter, 
but fewer candidates would also lessen the pressure for campaign money. 
Since the total information task of campaigns would be simplified, it should 
be possible to get a better informed electorate for a smaller expenditure of 

Perhaps the most gnawing question for observers of political money is, 
"Can money buy elections?" Stated in a related fashion, it becomes, "Do 
large contributors have undue influence on party and public policy?" No 
one can give a definite answer to this; reliable data could come only from 
an exhaustive examination of the psychological decision process of large 
numbers of governmental decision makers. Confusion also arises from the 
fact that a contribution is seldom the only way that a large donor is related 
to a public official. A donor generally also has done some work on behalf 
of the candidate, he is usually a man of some substance in the community, 
and quite frequently he is also a personal friend of the official. 

More reasonably, the question should be rephrased, "Can a person who 
has not contributed find alternative channels to decision makei's?" Unques- 
tionably, candidates welcome other kinds of support in addition to monetary 


support. The dedicated doorbell ringer in a campaign provides a type of 
service that money simply can not buy. In the North Carolina survey, 
political contributors and leaders were asked if they thought time or money 
contributions were considered more valuable. The closer the respondent 
was to the political process, the more likely he was to prefer time and work 
contributions. Of course, support by time and money is not the only channel 
to decision makers. Joining one's fellows in a special interest group provides 
a voice that the decision maker can not ignore. Individual letters or visits 
to oiBcials also are almost sure to get a fair hearing. One political savant 
has observed that the large contributor does not get a better hearing than 
the ordinary citizen ; he may get only a quicker hearing. In the final analysis, 
it is the vote that insures that these channels stay open to all citizens. 

To turn this thought around, it can be said that it is impossible to steal 
an election while the public is looking. It is when the public is unconcerned 
and apathetic that the influence of money in politics need be feared. With- 
out public concern, any number of legal restrictions can not keep out 
corruption. With public concern, a minimum of legal requirements will 

The greatest danger in the political process is the widespread feeling that 
politics is a dirty, rotten business that good and decent people have as little 
contact with as possible. Generally accompanying this feeling is a sense of 
futility and disinterest which serves to breed the very thing deplored. Our 
analytical talents must be turned to discovering how this perception of the 
political process is developed in people, which may then give some guidance 
toward how it might be changed. Until the public takes responsibility for 
widespread financial support of parties and campaigns, there is little hope 
that the inequities and corruption now found can be eradicated. 




There have always existed extra-party groups which are authorized (or 
assume the right) to speak for the regular party in certain circumstances. 
The extra-party oi~ganization is distinguished from the party organization 
bv one fact: it does not have control of the legally prescribed party ma- 
chinery. The extra-party organization is distinguished from the interest 
group — although the dividing line is thin in some cases — primarily in two 
ways: the extra-party organization is composed entirely of persons who 
allege themselves to be members of one particular party, and it attempts to 
press its views on public policy through one party only. 

Some Reasons for the Development of Extra-Party Groups 

Certain facts of political life have more or less influence in the creation 
of extra-party organizations. For example, the party leadership promotes 
extra-party organizations and activity among young people because they 
will someday come of age and provide new leadership, and among women 
because their peculiar social circumstances seem to demand a "bow" in their 

However, other factors are important to the growth of extra-party or- 
ganizations. One is the looseness with which party membership is defined 
in the United States (and Illinois). Everyone is privileged to choose his 
party by simply declaring his preference. Each party thus contains, sub- 
sumed under one label, great masses of people who actually vary significantly 
in their attitudes towards public policy, the party, and even politics itself. 
These people, of all shades of opinion and degrees of loyalty, are demo- 
cratically privileged to seek control of their party. By voting in the party 
primary, they have paid the only price that is legally demanded of them. 
They are also privileged to try to influence their party's attitudes in regard 
to public policy. In fact, the ideological motivation is usually a very strong 
stimulus for the extra-party organizational member. He often does not want, 
and usually can not gain, a seat within the ranks of the actual party leader- 
ship. If he wants a tangible reward, it is usually a public rather than a 
party office he covets. 

While party membership is thus loosely defined, resulting in mass parties 
which encompass all opinions along the political spectrum, party leadership 

^ This study omits consideration of the ad hoc candidate-oriented groups and the 
bi-partisan groups which work for constitutional reform, bond elections, etc. 


tends to be oligarchic. One factor causing the tendency towards oligarchy 
is, of course, the extensive legal prescription of party machinery and party 
processes. In Illinois, for example, the statutes regulate minutely the com- 
position of the various part\- committees, including the methods by \v'hich 
committeemen may be chosen, and give them strong controls over party 

The major reason for the tendency towards oligarchy, however, is that 
party leadership carries with it not only some influence over the attitude of 
the party towards public policy, but control over the rewards available to the 
party: patronage and prestige. In fact, these latter rewards undoubtedly 
serve as the primary stimuli for most "professional" party activity. They 
serve, too, to place a premium on the type of person who can get out the 
vote. Hence, the party "pro" is an activist, while the extra-party man is 
often a "thinker." The age-old quarrel between doers and thinkers often 
plays a role in the relationship that develops. 

Of course, one should not overemphasize the separation between party 
doers and party thinkers. As has already been noted, the regular party 
leadership often has a hand in the creation of some extra-party organiza- 
tions. Moreover, it looks with only mild disdain on the strictly intellectual 
group. The real rub comes only wdth those extra-part}' organizations that 
compete with the existing leadership for party control. In this case the 
relationships are further strained because a feeling often exists among party 
leaders that the extra-party group has been founded to promote the 
candidacy of someone or of some group that has not actively served in the 
legions of the party. 

The Three Types of Extra-Party Organizations 

Extra-party organizations arise from different stimuli, maintain varying 
relationships with the regular party organizations, and have different con- 
ceptions of their roles in the political process. Generally speaking, and for 
the sake of clarity and order, it is possible to divide the extra-party organi- 
zations into three major categories. The first categoiy includes extra-party 
organizations created by the party leadership for special reasons. In this 
category would be the Young Democrats and Young Republicans, who 
appeal to potential voters; the United Republican Fund, which is a special 
group for fund raising; and the women's organizations, which w^ere brought 
mto being by the Nineteenth Amendment and were continued to appeal to 
women voters. 

A second categoiy includes those organizations, which may or may not 
be established by the party, that are largely content to offer public policy 
suggestions to the established party leadership and to criticize the leadership 
of the opposition party. Thus, they compete for the "mind" of the party, 


although not for control of the leadership. Included here would be the 
Committee on Illinois Government, a Democratic group. 

The third category includes those groups which are for one reason or 
another dissatisfied with the regular party leadership, and which attempt 
to compete for control of the party. In Illinois, the Democratic Federation 
of Illinois, active on the state level, and the Abraham Lincoln National 
Republican Club, active on the national level, would fall into this category.^ 
If each of the three major types of extra-party organizations is examined in 
turn, some of the problems will become evident. 

Party-Sponsored Extra-Party Organizations 

Those extra-party organizations created by the party leadership to serve 
some special party purpose (e.g., the Young Democrats, Young Republicans, 
United Republican Fund,^ and the various women's organizations of both 
parties) are so closely aligned with the existing party leadership that they are 
subject to the latter's control. If any serious challenge to existing authority 
were to arise, it could be (and often is) promptly squelched. There is, for 
example, no question but that both the Young Democrats and Young Re- 
publicans in Illinois are firmly under the domination of their respective 
seniors. There have been numerous complaints made by representatives of 
both groups against the rigidity of the senior part)' and the plasticity of their 
own leadership. 

Evidence also seems to indicate that not only are the women's organiza- 
tions firmly in accord with the regular party leadership by whom their 
leaders are appointed, but also that they actually perform much of the 
"leg work" for that leadership in downstate counties. 

With limited exceptions, these extra-party organizations do not con- 
stitute serious threats to the control of the established party leadership. Do 
they, however, promote the causes of the party as well as might be expected? 
A definite answer, of course, can not be given, but the weight of opinion 
is that they do not. Both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans 
are at best anemic organizations, torn between the natural inclinations of 
youth to ideals and the practical demands of their seniors for party activism. 
To a lesser extent, the same holds true of the women's groups. They neither 
appeal heavily to feminine morality nor provide the women with the 
excitement they crave. The continued growth of the League of Women 
Voters, an organization which originally arose from the suffragette move- 
ment, may be an indication that the parties are not appealing to women as 

^ The Independent Voters of Illinois was investigated, but has been omitted from 
consideration. Although its actions would appear to make it a Democratic extra- 
party group, the IVI has some Republican members and has supported Republican 
candidates at times. 

* Described in Professor Milbrath's paper. 


effectively as they might. The League at least gives women a vicarious sense 
of participation on a high moral plane. 

It appears that the part)'-stimulated extra-party organizations should be 
examined with a view to taking advantage of the natural political inclina- 
tions of women and young people. As long as the leadership of these extra- 
part\- organizations does not represent a threat to party leadership, frank 
recognition might be taken of their potential "ideological" base, and less 
emphasis might be put on developing recruits for the party cadre. These 
few leaders who are necessary can be co-opted from the cream at the top 
of a much larger membership. 

The "intellectual" Extra-Party Organization 

The second type of extra-part)- organization, as noted, may or may not 
be established by the party leadership, and, in any sense, seems largely 
content to offer public policy suggestions. In Illinois, the Committee on 
Illinois Government falls into this categoiy.* 

Organized at the beginning of the Stratton administration, the Com- 
mittee on Illinois Government largely represents the liberal wing of the 
Illinois Democratic party. It is not under the control of the regular parts- 
leadership in Illinois. Yet, because it is largely a fact-finding agency that 
contents itself with acting as a "watchdog" over the Republican administra- 
tion in Springfield, the Committee has gained the tolerance of the part\' 
leaders now in control, \vho have praised it for "extremely effective work" 
in recent campaigns. 

According to the Committee's own literature, it has performed various 
intellectual tasks for the part)-, such as the follo^ving: 

Maintained a complete file of clippings on subjects involving State government 
taken from Illinois newspapers published all over the state. 

Published The Stratton Record, a 1954 campaign manual detailing instances of 
corruption and bad administration under Governor Stratton. . . . 

Drafted "planks" for the 1954 and 1956 State Democratic platforms. 

Despite the glowing tributes paid by party leaders to the Committee on 
Illinois Government, the future relationship between the CIG and the part\- 
seems uncertain. As long as the Republican party controls the state ad- 
ministration, it seems likely that the CIG can continue its role of an 
"intellectual thorn" in the Republican side. Already, however, some of the 
more activist members of the CIG have turned their attention to and their 
guns on the leadership of the Democratic party. Continued success of the 
Republicans at the polls might drain the lifeblood from the CIG. On the 
other hand, a Democratic victory at the polls in 1960 (or soon thereafter) 
could be equally troublesome; in this event the CIG's role as intellectual 

* A similar, but not identical, development on the national level in the Republi- 
can party can be seen in the so-called Percy Committee reports. 


critic would become either superfluous or. if directed toward a Democratic 
administration, divisive. 

For promoting the w elfare of the Democratic party, there is, nevertheless, 
much potential advantage in the Committee on Illinois Government, or 
an agencv like it. The same might be said for a similar agency devoted to 
the Republican cause. \Vere it possible to establish a party headquarters 
that functioned actively on a full-time basis, it might be helpful to incor- 
porate within it a research or fact-finding agency that would ser\e the 
same ends as the CIG. 

Dissident Extra-Pcrty Organizations 

The third categon.- includes those groups which are for one reason or 
another dissatisfied with the regular part}- leadership, and which attempt to 
supplant or control it. Both the Democratic Federation of Illinois and the 
Abraham Lincoln National Republican Club fall into this categon,-, but 
because the Abraham Lincoln Club has little influence in state affairs, our 
discussion will be confined to the DFI. 

The immediate stimulus for the creation of the DFI \\as undoubtedly the 
feeling among the liberal wing of the Democratic part)' that the party leader- 
ship had "snatched defeat from the jaws of victon," in 1956. First, then, 
the DFI was formed as a protest against the "slating" of gubernatorial can- 
didates in 1956, and thus it represented a criticism of the established part\- 
leadership. L^nderlying the immediate cause for the formation of the DFI. 
however, were other motives that also reflected dissatisfaction with the 
party leaders. For some of its adherents, the DFI represents a way for the 
downstate area to gain a greater voice in the part\-. However, for others it 
represents an attack on downstate Democratic leaders. In some of the older 
areas of Chicago, the DFI seems to have a strong ethnic base, representing in 
some cases a protest against Irish Catholic domination of the part\\ In the 
fringe areas of Chicago, the DFI gains strength from members of the upper 
middle class, ^vho are shut out of Democratic leadership because they lack 
a strong voter base. Their strongest complaint is against the "closed" part\- 
machine: hence, the DFI made an effort to get a secret primar\' la\v passed 
in the 1959 General Assemblv. Finallv. the DFI contains large numbers of 
people w'ho are nominal followers of Governor Adlai Stevenson. 

Regular party response to the DFI has varied according to locale. 
Chicago leaders ha\"e not been openly hostile to the group; they may feel 
there is a genuine need for part)- competition. Downstate leaders, on the 
other hand, have often been more critical: part\- competition in these areas, 
some feel, would destroy the part\''s already tenuous position. 

To a certain extent, the DFI is suffering from political schizophrenia, 
as shown by its indecision on whether to support Stephen A. Mitchell in his 
bid for the priman- nomination for governor, or to support a regular 


orsfanization candidate. Mitchell, former Democratic national chairman, 
encouraged the creation of the DFI. The first president of the DFI is now 
the co-chairman of the Mitchell for Governor committee. There is no 
question but that a large share of the DFI membership favors Mitchell for 
governor. On the other hand, the leadership of the DFI has strongly re- 
sented the charge that the organization is the handmaiden of Mitchell. The 
DFI seeks instead, its leaders say, to ensure that the Democratic partv' in 
Illinois will promote the cause of liberalism and the election of "good" 
candidates. "Good" candidate is to them a generic term. Consequently, 
at the October 10, 1959, "issues convention" of the DFI, both of the 
featured speakers were men prominently mentioned as likely candidates for 
governor in 1960."* 

The role of the DFI is at this time in doubt. Composed of people \\ho 
are strongly oriented toward the partv-, the organization wants nothing more 
than to have the party ^\"in the 1960 elections. Yet it also would like to 
h?'-e a voice in the choosing of Democratic candidates. The fulfillment of 
the latter hope is. to the DFI. a prerequisite to the enjo\-ment of the first. 
Also, the DFI will probably have to maintain its opposition to the urban 
party organization, or it will lose much of its reason for being. 


The extra-part\' organization is an institution as old as the parties them- 
selves. Because there are only two major parties in an essentially pluralistic 
society, the parties themselves form extra-party organizations to attract 
significant special groups. Political parties in this country are not organized, 
generally, to speak with a clear voice on matters of public policy. Although 
parties lack an authoritative voice in matters of public policy, they function 
through a party machiner\- that tends toward oligarchy in structure, espe- 
cially in metropolitan areas. In many ways, metropolitan political party 
organization rests on a base that seems to be losing some of its vitalitv. In 
the past, metropolitan party leadership has often failed to take into ac- 
count the rise of the middle class, the existence of intellectually-oriented 
voters, the growth in number of Negroes, the aspirations of reformers, and 
the increasinsr role of militant labor leaders. Parentheticallv, it should be 
noted that the Republican party, which is weak in Chicago and the East 
St. Louis area, has had fewer extra-party organizations stirring its ranks. 

The problems the extra-party organization poses for the regular part)^ 
leadership depend upon into which category the particular group falls. For 

'Since this paper was written, the DFI, in its January, 1960, convention, indi- 
cated a "preference" for Stephen A. Mitchell, but did not actually endorse him 
because "the organization also has many members who favor State Treasurer Joseph 
Lohman and Cook County judge Otto Kerner." The emphasis on "preference" 
rather than "endorsement,"' of course, is just one more indication of the DFFs prob- 
lem of operating within, but not as an official part of, the Democratic party in Illinois. 


the party-sponsored groups, the major questions are whether what the 
groups are organized to accomphsh might better be achieved in another way, 
and, even more fundamentally, whether the purposes for organizing the 
groups are valid. Specifically, do the young people's organizations and the 
women's groups function in the manner most rational for them? If not, 
what are the alternatives? 

The intellectually-oriented groups that do not seek active control of the 
party machineiy raise some interesting questions and reflect upon the 
irresponsibility of party structure. Should not the parties, especially in a 
large industrial state like Illinois, maintain full-time research agencies to 
provide public policy statements? If the answer is "Yes,"' then should not 
the party organization be restructured to provide authority for these state- 
ments? Or is it better to continue with the present arrangement, where an 
extra-party organization issues statements that lack "party" authority and 
are. therefore, not widely publicized? 

The natural response of party leaders to a group that is sharply critical 
of them is to criticize in turn, and, if possible, to thwart the growth of the 
offending group. However, party leaders might also ask whether the exist- 
ence of an extra-party organization of the type represented by the DFI 
reflects basic problems in the party's appeal, leadership, and operations. Is 
not the problem one of accommodation of the progressive elements into the 
regular party structure, and might not this problem plague the Republican 
party as well as the Democratic? To a certain extent, the Republican party 
in the Chicago area seems to be but an extension of the downstate group; 
contrariwise, the downstate Democratic party seems to be an extension of 
the Chicago metropolitan party. Is there a chance that the existence of 
intra-party rivalry may stir up the parties enough to make Illinois a two- 
party state on a local as well as a statewide basis? Fundamentally, is intra- 
party competition helpful to the party or harmful? 




Concurrent with the regular political party operations, both independent 
organizations and pressure groups have played an important role in state 
and national politics. This paper is designed to supplement the discussions 
of the parties and their auxiliary groups by examining the organized efforts 
at participation by groups other than those of a purely partisan character. 
An analysis of the role of the citizen as an individual voter is not con- 

The real significance of the current trend of developments lies in com- 
prehending the change in emphasis in the concept of what is meant by 
participation. While all of the programs which emanate from the various 
groups throughout the countiy and in the State of Illinois stress the im- 
portance of voting, the student of politics becomes immediately aware that 
the new "political participation" implies something more. Through profes- 
sional associations, trade associations, unions, and independent organiza- 
tions, the citizen is being prodded to take a more active interest and to play 
a greater role in the political affairs of his community, state, and nation. 
He is being urged to analyze issues, meet candidates and office holders, 
become familiar with the party structure and its leadership, and even 
participate actively in campaigns either as a candidate or as a worker for 
the party of his choice. 

The legitimate interest of special groups in the political process is well 
recognized. Organized efforts representing many facets of our economic and 
social structures have long been brought to bear upon the legislative bodies 
of the country. Lobbying does and will continue to constitute an important 
segment of the operation of our democratic processes. These new educa- 
tional programs aimed at greater participation in politics are not intended 
as substitutes for the accepted practices of lobbying, but rather as supple- 
ments to that process. 

A detailed analysis of all the programs in Illinois, either actual or con- 
templated, is beyond the scope of this paper. In the sections which follow, 
an attempt will be made to generalize about some of the group efforts to 
encourage political participation. No prescribed order of discussion has been 
selected, but, in view of the nationwide publicity which the current busi- 
ness interest in politics has received, it seems appropriate to initiate this 
discussion of Illinois activities with this group. 



The history of American poHtics clearly demonstrates a long-standing 
interest by the business community in the political process. In fact, a stu- 
dent of politics might well assert that at the turn of the century the activity 
of business interests in politics had reached its zenith. Certainly the advent 
of the depression and the changes in the nature of corporate management 
since the 1930's produced a retrenchment of many business interests from 
the political arena. Except in a few states and localities, business leaders 
in recent years have assumed a more inactive role on the political scene and 
have resorted largely to financial contributions and lobbying techniques as 
their basic modus operandi for political participation. This attitude was 
reflected in the activities of many of the business trade associations. The 
Illinois Manufacturers' Association, unlike its Pennsylvania counterpart, has 
not played a direct role in the formulation of party policies in campaigns. 

For the most part, Illinois businessmen, with only individual exceptions, 
such as the Williamson committee in Cook County, have carefully sought 
to disassociate themselves in a corporate fashion from partisan politics. 
Companies have meticulously avoided taking a stand on controversial issues 
unless their direct interests were clearly at stake. Even in these latter cases, 
many corporations have relied upon their trade associations to represent 
them or else have hurriedly rushed off a spokesman to Springfield at the 
last minute. As the political complexion of Illinois has changed through 
increased urbanization, many corporation representatives have experienced 
increased difficulty in securing a friendly hearing at Springfield. The 
political naivete of the new corporate managers has been in evidence, 
and their representatives have been puzzled when conscientious legislators 
have posed a question, "What has your company done to help me get 

For whatever motive, the fact remains that the businessmen in Illinois 
have become increasingly aware of the importance of comprehending the 
operations and even machinations of practical politics. As a result, a veri- 
table deluge of programs of practical politics has been developed, and the 
interested corporate executive in Illinois finds opportunities to expand his 
understanding of political activity. 

The United States Chamber of Commerce developed an "Action Course 
in Practical Politics," which has evoked considerable interest throughout 
the nation. The course consists of a series of eight pamphlets which are 
designed to be utilized in discussion groups either by individual companies 
within their own structure or in unified efforts conducted by local chambers 
of commerce. In several cities throughout the state, local chambers of com- 
merce have inaugurated seminars in practical politics based upon this course. 
A similar training program, which is available to individual companies, 
has also been designed by the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. 


The Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry has developed a 
course of its own which seeks to bring together representatives of various 
companies to receive instruction as potential leaders of programs which 
their companies might seek to inaugurate. In addition to the formalized 
course, participants in the Chicago Association's program receive much 
bibliographical material and are exposed to speeches by political leaders of 
both parties in the State of Illinois. 

Illinois businessmen have also been attracted to special courses conducted 
by the Effective Citizens' Organization. This private group sponsors inten- 
sive two-day sessions on college campuses, utilizing not only college facilities 
but members of the college teaching staff as well. Two such ECO programs 
have recently been completed in the Chicago area. 

Some individual companies have developed programs of their own. 
Impressed by the apparent success of the program established more than a 
year ago by General Electric in New York, many Illinois businessmen are 
contemplating the undertaking of a company program in the area of prac- 
tical politics. At the time of this writing, however, many such individual 
political training programs in Illinois remain in the planning stage. While 
the attitude that business should participate more actively in politics con- 
tinues to grow, how best to accomplish this result remains obscure. Inevi- 
tably some educational programs will emerge, but whether or not mere 
edification will provide motivation remains a moot question. 


In contrast to business, labor historically followed the advice of Samuel 
Gompers and remained out of politics in the early stages of its development. 
However, contemporary labor leadership has long realized the importance 
and effectiveness of interest in practical politics, a fact that is clearly 
demonstrable by the activities of the old Political Action Committee of the 
CIO and the more recent efforts of the Committee on Political Education 
which developed through the merger of the AFL-CIO. Furthermore, labor 
leaders have been astute enough to realize that mere voter education is not 
the most effective device by which to accomplish their political ends. As a 
result, the programs of COPE emphasize action and direct participation in 
the political process. 

In Illinois, the unions have not been as immediately effective as have 
the United Auto Workers in Michigan. This does not mean, however, that 
Illinois labor leaders have not been active. In fact, in some of the more 
industrialized areas of the state, labor has legitimately earned the respect of 
the practicing politician. 

Despite some claims to the contrary, there is little evidence that Illinois 
labor leaders have sought to operate directly through the vehicle of the 
political party. Instead, labor support has been offered to individual candi- 


dates rather than to the party committees. In some instances this support 
has been in the form of financial contributions, while in other cases volun- 
teers have been furnished to work in the precincts and assist in the general 
conduct of the campaign. In addition, labor has not hesitated to educate 
its membership on the issues through association publications, and to en- 
dorse selected candidates openly. Thus, the Illinois labor movement actively 
seeks the election of its friends and the defeat of its enemies. 

The effectiveness of the role of organized labor in Illinois politics be- 
comes more apparent eveiy year. Candidates who have been elected with 
labor support feel a legitimate responsibility to their benefactors. At the 
time of this writing, there is little reason to doubt that Illinois labor will 
continue to intensify and sharpen its efforts in the area of political action. 
The pamphlets which are available from the AFL-CIO headquarters in 
Chicago on political action rank with the very best publications in the field 
to date. 


The most powerful of the farm organizations in Illinois is the Farm 
Bureau. Since any member of a county Farm Bureau automatically becomes 
a member of the Illinois Agricultural Association, the state organization is 
more than a mere federation of county groups. 

The lAA lobbies at Springfield and cooperates with the national organi- 
zation in Washington. Members of the Farm Bureau are urged to vote and 
participate in the party of their choice. Positions on state issues are assumed 
through resolutions adopted in a state convention. The lAA position on 
these issues, including many referenda which are not directly concerned 
with farm problems, is published and circulated among the members. While 
individual candidates are not openly endorsed, members of the state legisla- 
ture and the Illinois congressional delegation are "rated" on their votes on 
farm issues. Like labor, the Farm Bureau suggests that those who have 
"good" or "excellent" farm records deserve the farmers' support. 

In addition to the lAA and the county Farm Bureaus, both the Grange 
and the Farmers' Union operate in Illinois. Neither of these latter groups, 
however, is as large or as effective as the lAA. 

League of Women Voters 

Operating in a nonpartisan fashion, the Illinois League of Women 
Voters, like its national counterpart, has sought to educate the public on 
issues and candidates. The League carefully seeks to avoid endorsing any 
particular candidate for office, but it has taken an active stand in support 
of issues that have appeared as referenda on the ballot. 

The Illinois League has available for distribution a large number of 
books and pamphlets relating to Illinois politics and government. In addi- 
tion, the League periodically issues statements on matters of current import. 


The Illinois Voter's Handbook, published by the League, contains much 
valuable data relating to state election laws and requirements. 

As a part of their program to enlighten the voter about candidates and 
issues, local divisions of the League frequently conduct nonpartisan political 
rallies. Candidates from both parties are invited to attend these public 
meetings and present their views on the issues involved in the campaign. 
The League also circulates questionnaires among candidates for office 
soliciting their opinions on specific questions. The results of these ques- 
tionnaires are then published and made available for general distribution 
among the voters as an educational service. At all times the League strives 
for fairness in these presentations and remains independent from the point 
of view of either of the political parties. While the League may cooperate 
in general campaigns to get out the vote, its main function is educational, 
and its officers are prohibited from being associated with either political 
party in any official capacity. 

The Illinois Citizenship Clearing House 

Under the leadership of Judge Arthur T. Vanderbilt, a national organi- 
zation known as the Citizenship Clearing House was established on the 
campus of New York University. Support from the Falk and Ford Founda- 
tions has enabled the national headquarters to establish regional or state 
affiliates throughout the country. The Illinois affiliate currently operates 
through the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of 

Dedicated to the principle that "Better Minds Make Better Politics," 
the ICCH seeks to inspire college students to take a more active interest in 
the party of their choice. All the colleges of Illinois are welcome to affiliate 
with the ICCH, which serves as a clearing house of political information 
and affords statewide political participation and educational opportunities. 
Last year, for example, the ICCH sponsored an all-day meeting at Spring- 
field where student delegates from participating schools were able to observe 
the legislature and hear addresses by state executive and legislative officials. 
Participating schools were later invited to nominate students for an intern- 
ship experience in the state government. Student-oriented programs have 
been supplemented by special symposiums for faculty members and political 

Beyond its own immediate programs, the ICCH encourages affiliate 
members to develop political participation programs on their own campuses. 
The total aim of the effort is to produce an interest in politics at the college 
level which will continue in later life. 

Other Groups 

Like other states, Illinois experiences political activity by professional 
associations, such as the legal, medical, and teachers' groups. Usually these 


associations participate only sporadically, when specific issues before the 
state legislature have a direct bearing on their professional interests, and 
only by attempting to influence public opinion and, particularly, individual 

An analysis of all the groups in Illinois which participate in one form 
or another in the political process constitutes an impossible task. We must 
recognize the existence of citizens' leagues, better government associations, 
the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, and the Taxpayers' Federation of 
Illinois, all of which are engaged mainly in lobbying. 


The role of special interest groups in Illinois politics should not be 
minimized. To date, four facets of political participation have been utilized 
by these organizations: 

1. Direct attempts to influence the legislative process through lobbying. 

2. Direct participation in political campaigns through the contribution 
of funds, workers, and services. 

3. Indirect participation through educational programs aimed at their 
own members or the general public in support of their positions on issues, 
or through the endorsement of specific candidates. 

4. Indirect participation through educational programs designed to 
interest their own members and associates in individually assuming more 
active roles in the political process. 

Some special considerations need summarization. First of all, the future 
of all these educational programs remains indefinite. Business will need to 
take two steps to guarantee any success: management must assure em- 
ployees that participation in politics will not be detrimental to their employ- 
ment opportunities; and training programs must emphasize a bipartisan or 
nonpartisan approach. If business leadership envisions these programs as 
a counterforce to COPE, they are doomed to failure. Candidly speaking, 
business, labor, farm, and professional groups all pose a dilemma for 
themselves as they encourage greater political participation. On the one 
hand, they anticipate a return for expenditures on such programs, at least 
in the form of support for their interests. On the other hand, their pro- 
grams may encourage greater activity by those who do not hold their point 
of view. Labor particularly has experienced this dilemma when, as in the 
Taft-Ferguson campaign in Ohio in 1950, a fight for principles caused it 
to support an inferior candidate. 

Second, the attitude assumed by the regular party organizations toward 
those individuals who have been stimulated to greater participation and 
interest as a result of exposure to the programs of these various organizations' 
is a vital consideration. Should the party regulars disdain the assistance of 
these new people, the programs will lose their vitality. On the other hand, 


if party leaders welcome this reservoir of interested personnel^ better parties 
and better candidates may result. 

Third, all of these various efforts may serve to awaken a more vital 
interest in politics on the part of the citizens in general. A reduction in the 
public apathy toward politics might distress the politicians, but could 
strengthen the democratic process and help eliminate the feeling that 
"politics is a dirty business." 

Finally, the long-range benefit which might be derived from these 
programs will, in large measure, depend upon good leadership and a con- 
tinuing effort. The college and independent programs require continued 
financial support, and the business programs must not be a mere fad. At 
the same time, business, labor, farm, and professional groups must revitalize 
their own thinking to produce broad constructive programs, rather than 
assume only narrowly selfish positions or act in a negative manner. 




Political parties in Illinois are minutely regulated by the state statutes. 
The structure of the parties is set forth in detail, and their test of member- 
ship, methods of nominating and electing candidates to public office, and 
convention machinery are specified in the laws. This statutory prescription 
provides the framework in which the formal and informal aspects of party 
action take place. ^ 

Membership in the Illinois Republican party is loosely defined, indi- 
vidually declared by requesting a Republican primary ballot. No test of 
party membership other than this is required. Membership can be ascer- 
tained only if one has access to the permanent registration forms deposited in 
the office of the county clerk or election board. Although the statute pro- 
hibits a person from changing his party affiliation for a 23-month period, he 
might never again support the party after a primary declaration. 

How Party Officers Are Chosen 

The "grass roots" officer of the party is the precinct committeeman in 
all parts of the state except Cook County. There the ward committeeman 
in the City of Chicago and the township committeeman in the remainder of 
the county serve as the party base. Committeemen are elected at the pri- 
mary election, those from the downstate precincts for a two-year term, and 
those from Cook County for a four-year term. Thus, at the party primary 
the Republican voter elects the party worker. 

These committeemen form the hard core of party organization, for it is 
upon them that the success or failure of the party's effort depends. Miti- 
gating against the urgency of strong party allegiance or discipline is the 
choosing of committeemen by election. Anyone presenting a petition signed 
by ten Republican voters in his precinct may have his name placed upon the 
ballot. If he is elected, he may or may not serve the party well. There is 
no way to remove him until the next primary. Republican committeemen 
are not under pressure to produce results to the same degree as are those of 
the Democratic party, and have in numerous instances been less vigorous or 
less bound to party discipline. 

A somewhat different situation prevails in Cook County, for in Chicago 
precinct captains and workers in each ward are appointed by the ward 
committeeman, and precinct captains in the township organizations in the 

^ See the Appendix for a statutory digest applying to both parties. 


rest of the county are appointed by the township committeemen. The 
appointed workers have a greater stake in the party organization and tend 
to work harder than those elected in the downstate areas. The organization 
in Cook Count)' and Chicago tends toward more cohesiveness in the prosaic 
duties of precinct work than is evident downstate. 

The statutes further provide for the election of other party officials, all 
of whom are less important, in the estimation of the author, than are the 
precinct, ward, or township committeemen. 

Representative district committeemen are elected for a two-year term 
from all the representative districts except those in Cook County. Where 
the district is composed of three or more counties or parts of counties, a 
committeeman is elected from each county or part of a county; if the 
district is made up of two counties or parts of counties, three are elected 
for the district, two from the county or part of a county polling the largest 
number of votes in the primary. The former is illustrated by the 52nd 
district, which is composed of five counties, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomeiy, 
Christian, and Shelby: the latter by the 39th district, Rock Island and 
Mercer counties. If the district comprises only one county, like the 36th 
district, Du Page County, three members elected from the district form the 
representative district committee. In Cook County, again the exception, 
township and ward committeemen in each representative district function 
as district committeemen. State central committeemen are elected for a 
four-year term at the primary, one from each congressional district, or 
25 in all. 

Although a repi'esentative committeeman or a state central committee- 
man is elected from a relatively large electoral area, his importance as a 
party worker is limited. Most are unknown to the rank and file of the 
party, and they perform their functions unheralded. Here again it may be 
emphasized that the precinct, ward, or township committeeman mans the 
most active party groups. 

Organization and Functions of Party Committees 

The party officials elected in the primary are formed into a series of 
committees. The township committee, which consists of all the precinct 
committeemen in the township, functions only to determine the time and 
place for holding the biennial caucus for the nomination of candidates for 
office in those townships that do not use petitions or primaries for nomina- 
tions. Many townships include only a single precinct, in which case the 
committeeman alone performs this function. 

The municipal committee, composed of the precinct committeemen in 
downstate municipalities or the ward or township committeemen in Chicago 
and Cook County, performs a vital job for the party if the municipal elec- 
tions are partisan. The municipal committee may become an important 


factor in the party's activity in the state, and may even challenge the posi- 
tion of a county committee. 

This latter group, the county central committee, is generally the most 
active functioning organization of the party, exercising vigorous control over 
party activities in the county. The success of Republican fortunes in a 
county may be determined by the effectiveness of the work of the committee- 
men and the leadership of the county chairman, who is the strongest indi- 
\idual in the party system. In fact, a county chairman who has the support 
of his committee, especially in a populous county, can determine the fortunes 
of nominees, local and state. The bailiwick of the county chairman is limited 
by the county boundaries, but in a populous county his control goes beyond 
the county, and in many instances his influence extends further than that 
of the chairman of the state central committee. 

The number of functions performed by the county chairman adds to his 
political status. In a congressional district comprising more than one county, 
the county chairmen and the state central committeeman, who serves as 
chairman, make up the congressional committee. The importance this 
committee may have was shown in the election of 1958, when the Repub- 
lican candidate for Congress in the 20th district died ten days before the 
election. The county chairmen met and put forth another candidate. In 
addition, county chairmen serve on the state senatorial district committees, 
which have the power to nominate a candidate in case of a vacancy. The 
powers accruing to the county chairman from his position on these commit- 
tees, plus the fact that the Republican state central committee and its chair- 
man have little effect in the counties, congressional districts, or senatorial 
districts, give him added influence. The existence and influence of the 
Republican County Chairaien's Association, a group not authorized by 
statute, also attests to the importance of these officials. Where county 
chairmen in small counties cooperate, they present a very strong force in 
party affairs, and in some instances may counter the influence of county 
chairmen from more populous counties, particularly since the chairmen of 
large, urbanized counties, such as Cook, St. Clair, Madison, and Peoria, are 
not noted for cooperation. It is a generally accepted idea that the Republi- 
can county chairman is a more powerful and important cog in the party 
machinery than is his Democratic counterpart. 

The other local party organization is composed of all representative 
committeemen in each district. The representative committee decides 70 
days prior to the April primary the number of candidates that the Repub- 
licans will nominate in the district for the state House of Representatives. 
Each party may nominate three under the cumulative voting procedures, 


but few districts do.^ The usual number is two, and sometimes only one is 

In light of the actual influence of the county chairmen, as noted above, 
the comment that the state central committee "has precedence over all 
other committees" is somewhat misleading. This committee, made up of 
the 25 state central committeemen, has formal supervision over affairs 
relating to statewide nominations and elections of party candidates. This 
function is, of course, highly significant, but often the county chairmen, 
especially when they cooperate, assume more authority over state elections 
than do the state central committee and its chairman. Evidence of the 
weakness of the state central committee is a bill (S.B. 887), apparently 
stemming from the Republican County Chairmen's Association, proposed 
in the 1957 General Assembly to abolish the office of state central com- 
mitteeman, and provide instead a committee formed of county chairmen 
and, for Cook County, ward and township committeemen. The bill was not 
passed, but did get through a second reading in the Senate before it was 

In short, the Republican state central committee, because of its formal 
power, has the potential for control over the party in Illinois, yet it has 
not used it. Its Democratic counterpart serves its party much more effec- 
tively in producing a cohesive, smoothly running machine. 

Party Conventions: Local, State, and National 

Since the primary is the major device for selecting nominees for public 
office in Illinois, the county and state conventions are unimportant and 
ineffective. However, they are still used. In the county conventions, each 
precinct committeeman possesses one vote for each Republican ballot cast 
in his precinct at the preceding primary, which he, in turn, casts for the 
officers of the countv central committee and for delegates to the state 
convention. In many of the smaller county committees, the process of 
electing delegates to the state convention resolves itself into finding those 
that want to go, and it is usually fairly difficult to find enough to fill the 
allotment of one delegate per 500 votes or fraction thereof cast for the 
Republican party at the primary. In Chicago and Cook County the con- 
vention to elect delegates is a ward or township one. 

The state convention has few functions to perform: making a state 
platform, which very few of the party workers ever see; nominating candi- 
dates for electors in the presidential and vice-presidential electoral college 
elections; nominating candidates for trustees of the University of Illinois; 
and selecting delegates-at-large and alternates for the national convention. 
Usually, these functions are perfunctory, and the leadership of the Governor, 
if he is a Republican, is in evidence. 

' For a more extensive discussion of this topic, see Professor Berdahl's paper. 

Candidates for the Supreme Court districts and the judicial circuits are 
nominated in conventions, and here the basic operations toward the selec- 
tion of candidates are sparked by the county chairmen. Their position is 
paramount and their influence vital. Qualifications of candidates mean little, 
but the posturing of the chairmen means a lot. 

The state Republican party is a part of the national party, and chooses 
one woman and one man to be elected to the Republican national committee 
at each national convention. When Illinois has elected a Republican Gov- 
ernor or when its last electoral vote was Republican, the chairman of the 
state central committee also becomes a member of the national committee. 
The selection of the national committeeman and woman is left to the state's 
delegation to the national convention. Very often the delegation is con- 
trolled by the Governor, and therefore the members selected for the national 
committee represent his influence. Or, if one of Illinois' United States 
Senators is a Republican, he may be an influence. Often the national com- 
mitteeman and woman are not outstanding leaders in the party, but instead 
represent blocs within the party then in control. Where a powerful national 
committeeman is found, his influence more often than not is exerted in the 
background. To a large degree the importance of any state's represen- 
tation on the national committee is in proportion to its electoral vote. Since 
Illinois possesses one of the larger electoral votes, it has influence, provided 
it has leadership to equal it. 

For the 1956 Republican national convention, two delegates and two 
alternates were elected from each congressional district in Illinois. Candi- 
dates for delegate may support a known presidential candidate, or keep very 
quiet about their preferences. Individuals running for delegate may or may 
not be well known. Unless alerted by the county chairman, many precinct 
committeemen know little about the candidates for delegate. In some cases, 
even the county chairmen do not know them. The delegates-at-large and 
their alternates are most carefully selected in convention, and the cohesive- 
ness of the whole delegation stems from the leadership of the Governor or 

Actua! Leadership in the Republican Party 

During the past few years the leadership exerted by the state central 
committee has been rather weak. The committee is often unknown to the 
precinct committeemen, and does not inspire the party organization with 
leadership that would produce vital action or develop strong party harmony. 

The resulting diflfusion of authority has forced leadership of the party 
into the hands of strong state candidates or officials. The Governor, a 
Republican, exercises stronger leadership than any party official. Although 
his leadership is sometimes challenged, in general it may be assumed that 
a candidate for state office, as well as candidates for Congress and for the 


United States Senate, is only infrequently nominated without either his nod 
or his tacit approval. When the Republicans are not in power, the candi- 
date for the gubernatorial nomination may have enough personal appeal 
to dictate certain approval of other nominees. 

To get authority over the party, the officeholder uses many devices to 
build prestige, such as putting county chairmen on the state payroll for 
giving key workers prestige jobs in repayment for work done. It has been 
reported that over half of the Republican county chairmen have state jobs. 
This condition is not found to the same extent in the Democratic party, 
where the leadership of the state central committee chairman is more 
effective. Strong leadership among Democratic legislators is also efTective. 
Leadership from these two sources supplements and sometimes replaces the 
leadership of a Democratic Governor. 

The Republican party in Illinois is not a strong, solid organization. 
Rather than having a well-developed party with responsibility located in a 
strong hierarchy, the Republicans have carved out enclaves of independent 
power that in many instances show internal conflict instead of cooperation. 
Within a county, strife for party control often takes precedent over the 
general party good. Where no single party leader is strong enough to crack 
down on dissident groups, chaos is common, even though it means the elec- 
tion of Democratic officials. No strong state leader has emerged to provide 
inspiring leadership. The Governor approximates it, but the structural 
weaknesses of the party prevent him from exercising strong leadership. In 
spite of this, the Republicans have been able to control vital state offices. 




The formal stx'ucture of the Democratic party in the State of IlUnois is 
an intricate network of committees, conventions, and officers, for the most 
part defined by statute.^ Party organization is closely tied to certain levels of 
election organization. The various committees, conventions, and officers do 
not, in theory, law, or fact, form a neat, pyramidal, hierarchical pattern, with 
lines of responsibility and authority clearly established. The most concrete 
example of this is that the members of the state central committee are 
elected directly by the primary voters in congressional districts, but each 
congressional district has its own so-called congressional committee, made 
up of all the chairmen of all the county central committees within its bound- 
aries. Each county central committee, in turn, consists of all the ward, 
township, and precinct committeemen in the county, and elects its own 

In other words, the pattern appears fairly neat and hierarchical up to 
the top of the pyramid — the state central committee. This committee in 
no sense emerges from the committees further down, and, indeed, it results 
from an entirely different process of selection. None of the committees has 
any legal power, control, or influence over any of the other entities, except 
in the sense that what one committee may decide influences the actions of 
another committee. 

Informal Structure and Leadership 

These brief comments only highlight that structure of the Democratic 
party wherein the leaders of the party must function. However, any dis- 
cussion of the structure would not be complete without a few explanatory 
inquiries which convert this legal, impersonal structure into a living political 

Democratic voting strength in Illinois is concentrated mainly in a few 
urban centers, and, although the party is definitely competitive on a state- 
wide basis, only infrequently has a Democratic state administration actually 
been elected. Consequently, there is not now, and usually has not been, an 
elected state official who can exert leadership over the state Democratic 
party like the present Republican Governor does over his party. Statewide 
leadership thus falls to the appropriate party officials — i.e., the state central 
committee — much more than it does in the Republican party. 

' See the Appendix for a statutory digest applying to both parties. 


However, real leadership in the party tends to gravitate toward the 
leaders of the strong Democratic urban organizations, particularly to the 
leader of the Chicago organization. Thus, at the present time, the mayor 
of Chicago is generally recognized as the de facto leader of the Illinois 
Democratic party, with his leadership resting quite frankly on the number of 
votes the Chicago organization can amass in the general election and, 
especially, in the primary. It is even doubtful whether a Democratic Gover- 
nor could seriously challenge the leader of the Chicago organization for 
leadership of the party, since in any primary contest — and nominations for 
all key offices are decided in the primary — the person who controls most of 
the votes will have the most to say about candidates. In fact, there has been 
a tendency to have very little competition in the Democratic primary; slate- 
making of nominees is done by the party leadership before the primary, 
and most potential candidates seem to feel that unless they get the nod 
from the organization, it is useless to run in the primary. 

The leadership of the Chicago mayor is occasionally challenged by 
downstate leaders and even by dissatisfied Cook County Democrats. Two 
recent developments among Illinois Democrats — the formation of the 
Democratic Federation of Illinois and the establishment of a Democratic 
County Chairmen's Association — might be interpreted as, in the first case, 
a protest against "machine domination" of the party, and in the second, a 
move to strengthen and coordinate downstate county chairmen to balance 
the power of the Chicago organization.^ There is no evidence, however, 
that the Democratic County Chairmen's Association is, or will soon become, 
nearly as important as its Republican counterpart. 

Most of the problems within the Illinois Democratic party arise from its 
bifurcation. Although some of the county Democratic organizations operate 
in highly competitive districts, the usual pattern has been for the Chicago 
and East St. Louis organizations to be almost always successful, and for 
most of the downstate organizations to be almost always unsuccessful. The 
weaker downstate organizations can get no patronage unless a Democratic 
Governor is elected, and in many cases their only function, besides the 
sending of a representative to the Illinois General Assembly, is to cut down 
the opposition majority so that state Democratic candidates will have a 
better chance. On the other hand, the strong urban organizations operate 
with a great deal of patronage at their disposal, and can maintain their 
strength without having a Democratic administration in Springfield. On a 
statewide basis, it is the piling up of large majorities by these strong organi- 
zations that permits state candidates to be elected. 

This extreme difference in situation and consequently in function causes 
misunderstandings between leaders from the majority and minority areas, 

^ For a discussion of the DFI, see Professor Mason's paper. 


and has brought about an informal understanding, usually adhered to, that 
nominees for state offices will be split evenly between Chicago and down- 
state. This kind of situation, of course, also exists within the Republican 
party, which is strong in less populated counties but weak in major urban 

The major problem, then, is: how can leadership be satisfactorily pro- 
vided in the Democratic party on a statewide basis? Whether any state 
leadership can be provided, of course, depends largely upon the attitude of 
the strong urban organizations toward the rest of the state, and up to now 
no concentrated attempts to build up weak organizations and broaden the 
base, area-wise, of Democratic leadership has become evident. 



In Illinois there have been traditionally two specific primary laws: the 
General Primary Act (///. Rev. Stat., Art. 7, Ch. 46) ; and the Legislative 
Primary Act (///. Rev. Stat., Art. 8, Ch. 46). 

Prior to this code, these various separate acts and provisions were inter- 
woven and actually constituted a sort of patch-quilt in the Illinois election 
statute. The code now organizes and separates them in an orderly fashion. 
These statutes are generically regulatory and definitive. 

Illinois courts have laid down a number of rules applying to party affairs, 
which, in the absence of legislation on the points involved, have the force of 
law. The courts are often called upon to rule on the constitutionality of 
these statutes governing the parties; and while they generally rule favorably 
on such statutes, these decisions must always be kept in mind as a potential 
source which could change the legal status of political parties in Illinois. 

The general rule of the Illinois Supreme Court appears to be that the 
courts will follow a hands-ofF policy unless the courts' jurisdiction has been 
specifically conferred by statute or the matter in dispute is regulated by 
statute or, in the courts' view, some basic civil right is involved. 

The prime source of the general, formal structure of both parties in 
Illinois is the General Primary Act, which spells out the various elected 
levels of each party. 


. . . each primary elector may vote for one candidate of his party for member of the 
State central committee for the congressional district in which he resides. . . . 


. . . each primary elector in cities having a population of 200,000 or over, may vote 
for one candidate of his party in his ward for ward committeeman. . . . 


. . . each primary elector in counties containing a population of 500,000 or more, 
outside the cities containing a population of 200,000 or more, may vote for one candi- 
date of his party for township committeeman. . . . 


. . . each primary elector, except in counties having a population of 500,000 or over, 
may vote for one candidate of his party in his precinct for precinct committee- 
man. . . . 

' This statutory digest applies to both political parties, and has been prepared by 
Mr. Tearney. 



The county centra! committee of each political party in each county, shall consist of 
the various township committeemen, precinct committeemen and ward committeemen, 
if any, of such party in the county. . . . 


The congressional committee of each party in each congressional district shall be 
composed of the chairmen of the county central committees of the counties composing 
the congressional district, excepting that in congressional districts, wholly within the 
territorial limits of one county, or partly within two or more counties, but not 
coterminous with the county lines of all of such counties, the precinct committeemen, 
township committeemen and the ward committeemen, if any, of the party represent- 
ing the precincts within the limits of the congressional district, shall compose the 
congressional committee. . . . 


The appellate court district committee of each political party in each appellate court 
district shall be composed of the chairman of the county central committees of the 
counties composing the appellate court district. . . . 


The municipal central committee of each political party shall be composed of the pre- 
cinct, township or ward committeemen, as the case may be, of such party representing 
the precincts or wards, embraced in such city, incorporated town or village. . . . 


Each committee and its officers shall have the powers usually exercised by such com- 
mittees and by the officers thereof, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Article. 
The several committees herein provided for shall not have power to delegate any of 
their powers, or functions to any other person, officer or committee, but this shall not 
be construed to prevent a committee from appointing from its own membership proper 
and necessary sub-committees. 

The Supreme Court of Illinois in People by Brundage v. Brady, 302 111. 
576 (1922) has stated in essence that since party committeemen selected 
under the primary law are not public officers, the franchise and prerogatives 
of the state are not involved in a determination of the right to hold such 
position, and therefore the Attorney General can not maintain quo warranto 
to test the right of claimants of such positions. This case is a personification 
of the ruling case law in Illinois regarding the various political parties. 

As found in the Illinois Business Corporation Act, minority stockholders 
in private corporations have certain rights which may be enforced by the 
courts. This is not true for a minority part of a political party within the 
State of Illinois. A minority faction within this "association of voters . . . 
which seeks to manifest its philosophies of Government" must function 
within the party structure with no help or deterrence of court orders. 






Clarence A. Berdahl 

Visiting Professor, Department of Government, Southern Illinois Univer- 
sity, and Professor (on leave), Department of Political Science, University 
of Illinois. 

J. H. Bindley 

Director, Program of Practical Politics, Knox College. 

Clayton D. Ford 

Director, School of Government, The Principia. 

Samuel K. Gove 

Research Associate Professor, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 
University of Illinois. 

Bruce B. Mason 

Research Assistant Professor, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 
University of Illinois, and Director, Illinois Citizenship Clearing House. 

Lester W. 

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern Uni- 

J. Austin Ranney 

Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the Graduate College, 
University of Illinois. 

Thomas W. Tearney 

Formerly assistant corporation counsel, City of Chicago (General As- 
sembly relations), at present with the la^v firm of Kirkland, Ellis, Hodson, 
Chaffetz and Masters. 


Professor Orville Alexander Professor Clarence A. Berdahl 

Department of Government Department of Government 

Southern Illinois University Southern Illinois University 

Meade Baltz Professor Marcy G. Bodine 

Chairman of the Board, Will County Department of Social Sciences 

Joliet Western Illinois University 

Louis E. Begkman Ed Borman 

Kankakee Champaign-Urbana News Gazette 


Charles Dancey 
Peoria Journal-Star 

Victor DeGrazia 

Committee on Illinois Government 


Louis P. Farina 

Young Democrats of Illinois 


Professor John Forbes 
History Department 
Blackburn College 

Professor Morton Grodzins 
Department of Political Science 
University of Chicago 

Robert Howard 

Chicago Tribune 

Professor John A. Kinneman 
Department of Social Sciences 
Illinois State Normal University 

Mayor Glen F. Kunkle 

Park Livingston 
Dean Milk Company 
Franklin Park 

William T. Lodge 
Democratic County Chairmen's As- 

The Honorable Joseph D. Lohman 

State Treasurer 


Gale A. Mathers 
Circuit Judge 
Representative Robert W. 


Representative Robert T, 


Professor Lester W. Milbrath 
Department of Political Science 
Northwestern University 
James O. Monroe, Jr. 
Circuit Judge 

Richard Nelson 

Inland Steel Company 


Professor Eric H. Olson 

Assistant to the President 

Carthage College 

Preston Peden 

Chicago Association of Commerce 

and Industry 

Edward Pree 



Mrs. Ferris Randall 

Leasfue of Women Voters 


Professor J. Austin Ranney 

Department of Political Science 

University of Illinois 

James A. Ronan 

Democratic State Central Committee 


The Honorable Elbert S. Smith 

Auditor of Public Accounts 


Senator Arthur Sprague 

La Grange 

Thomas W. Tearney 



Discussion Leaders 

Panel 1 

Morton Grodzins, Chairman 

Lois M. Pelekoudas, Reporter 


Panel 2 

Clarence A. Berdahl, Chairman 

Eric H. Olson, Reporter 

Panel 3 

John A. Kinneman, Chairman 

Margy G. BodinEj Reporter 

Planning Committee 

Clarence A. Berdahl 
J. H. Bindley 
Stanley H, Guyer 
Bruce B. Mason 

Richard Nelson 
James A, Ronan 
Samuel W. Witwer 

Staff from the institute of Government 
and Pubiic Affairs, University of Illinois 

Gilbert Y. Steiner, Director 
Samuel K. Gove 
Bruce B. Mason 
Lois M. Pelekoudas 

Citizenship Clearing House 

Donald B. Johnson 






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