本书的目的，to balance the party decline argument with equally compelling evidence concerning how parties are adapting to changes．
核心观点：首先，party是作为citizen 与state之间的intermediary, 即便经历外在环境的变迁，remain as central as they were ever to the effective operation of democracy– perhaps even more so, given the complexities of modern government.
Modern democracy is synonymous with political parties. Representation and accountability function of political parties had placed parties at the heart of representative democracy. (party government model)
Role of contemporary political parties as agents of representation between citizens and the state.而这个linkage，可以分为5个方面，
Campaign：interest articulation interest aggregation, 第二章，parties and electoral institutions
Participation: mobilization and civic volunteerism model, 第三章，parties and political participation
Ideology: Downsian left/right spatial analysis of electoral choice, 第4-6章, citizen and policy preference, party image and party linkage, voter choice and partisan representation
Representation: congruence/合同，coalition theory; 第7章，congruence between voters and government
Policy: do parties matter? 第8章， parties and policies
这里有些例子非常有意思，比如英国的工党，在90年代初的转型，小泉的改革，乃至于爱尔兰的海报战争。尤其是这个lamp-post war来说明党派是否真的demise, decline了呢？
回答不是。而是确认，与50-60年代时期的政党发展黄金时期确实不同，而且也承认了衰落派提出的4个质疑， declining electoral turnout, the rise of voter volatility, falling levels of party identification, and the monotonic decline in party membership numbers.
但是通过中间各个章节，以及cross-country的数据，强调哪5个方面的linkage, 仍然的非常重要，本质也没有变化，所以回归到书的核心观点，党派组织，是现代代议制政府有效运转的核心零件。本书的结论认为，起码不能说这个是crisis, decline, vulnerability, 而是adapts! despite all the changing.
而且这里的论证路径和katz不同，没有直接挑战mass-party, party government, 而是细化到citizen 和 state之间的联系，方法上来说很漂亮。至于是否conving, 各家各说吧。
附上我有兴趣的有关party 的importance 的回顾。都是大牛人哦，尤其是Schattschneider
The general picture is of democracies centered on political parties, of democracies operating representative institutions that are operated by and for parties—a picture of party government as “a synonym for representative democracy”.
This is the central theme of this book, namely that political parties are vital agencies in the proper functioning of democracies.
It is a well-established position of party theorist that these entities have played a crucial role in the establishment and proper functioning of democracy.
“Parties are inevitable: no free country has been without them; and no one has shown how representative government could work without them”.
Political parties “are the children of democracy, of mass franchise, of the necessity to woo and organize the masses.”
*LaPalobrara and Weiner
Parties “the creatures of modern and modernizing political systems”
“Modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties”
His perspective is unapologetically normative: the calls for the development of what he refers to as a model of “party government”, a term that became quite prominent in political science debates in the 1970s and 1980s.
The future of party government
日本也不能算是emerging democracies 里面，如何处理特殊的日本，它确实特殊嘛，still a looong way to go!