It is curious that the question with which, of all others, every participant in local politics finds himself most persistently confronted—and it is a truism that by far the greatest part of our political lives are concerned with local affairs—should be given so little. attention in treatises on American government. I refer to the problem of the relation between national political parties and state and local politics.
The problem presents itself under two aspects, in one sense separate, though in reality closely interwoven with each other. There is first the anomaly that local issues seem so far removed from the platforms of the organizations, the national parties, through which the often perplexed and embarrassed voter must express himself in the performance of his ordinary electoral duties in the state or the locality; and there is, secondly, the question faced by every would-be reformer of local government, as to whether the desired reforms can best be brought about through the national party organizations or through separate locally organized groups.