Mischiefs of Faction is a collaborative political science blog, founded in 2012, with the goal of advancing and debating our knowledge of political parties. Our name comes from Federalist Paper No. 10, in which James Madison warned about the dangers of selfish political groups but conceded their inevitability in a free nation.
While borrowing his terminology, our take is somewhat different from Madison’s. We see parties as a positive force in a nation. Democracy doesn't just happen; it takes work to set the policy agenda, communicate about the issues, and get voters to the polls. Parties do a great deal of that work. The late political scientist E.E. Schattschneider put it best: "Modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of parties." While we concede frustrations with parties, we view them as necessary for a thriving democracy, and we see their health and our nation’s as inextricably linked.
That said, the eight of us do not always focus on the same aspects of parties, nor do we always agree. Our work is mostly focused on parties in the United States, though not exclusively. And our interest in political parties motivates discussion of broader issues in American society and political institutions. These interests include Congress, the American presidency, the development of the media, and political developments in countries other than the U.S.
What we do have in common is a love of scholarly debate, an interest in understanding how parties work and can be improved, an appreciation for evidence, and a commitment to connecting political science research to current events in the real world.