The term “party line” refers to the officially agreed-upon policy positions of a political party.
It can also refer to the way in which members of a political party are expected to support and promote these positions and policies, even if they personally disagree with them.
The phrase is most often used in terms of a party-line vote. A party-line vote is when most or all politicians vote with their party on a proposal. For example, if there are 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Senate, a party line vote might be 51-49 Republican.
Interestingly, as Forbes points out:
Party-line voting has become the new normal. As recently as the early 1970s, party unity voting was around 60% but today it is closer to 90% in both the House and Senate.
In a democratic system, political parties are organized groups of individuals who share similar beliefs and goals, and who work together to achieve their objectives through the political process.
Parties often develop platforms, or sets of principles and policies, that outline their positions on various issues.
These positions are meant to serve as a guide for the party’s candidates and members, and to provide voters with a clear understanding of the party’s stance on key issues.
However, the party line can also be used as a tool to pressure party members into conforming to the party’s official positions and policies, even if they do not fully agree with them.
This can be especially true in situations where the party’s leadership or caucus holds a strong majority, and individual members may feel pressure to fall in line with the party’s position in order to avoid being ostracized or punished or being singled out as “off the reservation.”
In some cases, party leaders may use the party line as a way to maintain control and unity within the party.
For example, they may require party members to support certain legislation or vote a certain way on key issues in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the party and its objectives.
This can be particularly true in situations where the party is divided on an issue, and the leadership wants to ensure that the party presents a united front to the public.
Voters who vote straight ticket can also be called party line voters.
Examples of “party line” in a sentence
- The party line on immigration reform was that the border needed to be secured before any other measures could be taken.
- The spokesperson for the party stuck to the party line, refusing to deviate from the official position on the issue.
- Despite some internal dissent, the members of the party presented a united front and stuck to the party line during the debate.