California Democratic Council: A Case Study in the Role of the Volunteer in Politics

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politics, California, Democratic Council, volunteers, political organization, elections


American Politics | Civic and Community Engagement | Organization Development | Political Science


"An amateur is one who finds politics intrinsically interesting because it expresses a conception of the public interest. The amateur politician sees the political world more in terms of ideas and principles than in terms of persons. Politics is the determination of public policy, an public policy ought to be set deliberately rather than as the accidental by-product of a struggle for personal and party advantage. Issues ought to be settled on their merits; compromises by which one issue is settled other than on its merit are sometimes necessary, but they are never desirable.... The amateur takes the outcome of politics--the determination of policies and the choice of officials-seriously, in the sense he feels a direct concern for what he thinks are the ends these policies serve and the qualities these officials possess."

The above quote, taken from James Q. Wilson's book, The Amateur Democrat, presents some of the interest that the volunteer party workers may have in politics. The description is appropriate for many volunteer members of the California Democratic Council, the organization to be studied in this paper.

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