From The Economist:
Belonging to a political party has never been cheaper. It costs just €20 ($25) a year to be a member of the Socialist Party in France. Britain’s Conservatives ask you to stump up only £25 ($39). New political movements set you back even less (£12 for membership of the Pirate Party UK), or are more like social networks (merely signing up online makes you a tea-party “member” in America)...But shifts in the media and in technology matter, too. Forty years ago political parties could still count on a mostly deferential media. Now the internet lets multitudes of politicos thrive. Many voters see better ways of making their voices heard than parties, which Russell Dalton, of the University of California at Irvine, terms “old technology”. Blogging provides more interesting forums than ward meetings ever did.

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