How to Maintain Political Party Discipline

If a political party is to be effective, its members need to be disciplined. With a disciplined membership, a political party will be in a position to push through with its agendas. A disciplined political party has all its members singing the same tune. They may disagree sometimes, of course — but thanks to party discipline, they eventually find some common ground. A disciplined political party has a clear ‘party line’ which all members and official are expected to tow. And members of a disciplined political party are always ready to take collective responsibility.

Once discipline is compromised, a political party tends to decline rather rapidly.

The question that comes up, then, is as to how political party discipline can be maintained. And in my experience, there are three things that need to be done, to maintain political party discipline, namely:

  1. Training members on political party discipline: once people join a political party, they need to be given an induction course. As part of their orientation, they need to be trained about political party discipline, why it is important, and how it is supposed to be upheld. Once you give people proper training, most of them will put what they have learnt into practice.
  2. Having a party disciplinary committee in place: the existence of this committee would serve as a deterrent measure. Members would know that they risk being hauled before the committee, if they fail to uphold political party discipline.
  3. Sanctioning members who fail to uphold party discipline: sanctions may include being reprimanded (for minor infringements), being suspended by the party (for major infringements) and being expelled from the party (for the truly serious infringements). This works very well in employment situations. A worker may know, for instance, that he risks losing his position, if he goes against the rules and regulations at the workplace. And losing the position would mean going to a portal like, say, the Paycomonline portal, and finding that he has been locked out — and is therefore unable to sign in. Or if he manages to sign in at paycomonline.com he would find that the pay stub section is blank… Aware of such possibilities, the employees are motivated to uphold discipline at their workplaces. Now a similar system can be used to maintain political party discipline. That would be in a scenario where members would know that there are consequences to be had, if they go against political party discipline norms.