A party system is an essential attribute of a democratic policy. No parties, no democracy. Despite the erosion of the influence of parties in old democracies and the difficulties of establishing new parties in new democracies, theorists still agree that parties and a party system are necessary evils for the functioning of representative government. In liberal democracies, parties perform several tasks. During elections, they provide voters with distinctive choices, be they ideological, social, or even ethnic. After elections, parties then represent the interests of their constituents in the formulation (and sometimes implementation) of state policy. The degree of party penetration of state institutions need not correlate directly with a given party?s power over policy outcomes. Empowered by expertise or connections to key decision makers, small parties can have inordinate influence over policy debates, while large parties may suffer the opposite: no expertise, no personal networks, and therefore, little influence over policy. Yet, some degree of representation within the state is usually necessary for a party to influence policy outcomes. In polities with highly developed party systems, parties also perform other functions that can include everything from organizing social life to social welfare.