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Table: Aggravating Political Fragmentation

The national parties are likely to fare poorly under the new campaign-finance law. Here's why:

-- With access to large, unregulated contributions cut off, parties will have to spend more time and money eliciting small donations from individuals. That could lessen the parties' power.

-- Large donors will write checks to state parties instead of national committees. Since many state groups are more ideologically extreme, more partisanship in Washington could result.

-- New spending limits on getting out the vote and voter registration mean that unions and other special-interest groups could fill the void. Their contributions will explode, as will their sway.

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