political parties

The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

Patrick Seyd writes that while parliamentarians are in a much better position to decide who should lead the party than party members, in recent years the balance has shifted in favour of the latter. This plebiscitary politics negatively affects both the quality of political leadership and of decision-making.

Criticisms of the Westminster model of politics are not new: can the system survive the latest  wave of anti-politics?

Criticisms of the Westminster model of politics are not new: can the system survive the latest wave of anti-politics?

Criticisms of the highly centralised, elitist, top-down Westminster model are by no means new. Consecutive Prime Ministers – from Blair to May – vowed to take on vested powers and interests, challenge the status quo, and change the way politics is conducted. Yet, as Patrick Diamond, David Richards, and Alan Wager show, they have all failed to deliver their promises. While another wave of anti-politics is looming, they ask how the established parties will accommodate it.

The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the limitations of transnational populism

The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the limitations of transnational populism

Can you create an electorally successful left populist movement beyond the nation state? Benjamin Moffitt, Benjamin De Cleen, Panos Panayotu and Yannis Stavrakakis examine the transnational populist European movement DiEM25, which stood in several countries in the recent European Parliament elections, and considers its prospects in establishing an electorally competitive movement at the transnational level.

From the European debt crisis to a culture of closed borders: how issue salience changes the meaning of left and right for perceptions of the German AfD party

From the European debt crisis to a culture of closed borders: how issue salience changes the meaning of left and right for perceptions of the German AfD party

Political parties are traditionally described as being on a left-right spectrum according to their economic policies. However, socio-cultural dynamics also contribute to the public perception of parties. Looking at the case of Alternative für Deutschland, Heiko Giebler, Thomas M. Meyer and Markus Wagner show how shifting issue salience from one to the other both by the party and voters affects how the party is perceived in terms of left and right.

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

New populist and nativist parties have emerged in many western democracies as a response to large-scale economic transformations, argues Stephane Wolton. The reaction by established parties in trying to imitate their anti-immigrant policies have dangerous consequences for our democratic norms.

New political parties can mobilise dissatisfied voters who share populist attitudes

New political parties can mobilise dissatisfied voters who share populist attitudes

With the economic crisis in 2008, ‘new parties’ emerged across European societies. Hugo Marcos-Marne, Carolina Plaza-Colodro and Tina Freyburg show that next to citizens’ economic assessments, voting for new parties also depends on populist attitudes. Their work underpins the importance of a deepening crisis of representation, amid which new parties are able to set links with the electorate that go beyond pure economic concerns.

Do electoral results come as a surprise because our empirical models are limited?

Do electoral results come as a surprise because our empirical models are limited?

Recent elections in many European countries have seemed less predictable, as party systems fragment and new parties challenge the established ones on a range of issues. Looking at the recent case of Finland, Zhen Im, Hanna Wass, Heikki Hiilamo and Timo Kauppinen argue that political scientists need to develop new models for mapping multiple, changing issues for electoral competition.

How not to recruit postal voters in the UK

How not to recruit postal voters in the UK

Joshua Townsley and Stuart Turnbull-Dugarte tested the ability of parties to recruit postal voters in a field experiment carried out during the 2018 local elections in London. The result? Sending personal letters persuading voters to become postal voters is not an effective recruitment technique.

What explains mainstream party decline across Europe?

What explains mainstream party decline across Europe?

In new research on party systems in 16 European countries, Jae-Jae Spoon and Heike Klüver demonstrate that, as mainstream parties have converged towards the political centre, voters are switching support to more extreme parties on the right and left. This has significant implications for how mainstream parties can distinguish themselves while still attracting voters, and for government formation in increasingly fragmented systems. 

Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Does the ownership of economic assets matter for how people vote? Drawing on new research, Timothy Hellwig and Ian McAllister find the answer is yes. They argue that by changing their policy positions, parties can shape the influence of asset ownership on voter decisions, if there is sufficient party polarisation.