political parties

Citizens with economically left-wing and culturally right-wing views vote less and are less satisfied with politics

Citizens with economically left-wing and culturally right-wing views vote less and are less satisfied with politics

Many citizens hold left-wing positions on economic issues and right-wing positions on cultural issues, but few parties do so. How do these ‘left-authoritarian’ citizens react to the absence of parties that fit their views? Drawing on a new study, Sven Hillen and Nils Steiner report that left-authoritarian citizens are less likely to vote, less satisfied with democracy and have lower levels of trust in political institutions when there is no viable left-authoritarian party.

The empty centre: why the Liberal Democrats need to demonstrate competence and unity to win votes

The empty centre: why the Liberal Democrats need to demonstrate competence and unity to win votes

Liberal parties in western democracies which advocate broadly centrist economic policies, such as the Liberal Democrats, have performed badly in some recent elections, even though their policies are often in tune with a large proportion of the electorate. Using survey data Roi Zur finds they have little scope for winning votes by shifting in either direction on the left-right spectrum. Instead they need to demonstrate they are a credible and competent governing party, able to prevent Brexit, and are not just expressing their opposition to it.

Citizens (mistakenly) perceive female-led political parties as more moderate

Citizens (mistakenly) perceive female-led political parties as more moderate

Does women’s leadership affect citizens’ perceptions of political parties? Diana Z. O’Brien shows that female-led parties are perceived as more moderate than male-led organisations, even though election manifestos authored by these parties are actually slightly more extreme than those by male-led parties.

Is the resurgence of Europe’s far-right a cultural or an economic phenomenon?

Is the resurgence of Europe’s far-right a cultural or an economic phenomenon?

There has been a spectacular rise in support for far-right parties in Europe over the last two decades, but what has driven this electoral success? Drawing on new research, Vasiliki Georgiadou, Lamprini Rori and Costas Roumanias demonstrate that different types of far-right party have benefitted from different factors: economic insecurity has helped increase support for ‘extremist right’ parties, while cultural factors have been associated with the growth of the ‘populist radical right’.

Whatever happened to the Westminster Model? The ‘Italianisation’ of British politics

Whatever happened to the Westminster Model? The ‘Italianisation’ of British politics

The UK was once viewed by political scientists as embodying a distinct majoritarian form of politics – the ‘Westminster Model’ – that stood in contrast to the ‘consensus’ democracies found elsewhere in Europe. Several of the countries in the latter group, such as Italy, were often assumed to be inherently prone to instability in comparison to the UK. Yet as Martin J. Bull explains, politics in Westminster now has some striking similarities with the Italian approach that once invited scorn from British observers.

Why the radical right is no longer the exclusive domain of older, male voters

Why the radical right is no longer the exclusive domain of older, male voters

The typical radical right voter is often assumed to be older and male, with conservative views on women’s and LGBT rights. Drawing on a new study, Caroline Marie Lancaster writes that this assumption should now be reassessed. She finds evidence that there has been a particularly striking increase in the number of radical right voters who also support gender equality and LGBT rights.

How private financial donations affect party extremism

How private financial donations affect party extremism

What is the impact of private donors on a party’s policy platform? Using a new database of 45 parties in 9 OECD countries between 1996 and 2013, Andrey Tomashevskiy finds that the effect of donations is significant, and that parties which receive a greater percentage of their income from private donors tend to adopt more extreme positions on socio-cultural issues.

Why do ‘niche parties’ perform so well in European and subnational elections?

Why do ‘niche parties’ perform so well in European and subnational elections?

Single-issue parties, such as the Brexit Party and Greens, tend to do better in local and European elections across Europe. Emmy Lindstam examines why, and finds that voters are willing to vote switch on an issue they think is overlooked by their preferred party, particularly if they think the stakes are low for that election.

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.