The success of the Five Star Movement, with its anti-political and populist challenge to the establishment, did not lead to multipolar competition. Rather, it furthered a moderate bipolar party system dynamic between the center-left and center-right. Although it lost millions of votes, the center-right fared relatively well, allowing Silvio Berlusconi to regain a relevant position in the party-political game. Although stripped of his seat and expelled from the Chamber following a tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi realized, thanks also to the election of centrist Matteo Renzi as the new secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), that it would suit him better to moderate his claims. This new development may lead to an unexpected alliance between the PD and Berlusconi's revived personal party, Forza Italia, and may perhaps result in regaining the electorate lost to the M5S.
Stacy M. K. George
Nearly a decade since its emergence on the political scene in the United States, the Tea Party has left a notable impact on contemporary American politics. In April 2009, three months after the establishment of a progressive federal administration
This article offers a corrective to the notion that German ordoliberal ideology is the key to understanding German policy behavior during the Eurocrisis and, by extension, to the contours of the electoral debate in fall 2013. First, it shows that ordoliberal thought underdetermines policy choices. That is, different actors clearly influenced by ordoliberal thinking and often stressing different aspects of the broader ordoliberal cannon are arguing for more or less diametrically opposed policy solutions. Second, the article provides evidence that this deep divide inside the ordoliberal policy community has contributed additional incentives to the tentative and inconclusive policy choices of the government throughout much of the Eurocrisis. Third, the article extends the analysis of this very cautious policymaking into the campaign phase and the subsequent coalition agreement. It explains why the two major German parties—including an SPD with a much thinner attachment than the CDU to ordoliberalism—sought to play down the Eurocrisis in their campaigns and in their subsequent coalition agreement. One implication is the low probability of German policy change despite ideological differences.
Ofer Kenig, Michael Philippov and Gideon Rahat
Party membership is in decline in Israel. This article analyzes the main characteristics of party members in three of the largest parties in Israel: Kadima, Likud, and Labor. Party members in Israel share similar features with party members in other countries: they are older, economically better off than the average voter, they are more highly educated than an average voter, and they are more likely to be male than female. This comparison between the members population and the voters population also demonstrates that Arabs are over-represented in Kadima and Labor while religious people are over-represented in Kadima and especially Likud. Most party members claim that ideological motivations led them to join a particular party, yet they suspect that the other members are motivated by more instrumental reasons. They expect the party to act cohesively but at the same time clearly support deeper intraparty democratization. They are also rather passive, hardly engaging in party activities.
Unexpected Democracydeepening Consequences of One-party Dominance in South Africa
Heidi Leigh Matisonn
It might be claimed that something approaching a broad consensus has emerged in political science that democracy, in any operationally viable form, entails a multi-party system. However, in recent times the notion that this view is fully captured by a narrowly instrumentalist party-political model has been challenged. It is argued that while parties are widely accepted as a democratic compromise—a necessary mechanism for representation in contemporary democracies— insufficient consideration is given to the possibility that parties may also serve to compromise democracy by alienating citizens from government.
Trump, Le Pen, and the New Normal
Donald Trump’s surprise victory and the National Front’s steady electoral gains are not the simple product of globalization and its discontents, nor are they a direct continuation of earlier populist movements in the US and France. Rather, both rest in significant degree on transformative political projects undertaken in recent decades to recast partisan politics in each country. Newt Gingrich adopted a radical strategy in order to break Democratic dominance in Congress, destroying norms of parliamentary conduct, pushing the Republican Party to the right, and roiling the party’s base. Bruno Mégret sought to position the National Front— through a dédiabolisation of its public image, an increase in its institutional capacity, attention to local politics, and opportunistic alliances—in such a way as to allow it to supplant the traditional conservative parties. These strategies changed the political landscape in the US and France. The results are likely to be durable.
The rise of Matteo Renzi is one of the most significant political events of the year. This chapter analyzes Renzi's leadership of the Partito Democratico (PD), looking at both the internal politics of the party and the party's position within the Italian party system. Within the PD itself, Renzi has brought take-it-or-leave-it proposals to the party executive, which has upset a vocal minority. More broadly, Renzi has moved the party to the center on the left-right scale, while adopting a more expansionary fiscal stance, effectively marginalizing other parties. The chapter concludes that the most serious opposition to Renzi today may come from within his own party.
Sergio Fabbrini and Marc Lazar
This chapter discusses Renzi’s leadership with regard to his party and the government. The main argument is that Renzi was able to use his party to support the government through his double role of secretary (of the party) and prime minister (of the government). However, the support of the party for the government’s actions has been regularly contested by an internal left-wing faction and has been weakened by the disaggregation and political autonomy of the local and regional party organizations. The chapter describes and analyzes the divisions within the national party, the difficulty of controlling local and regional organizations and leaders, and the parliamentary achievements of the government, which came about due primarily to the popularity of the prime minister. The personal leadership of Renzi has been a resource for promoting governmental reforms, but a leadership unsupported by a party will have difficulty facing future political and policy challenges.
Katharina Hanel and Stefan Marschall
Facing linkage problems, parties in Germany have started to respond to a changing media environment by reforming their internal structures of opinion forming and decision making, inter alia reacting to the rise of the social web and the successes of the Pirate Party whose party organization is to a large extent “digitalized”. Whether and how established parties implement and adapt Internet tools, i.e., whether these could contribute to more participation of the “party on the ground” or whether they strengthen the “party in central office” is the focus of this article. The case study on the employment of an online platform for drafting a motion for the party convention of the German Social Democrats in December 2011 reveals that the “party in central office” controlled the online procedure as well as the processing of the results to a remarkable extent—thereby constraining the participatory potential of the tool. At the same time, the case study indicates a quality of online collaboration platforms that might limit the instrumentalization of these tools by the party elites in the long run and possibly re-empower the “party on the ground.”
Russell J. Dalton and Willy Jou
Few aspects of politics have been as variable as partisan politics in the two decades since German unification. In the East, citizens had to learn about democratic electoral politics and the party system from an almost completely fresh start. In the West, voters experienced a changing partisan landscape and the shifting policy positions of the established parties as they confronted the challenges of unification. This article raises the question of whether there is one party system or two in the Federal Republic. We first describe the voting results since 1990, and examine the evolving links between social milieu and the parties. Then we consider whether citizens are developing affective party ties that reflect the institutionalization of a party system and voter choice. Although there are broad similarities between electoral politics in West and East, the differences have not substantially narrowed in the past two decades.