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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: November 2010

2 - The Corporatist Catch-All Party Model


This chapter accomplishes three goals. It begins by developing the corporatist catch-all party model through a comparison with Kirchheimer's vision of a catch-all party. I call Kirchheimer's version of a catch-all party a “classic” catch-all party. The chapter goes on to explicate the policy-making dynamics in a corporatist catch-all party. Finally, it offers a preliminary explanation of the CDU's behavior on women's policy, based on this new model of party organization.

My concept of the corporatist catch-all party differs from the concept of the classic catch-all party in four ways: 1) party organization, 2) leadership, 3) membership, and 4) party policy making. These differences are summarized in Table 2.1.

A classic catch-all party has the following features. First, the primary internal party division is horizontal. In other words, the party has a leadership and a membership. Second, in a classic catch-all party, leadership is unified. Third, the membership of a classic catch-all party can only affect the party negatively by forcing leadership to follow a losing strategy. Fourth, a correct, i.e. winning strategy exists and the leadership knows what it is. The important question is whether or not the membership can prevent the leadership from pursuing this correct strategy.

A corporatist catch-all party differs from a classic catch-all party on all four dimensions. First, the party is organized both horizontally and vertically. Corporatist catch-all parties are divided into leaders and members, but also into internal party groups.

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