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Chapter 6 considers the transformation of competition in the political sphere and the functions of the state. While prefigured in British politics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, like the modern company the modern political party and party systems first emerged in the young US, largely in the same period. Despite early condemnation of parties and factions by political leaders (Washington, Adams, Jefferson), within a few decades the modern party system had taken shape, emerging out of more rough-and-tumble, quasi-militarised factionalism, before spreading to Europe as democracy supplanted aristocracy across the nineteenth century. The chapter also briefly examines the rise of adversarial law, and the replacement of patronage by competitive examinations for government appointment, as two further examples of the state’s institutionalisation of conflict through formalised competition.
Banning political parties is an extreme institutional measure that democracies tend to use sparingly. Nevertheless, Latin American countries frequently proscribe their parties through rules that activate dissolution for not reaching a certain number of votes or seats in an election. Such rules are expected to stabilize and simplify party systems. However, a competing theory suggests that such rules instead promote electoral volatility by injecting political uncertainty into the party system through cyclical refoundation of extinct parties and the mechanical effects of parties’ exits. Attempting to resolve this paradox, this analysis tests the effect of dissolution thresholds on electoral volatility in all Latin American democratic elections since 1980. Party bans based on dissolution thresholds are found to promote electoral volatility, which bears implications for democratic governance.
This chapter examines Tunisia’s decentralization process from the start of the constitutional drafting process in 2011 to adoption of the Local Authorities Code in 2018. Tunisia’s decentralization process reveals the existence of historical territorial cleavages that are often obscured by the usual ideological cleavages highlighted in the literature, particularly the secularist–Islamist binary. The chapter begins with a brief historical overview of regional inequalities, which played a prominent role in the 2011 uprising and led to the adoption of decentralization in the new Constitution. The chapter analyzes how two key factors – institutional venue and party system coherence – shape the incentives and capacities of political and bureaucratic officials to shape decentralization. It draws on the literature on decentralization in other transitioning and developing countries and analyzes the role of political parties in a post-authoritarian transitional context, the balance of power between political and administrative actors, and how choices regarding process design and institutional venue at the outset of decentralization reforms shape subsequent outcomes. The chapter sheds light on how actors’ strategies are shaped by not only their own interests and ideas, but by the wider institutional arrangements that shape the incentives and capacities of individual and collective actors.
This article has two objectives. One is to explain the rise of female political representation in local assemblies in Tokyo's 23 Special Wards. The other is to examine how political women in Japan have or have not changed since the publication of Susan Pharr's Political Women in Japan in 1981. When Tokyo first saw the emergence of a new type of local assembly women in the 1990s, they consisted of well-educated suburban housewives who led the Seikatsusha Nettowaku movement. In the past 15 years, however, Tokyo has witnessed a decline in ‘housewife politicians’ and a further diversification in the types of political women. This article pays special attention to a new type of political women called Mama Giin (literally, mommy politicians). Mama Giin are professional working mothers, who have become local assembly women to address deficiencies in childcare services. Their numbers increased as socio-economic changes and party realignment reshaped supply and demand for female candidates in Tokyo. Most of them accept the gendered responsibilities for childcare very much like Pharr's New Women did in the 1970s. The younger cohorts of highly educated women enjoy greater job options and life choices unavailable to the New Women of their mothers' generation. However, they do not necessarily challenge Japan's patriarchy. This article examines the biographies of female local politicians in Tokyo's 23 Special Ward assemblies to understand the rise of Mama Giin.
This essay weaves together the history of political and legal thought, contemporary democratic theory, and recent debates in legal scholarship to examine the ambivalent relationship between political parties and democracy. Celebrated as a structural necessity for the mechanics of democratic government, political parties are also handled with suspicion for their hybrid nature—neither entirely public nor completely private—and for their always-possible regression into factions. Anti-factionalism, I show, has been a powerful ideal driving constitutional imagination and practice over the centuries, from antiquity (with its emphasis on parts and its horror over factions), to the age of democratic revolutions (with its signature anxieties about divisions), up through the present. However, this long historical process has not extinguished the long-lived concern with the nature and implications of party spirit, nor has it made party democracy completely safe from revamped forms of factionalism. Two manifestations of factional politics stand out in the contemporary political landscape: authoritarian regime changes and populist constitutionalism. While the former is easy to diagnose but hard to prevent, the latter exemplifies a torsion of the constitutional and democratic imagination from within. Despite their differences, both scenarios remind us that constitutions need to envision mechanisms to prevent parties from undermining the liberal democratic order they have been designed to serve. At the same time, they call for renewed attention to the study of parties in the domains of democratic theory and constitutional scholarship.
Chapter 2 presents my theory of party violence in more detail. I explain why parties choose to engage in violence despite its costs, which parties are most likely to do so, and the strategies of violence they employ. I focus on two types of political landscapes of weak state capacity – landscapes of shared sovereignty and landscapes of multiple competing sovereigns – where parties face differing incentives for violence. I explain that the extent to which voters impose costs on parties depends on whether the party has a captive support base. Assuming a party does engage in violence, the party’s organizational structure is key to whether it will do so directly through its own party members or whether it will outsource the task to a street-level violence specialist. I also highlight a third way in which parties engage in violence: through electoral alliances with elite violence specialists. Each of these strategies of violence has different predictions for the nature and level of the violence that follows. This chapter also explains the origins of these key variables and argues that they are exogenous to party strategy.
In Chapter 8, I look beyond the four parties thus far discussed to see what we can learn about other cases through the lens of their experience. First, I look at an out-of-sample Pakistan case, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), a party that was beginning to succeed electorally during the years I was conducting research. I show how the PTI fits my definition of an organizationally weak party lacking a captive support base and engages in violence accordingly. I then provide more detailed explanations of party violence in two countries other than Pakistan – Nigeria and the Philippines – to establish it as a widespread phenomenon. Finally, I examine an organizationally strong, ethnic party, the Shiv Sena in India, and assess why and how it engages in violence in Mumbai. In each case, my party-centric variables of organizational structure and party support base are effective in explaining much of the variation that we see in these cases, helping demonstrate external validity beyond Pakistan.
Men are overrepresented in positions of political leadership around the world (IPU Parline 2020). This overrepresentation is particularly stark in right-leaning political parties, while women come closer to (though rarely achieve) parity with men in left-leaning parties (O’Brien 2018). This inequality in political representation threatens citizens’ support for democratic governance. Both trust in government and engagement with government are tied to the presence of descriptive representatives who share one’s traits, such as gender, in elected offices (Atkeson 2003; Childs 2004; Reingold and Harrell 2010; Schwindt-Bayer 2010). Thus, the absence of equal descriptive representation diminishes government trust and citizen political engagement, contributing to the crisis of representative democracy. Furthermore, unequal political representation also compromises the representativeness of government outcomes. The traits of elected officials, including gender, shape the issues addressed by governments and the direction of policies produced by governments (Childs 2004; Clayton, Josefsson, and Wang 2017; Holman 2014; Schwindt-Bayer 2010; Swers 2013). Consequently, the lack of equal descriptive representation for men and women in governments across the world yields policy outcomes from governments that do not reflect the will of all of their citizens, contributing to the crisis of representative democracy.
Under what conditions do democratic actors such as political parties engage in, or facilitate, violence? What determines the strategy of violence that a party employs and how do these strategies in turn regulate the overall levels of violence in society? And, importantly, what are the effects of such violence on the prospects for democratic transition and consolidation? This chapter poses the questions that form the basis of empirical inquiry in the book. It introduces the main argument, which centers on the subnational political landscape of state coercive capacity, the elasticity of a party’s support base, and party organizational capacity. The intersection of these variables determines whether a party will engage in violence directly through party cadres, outsource it to violence specialists, form alliances with elite violence specialists, or abstain altogether. I outline how examining these outcomes, and the process by which they come to be, addresses several fundamental questions at the core of the study of political violence and democracy. I provide the scope conditions of my argument and explore alternative explanations for party violence. Finally, I describe my empirical approach, which involved multiple original surveys, new datasets of historical material, and extensive qualitative fieldwork.
Chapter 3 provides an overview of the political climate in Pakistan, setting the stage for the empirical cases which follow. It provides brief but essential context on political representation, state capacity, and manifestations of violence in Pakistan. I explain in more detail the manner in which state institutions, including the police and military, interact with political parties and local strongmen to determine the cost and incentive structure parties encounter. I focus on two types of political landscapes in Pakistan, shared sovereignty and multiple competing sovereigns, and introduce the particular dynamics of political representation and violence in each. In doing so, I highlight the important role played by such structural factors as land and socioeconomic inequality, ethnic demographics, urban sprawl, and the availability of arms and ammunition. I then provide brief overviews of the four main political parties discussed in this book, with a focus on the parties’ organizational structures and how these structures came to be.
Our scholarly understanding of “representative democracy” is often defined by two major actors: voters and the representatives they elect. This two-way interaction of democratic governance has its perils. And the critiques of this type of governance have been multifaceted. Just to name a few, not all members of the public have an opportunity to engage in the electoral process to elect representatives. In addition, elected officials of representative democracies often ignore minority concerns in the hope to capture majoritarian preferences voiced by voters. Robert Dahl (1989) astutely points out that there is actually no nation that meets all the requirements of a true democracy, which should consist of inclusiveness, enlightened understanding, equal participation, equal say, and citizens’ control of the agenda. What many nations have managed to achieve is representative democracy – an inferior second choice. Others have encouraged an expansion of our understanding of representation. Saward (2006), for example, argues that the acceptance or rejection of representative claims provides another way for scholars to understand representation that moves beyond elections and political parties.
The political salience of religious issues and identities has been rising in Thailand, and this is increasingly reflected in electoral politics. Thai political parties seek to position themselves in relation to struggles over the location of the ideological centre of gravity, which has pitted defenders of the religio-political status quo—a monarchy-centred civil-religious nationalism—against Buddhist nationalists, on the one hand, and proponents of greater secularization, on the other. In the 2019 general election, political entrepreneurs ‘particized’ these religio-political differences, which has far-reaching implications for majority-minority relations, to an extent that appears unprecedented in recent Thai political history. This argument is developed through an analysis of the platforms, policies, and rhetoric put forward by political parties contesting the election, which concluded an almost five-year period of direct military rule. This analysis suggests we need to pay greater attention to the role of political parties and electoral competition in maintaining and contesting the secular settlement in Thailand.
Research that examines the impact of economic, social, and political factors on political corruption uses expert’ and citizen’ perceptions for measuring corruption and testing arguments. Scholars argue that the perception of corruption is a good proxy for actual corruption because data on actual corruption are limited and not entirely trustworthy. However, perception indexes do not allow for testing separate mechanisms driving citizen’ perceptions of corruption from actual levels of corruption in different government branches. To address this issue, I introduce a new index based on Latin American countries to measure the risk of corruption in political parties. Using a de jure analysis of laws and regulations, the Risk of Corruption (ROC) index evaluates the likelihood of political parties engaging in corrupt activities. Instead of measuring corrupt activities or perception directly, the ROC measures the risks of involving in corruption. The index has important implications for academics and practitioners in anti-corruption issues. First, it allows us to test arguments about the role of political parties and legislatures in reducing political corruption. Second, it helps to understand how political parties could improve their internal organization to decrease the risk of corrupt activities. Finally, it is a valuable instrument for cross-national studies in diverse fields that study political parties.
In recent years, nations around the world have faced a veritable crisis of ineffective government. Basic governmental functions – preventing private violence, resolving disputes through lawful means, providing an infrastructure to enable people to meet their most elementary needs for shelter, nutrition, transportation, communication, education – go unmet. In some countries, these basic functions are met but longer-term governance issues languish, and government is perceived to be unresponsive in ways that some believe contribute to political backlashes, including those against minority groups. These failures in governance are also perceived to have contributed to a global upsurge in authoritarianism and a concomitant decline in democracy.1
Moreover, the basic freedoms protected in many democratic constitutions – freedom from state-sanctioned torture and from punishment or coercion without fair process; freedom of expression, of religion, of movement; freedom from invidious discrimination; enjoyment of property without arbitrary government interference; free exercise of the suffrage – cannot exist, in an organized society, without government effective enough to control itself and its agents and otherwise to secure the protection of those rights.
This article reports the results of a survey examining Canadians’ attitudes about political parties’ collection of personal information. Datified campaigning brings concerns about surveillance, divisiveness, digital redlining and elector autonomy. This article asks whether awareness of parties’ data collection practices affects willingness to engage with campaigns. We find (1) that respondents are not fully aware of political parties’ data collection practices, (2) that awareness of parties’ collection of personal information may reduce electors’ willingness to interact with political parties online, (3) that those who are more aware of these practices report higher levels of concern about them and that those who do not think that parties’ collection of personal information is important to the democratic process also report higher levels of concern, and (4) that new legal measures to regulate how political parties collect and use personal information are supported by respondents.
Theories that explain the power of legislative leaders have been developed for the U.S. Congress and lower chambers of state legislatures, but they have not been tested for state senates, even though senate leaders can be quite influential. Following Mooney (2013a), I develop a new numerical index score measuring the formal power of the top chamber-elected leader of each state senate from 1995 through 2010. I then use the data to test various hypotheses explaining variation in the power of legislative leaders. The results uncover partial evidence for conditional party government theory, but only for senates that elect their own president. When the lieutenant governor serves as senate president, senators do not perceive their top chamber-elected leader as an officer able to best carry out their ideological, electoral, or policy objectives. This underscores crucial differences between senate chambers that elect their own presidents and those that do not.
In this concluding chapter I summarize the theoretical and empirical results, provide a recipe to apply intensity theory in new settings, revisit and speculate about model assumptions, suggest five key implications for our understanding of representation, electoral competition, and political action, discuss the potential importance of issue intensity for the dynamics of policy change, and offer concluding thoughts.
This chapter leverages micro-level data to ascertain if, and to what extent, political Islam indeed functions as an ideological cleavage that structures political competition in Indonesia. More specifically, it analyzes a survey of about 500 Indonesian legislators. While scholars of Indonesian politics acknowledge that ideological competition in this country is grounded in the political Islam cleavage, the degree to which politicians and political parties are differentiated on the issue of state-Islam relations is an open question. This study is the first attempt to systematically measure party positions on political Islam with a survey of political elites, and it shows that, while party positions are barely distinguishable on fiscal and economic policy, Indonesian parties are indeed clearly differentiated in their views of the role of Islam in public affairs. This evidence corroborates the foundations of the book’s argument, as it shows that party ideological differentiation on political Islam is sufficient to allow for meaningful representation.