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Africa may be home to the youngest population on earth, but its leaders are among the oldest; many are in their 80s. Most Africans, and especially young Africans, think their governments are doing a bad job at addressing the needs of youth, but young people struggle to gain access to power because ruling elites remain entrenched for decades. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari seems woefully out of touch with his young electorate: in 2018 he accused young Nigerians of being lazy and uneducated. Young people are responding. In the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a thriving civic society led by young people encompasses everything from promoting good governance and increased transparency to increasing young voter registration and mentoring the leaders of tomorrow. But cultural norms and systemic barriers make it difficult for young people to be elected and monetisation of elections is a further issue: the cost of nomination forms for office is high and vote buying is endemic. The upcoming 2023 elections are likely to be a key moment for young people in Nigeria, when it will become visible if the impetus of recent social movements can be translated into an electoral force.
Trials, legal systems, governments, and market economies are all complex adaptive systems. Viewing them in that light opens up new avenues for research, and leads to a possibly unprovable supposition that human flourishing well be enhanced at the intersection of societies with a commitment to the rule of law that embrace free elections, market economies and responsive legal systems of which the common law is the paradigmatic example. These complex adaptive systems have the advantage of feedback mechanisms that may facilitate the intelligent exploitation of the vast amount of information contained in each of the systems.
Conventional wisdom among scholars of Latin American politics holds that informal workers are less participatory and less left-leaning than formal workers. Relevant empirical findings, however, are mixed and in need of synthesis. This article provides that synthesis by conducting meta-analyses on the universe of previous quantitative studies of informality and the vote. It finds that informal workers are indeed less likely to vote than formal workers, but the effect of informality is small—just four to seven percentage points. It further finds that informal workers are more likely to vote for the left, not the right, but here the effect size is even smaller. Meta-regression analyses reveal that in countries where organized professional activity among informal workers is high, gaps in turnout between the two sectors are minimal. The article concludes that the conventional wisdom over-states the individual-level political consequences of labor informality in Latin America.
We examine the rise and mobilizational dynamics of social democracy, employing data reported by the Swedish authorities on the distribution of voting eligibility, turnout and partisan vote in local elections during the 1910s at a high level of disaggregation (by narrow income segments and administrative units). In line with the existing literature, we show that electoral socialism depended on both the extension of the suffrage to its ‘natural’ electorate, that is, the urban working class, and the organizational capacity of trade unions and other civic associations. In addition, we show that socialist support was not uniform within the working class – even for a highly homogeneous society. Instead, the social-democratic vote was initially stronger among low- to middle-income workers, only expanding to poor voters later in time. We complement our local data with an interwar panel analysis of socialist vote and post-war survey data.
While there are some signs of revitalization, social democracy has witnessed a deep electoral crisis over the last decades. The causes for the decline of social democratic parties are highly contested among researchers. This article provides a systematic review of the literature which spans several fields such as party politics, political sociology and political economy. Four kinds of explanations (sociological, materialist, ideational and institutional) are distinguished and scrutinized on the basis of empirical studies published since 2010. The findings indicate that there is not one explanation that stands out but that the electoral crisis of social democracy is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes, such as socio-structural changes, fiscal austerity and neoliberal depolarization. In addition, the findings suggest that a liberal turn on sociocultural issues does not necessarily lead to vote losses. Further research should explore more deeply how short-term and long-term factors have worked together in the process of social democratic decline.
In a seminal article published in 2003, Blais et al. demonstrated that local candidates mattered for about 5 per cent of voters in the 2000 Canadian federal election. This study's reliance on a single election raises external validity concerns. We replicate Blais et al.'s original analyses on four elections from 2000 to 2008 using a decade's worth of data from the Canadian Election Study. The local candidate effect first uncovered by Blais et al. is not specific to a single election. Local candidates are a decisive consideration for about 5 to 8 per cent of voters outside Quebec and for about 2 to 5 per cent of voters in Quebec.
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain went several times to the polls during the 2010–2019 decade. It was a period characterised by the strenuous effort to recover the economic situation before the onset of the Great Recession; an effort, however, often constrained by externally imposed austerity policies, and by a refugee crisis that contributed to the growing salience of the immigration issue. The article adopts an original sub-national approach to examine if and how the economic situation and the incidence of immigration affected the electoral outcomes in the four South-European countries. Adopting a theory of retrospective behaviour, the research reported in the article confirms the association between employment and immigration levels, on the one hand, and punishment of the incumbent government on the other. However, the electoral effects of immigration are conditioned by the partisan composition of the government and, under centre-right cabinets, are aggravated by a negative economic conjuncture.
More women are running for and serving in the U.S. House of Representatives than ever before, but how does gender influence the careers of House members once they arrive in Congress? We find that gender matters in two important ways: first, freshmen women are older than freshmen men. Second, women are both more likely to lose a reelection race and more likely to retire because of electoral concerns than men. The result is that women have significantly shorter careers in the House than men. Both factors—women's delayed entry and early exit—produce fewer women in the House at any given time than if these disparities did not exist. These findings have significant consequences for the House's demographic makeup, ideological makeup, and policy agenda. The broader implication of our findings is that more women in the electoral arena is a necessary but not sufficient condition to make the representation of women truly equal.
Chapter 4 begins with an in-depth process tracing of the decisions around political party formation in Egypt after Mubarak’s ouster. We revisit the puzzling variation in party formation across the Egyptian political opposition landscape, particularly examining the decision on the part of Egyptian organized labor and pro-reform activist groups not to form political parties, tracing the link between the structure of the opposition under the Mubarak regime to the strategic incentives and organizational constraints faced by groups at this juncture. We then conduct an in-depth within-case comparison of the mobilization prior to Egypt’s 2011 elections, utilizing granular data on political parties’ specific campaign strategies and methods to trace the link between the adaptations that various groups made during the Mubarak era to the relative organizational and persuasive resources political groups had, and the mobilization tactics and strategies they were then able to use. We also specifically examine compelling evidence for common alternatives or contributing explanations for the Muslim Brotherhood’s success, and show that while these explanations certainly fill in part of the picture, they are incomplete without an understanding of mechanisms linking authoritarian legacies to the 2011 elections.
Chapter 3 examines the political opportunity structure in Tunisia, followed by three more closed regimes (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Zambia), and ending with Brazil. In each comparative case, we trace the effect of the political opposition structure to the adaptations and strategies adopted by different political groups within the constraints the state placed upon them.
Disinformation in politics has exploded in recent years. With the rise of social media, the availability of disinformation is compounded and is easier than ever to disseminate. Research shows false political news spreads more rapidly than factually correct information, often through negative campaigns. Among efforts to fight this scourge, media organisations have turned to fact-checks to correct the record. In this chapter, we examine if voters pay attention to fact-checks in negative campaigns and to what degree fact-checks can hold candidates to account. We show that citizens find political attacks on opponents salient for voting decisions, but voters are also likely to seek fact-checks on negativity when available. Showing motivated biases, attacks by preferred candidates on less-liked opponents are sought more than the other way around, while fact-checks about a political opponent’s attacks are examined more often. Importantly, when fact-checks indicate a candidate is lying, voters are more likely to avoid that candidate, suggesting fact-checking may be able to play a role in reducing voters’ acceptance of candidates who spread disinformation.
The Canadian party system experienced a period of remarkable transition between 2006 and 2015, with the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Liberals trading places as the main competitor to the Conservatives. While national-level explanations are often used to explain this volatility, William Cross's research has shown that local association revitalization played a central role in the Liberals’ 2015 resurgence. This article examines the relationship between NDP local spending and success between 2006 and 2015. It shows that the NDP was consistently outspent by its opponents overall but that it often had a spending advantage in marginal ridings. As a result, this article finds little evidence that the NDP's local spending disadvantage cost the NDP seats, even though it finds a positive correlation between NDP local spending and NDP vote share.
Race and racism have long played a central role in American campaigns and elections. Racial politics have changed considerably in recent history, but out-group animus continues to play a decisive role in White political behaviour and preferences. This phenomenon is becoming even more visible due to the well-documented shift from implicit to explicit racial attitudes. Furthermore, the electorate is quickly becoming more diverse and will become majority-minority within the next few decades. Therefore, candidates of colour will become more likely to run for office and hold a larger share of American political representation – forcing parties to polarise on racial issues. Similarly, the increased importance of racial minority voters has driven the process of cross-racial mobilisation, where White candidates must seek to broaden their appeal to reflect this diverse voting base. This chapter examines the extant history and literature, detailing the increasing significance of race and racism.
This chapter begins by surveying the historical and institutional background to the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s establishment, the jurisdiction of the Court, and how the Court has exercised that jurisdiction). It then delves into the ways in which the Court has shaped Indonesia’s electoral systems, primarily through its decisions in constitutional challenges to candidacy and seat allocation processes.
Numerous studies conclude that declining turnout is harmful for democracy. However, we uncover the arguably positive effect that political parties become more responsive to the median voter in the election after turnout has decreased. We assume that parties are vote seeking and show that moderate voters are responsible for changes in turnout, and we argue that declining turnout in an election sends a clear signal to political parties that there is an opportunity to mobilize disaffected voters in the following election by responding to changes in public opinion. We report the results of statistical analyses on data from thirteen democracies from 1977 to 2018 that provide evidence that declining voter turnout in one inter-election period is associated with increasing party responsiveness to public opinion in the following period. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of voter turnout, political representation, and parties' election strategies.
The literature on comparative partisanship has demonstrated the low rates of party identification in Latin America. Such low rates are commonly interpreted as a sign of citizens’ disengagement with parties and democracy in the region. This article revisits this interpretation by considering voters’ adverse affection toward a party, or negative partisanship. It shows that examining the negative side of partisanship can help us develop a clearer perspective on the partisan linkages in the electorate. To support this claim, this study analyzes an original conjoint experiment in Argentina and Mexico, as well as two other public opinion surveys fielded in Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. The study presents empirical evidence indicating that negative partisanship helps voters without an attachment to a party to distinguish themselves from nonpartisans, is independent of positive partisanship, and is different from a general distrust of the democratic system.
This chapter outlines the contemporary crisis of democratic backsliding, places it into historical context, locates the central role of elites in theories that account for backsliding, and inserts the role of citizens as a critically overlooked factor in democratic outcomes. The Introduction continues by presenting the empirical puzzle ("What makes a good citizen in hard times?) and the book's central argument – citizenship norms become partisan in hard times, leading to different definitions of good citizenship and, therefore, obligation. It concludes by discussing the two democratic contexts used for examining citizenship norms (political polarization, foreign interference in elections), the three empirical case studies (the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany), and outlines the remainder of the book.
We present a hierarchical Dirichlet regression model with Gaussian process priors that enables accurate and well-calibrated forecasts for U.S. Senate elections at varying time horizons. This Bayesian model provides a balance between predictions based on time-dependent opinion polls and those made based on fundamentals. It also provides uncertainty estimates that arise naturally from historical data on elections and polls. Experiments show that our model is highly accurate and has a well calibrated coverage rate for vote share predictions at various forecasting horizons. We validate the model with a retrospective forecast of the 2018 cycle as well as a true out-of-sample forecast for 2020. We show that our approach achieves state-of-the art accuracy and coverage despite relying on few covariates.
Studies of electoral clientelism—the contingent exchange of material benefits for electoral support—frequently presume the presence of strong parties. Parties facilitate monitoring and enforcement of vote buying and allow brokers to identify core voters for turnout buying. Where money fuels campaigns but elections center around candidates, not parties, how do candidates pitch electoral handouts? The authors analyze candidates’ distribution of cash during an Indonesian election. Drawing upon varied data, including surveys of voters and brokers, candidates’ cash-distribution lists, and focus-group discussions, they find heavy spending but little evidence of vote buying or turnout buying. Instead, candidates buy brokers. With little loyalty or party brand to draw on, candidates seek to establish credibility with well-networked brokers, who then protect their turf with token payments for their own presumed bloc of voters. The authors find little evidence of monitoring of either voter or broker behavior, which is consistent with their argument that these payments are noncontingent.
Conventional theories of ethnic politics argue that political entrepreneurs form ethnic parties where there is ethnic diversity. Yet empirical research finds that diversity is a weak predictor for the success of ethnic parties. When does ethnicity become a major element of party competition? Scholars have explained the emergence of an ethnic dimension in party systems as the result of institutions, mass organizations, and elite initiatives. But these factors can evolve in response to an emerging ethnic coalition of voters. The author advances a new theory: ethnic cleavages emerge when voters seek to form a parliamentary opposition to government policies that create grievances along ethnic identities. The theory is tested on rare cases of government policies in Prussia between 1848 and 1874 that aggrieved Catholics but were not based on existing policies or initiated by entrepreneurs to encourage ethnic competition. Using process tracing, case comparisons, and statistical analysis of electoral returns, the author shows that Catholics voted together when aggrieved by policies, regardless of the actions of political entrepreneurs. In contrast, when policies were neutral to Catholics, the Catholic party dissolved.