11. Political parties party systems

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					11. Political parties &
    party systems
           Political party:
• Any political group identified by
  an official label that presents at
  elections, and is capable of
  placing through elections
  candidates for public office
       Four functions:
(1) direction to government
(2) political recruitment
(3) interest aggregation
(4) “brand”
          Crisis of parties?
- Vision: no longer radically different
- Links: weakening (voter-party)
- Party membership falling & ageing
- Communication: TV, rather than
- Financing: subscriptions →
 Box 11.1: parties in W Europe
• General idea:
• Three levels: national, sub-
  national, supra-national
• National: government/opposition,
  legislature, central organization
       Party organization
Internal organization – key for
  understanding how parties work
“Genetic account” (Panebianco):
  - Elite/cadre party
  - Mass party
  - Catch-all party
    Power within the party
• Roberto Michels: power within the
  German Social Democratic Party
• Iron law of oligarchy: “who says
  organization, says oligarchy”
• Oligarchy: rule by and for the few
Selection: candidates & leaders
• Candidates:
  – largely a function of electoral
  – primaries: a mixed blessing
• Leaders (Box 11.4)
     Membership & finance
• Paradox: membership ↓ & money ↑
• Membership: decline in numbers,
  decline in participation (“credit card
• Dealignment (similar causes)
• Consequence: increased reliance on
  state support
  Emergence of cartel parties
leading parties that exploit their
  dominance of political market to
  establish rules of the game – e.g.,
  public funding – to reinforce their
  own position
     Social base of parties
• Parties: emerge at crucial
  points of conflict in history
• Reflected in parties’
  – ideology
  – social base of support
       Three revolutions
• National revolution
• Industrial revolution
• (Post-industrial revolution)
    National revolution
National revolution conflicts:
- Center vs. periphery
- State/Church
   Industrial revolution
Industrial revolution conflicts:
- Employers vs. workers
- Urban vs. rural
(side note: Russian revolution
  → Communists vs. socialists)
    “Freezing hypothesis”
• The party systems of the
  1960s reflect the political
  conflicts/divisions of the 1920s
• True for the 1950s-1960s, less
  so today: post-industrial
Post-industrial revolution
post-materialists (Green
 parties) vs. materialists
 (extreme right-wing parties)
Protest parties
         Party system
• A party system denotes the
  interaction between the
  significant parties
 – Parties respond/interact
 – Legal regulations
         Party systems
• (No party: authoritarian)
• (One-party: totalitarian)
• Dominant party
• Two-party
• Multi-party
     Dominant party systems
One party is constantly in office,
 either governing alone or in a
Examples: S Africa’s ANC, Sweden’s
 Social Democrats, Japan’s Liberal-
 Factionalism, sclerosis, corruption
        Two-party systems
Two major parties compete to form
 single-party governments
Examples: Great Britain (Conservative
 & Labor parties) & US (Republican &
 Democratic parties)
Decline (except the US, perhaps
       Multiparty systems
Several minority parties in the
 legislature, no party has majority
      → coalition governments
Examples: Israel, Netherlands,
Assessment: mixed (good in good
 times, not when radical reform needed)
  Parties in new democracies
• Lack of cohesiveness, of mass
  membership, even ideology
• Post-communist parties – follow
  the American, rather than
  Western European model
• Is this a potential problem?
Parties in non-democratic regimes:
authoritarianism vs. totalitarianism
 • Authoritarian regimes: pre-party
   (traditional) or anti-party
 • Totalitarian regimes: Communism
   vs. fascism
    “Democratic centralism”
• Based on two principles:
  – centralism: top-down decision-
  – “democracy”: bottom-up elections
• Democratic centralism =
  centralism w/o democracy