Democratic Representation in Europe: Diversity, Change, and Convergence (Comparative Politics)

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Moreover, characteristics of followers might differ across contexts. Alternatively, voters for PRR parties are sometimes characterized as irrational and alienated, seemingly unconnected to any particular values or policy preferences. Blee and Creasap, : Second, it has become clear that a complete and satisfying explanation for PRR popularity needs to go beyond the demand-side model.

Similarly, comparing the divergent fortunes of the Walloon Front National and Flemish VB, it is hard to imagine that immigration and unemployment have created significantly larger electoral demands for the radical right in Flanders compared to the Walloon region Arzheimer, Several researchers have convincingly shown that such factors matter, both for the action repertoire that PRR actors adopt Koopmans et al. Several works have assessed whether the level of federalism and the electoral system affect the popularity of the PRR Carter, ; Hakhverdian and Koop, ; Swank and Betz, ; Veugelers and Magnan, According to Kitschelt : , the general lesson is that the impact of institutional effects on PRR party strength is modest.

Proportional electoral systems are conducive to the entrance or success of new parties Tavits, , but findings regarding radical parties in particular have been mixed Carter, ; Golder, ; Jackman and Volpert, ; Norris, ; Van der Brug et al. Electoral thresholds may induce potential radical right voters to support mainstream parties when they perceive their favourite party to be too weak to overcome the barrier to entry Givens, Clearly, the institutional configuration most unfavourable for newcomers exists in Britain Kitschelt, The emergence and rise of the PRR is affected by the positioning of the political parties within the policy space Kitschelt and McGann, Political space refers to the degree to which mainstream parties or moderate-right parties in particular occupy the electoral terrain of the radical right.

Kriesi et al. Several studies indeed found that ideological convergence between mainstream parties benefited the entrance or success of radical new parties Arzheimer and Carter, ; Carter, ; Norris, ; but see Veugelers and Magnan, We need to distinguish issue positions from issue salience. Mainstream parties have three strategies at their disposal: remain silent on the particular issue dismissive , distance itself from nativist viewpoints adversarial , or adopt a similar position accommodative. If mainstream parties employ accommodative tactics, electoral support for PRR contenders will diminish.

Many scholars similarly argue that the PRR loses out when mainstream parties adopt restrictive positions on immigration Arzheimer and Carter, ; Kitschelt and McGann, This strategy may however backfire Bale, Political space is measured in different ways, for different time periods. Therefore, the results of studies on the effect of the political agenda of other parties on the popularity of PRR challengers show a mixed picture. On the other hand, saliency, the relative amount of these statements in the manifestos of all established parties, had a positive impact on levels of PRR support.

In contrast, Van der Brug et al.

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The above-mentioned contradiction could perhaps be solved when we complement the political space approach with the notion that opportunities and constraints need to become publicly visible in order to become relevant Koopmans and Olzak, Populist movements rely heavily on media, because they often lack sufficient organizational and financial means to get their message across to potential adherents.

Media-related independent variables can be grouped into 1 attention for issues associated with the PRR and 2 attention for PRR actors. Several researchers have also investigated the effect of news coverage on PRR actors Lubbers and Scheepers, ; Vliegenthart et al. Scholars have differentiated between coverage for PRR speakers and responses of other actors, between positive and negative coverage Bos et al.

Research shows that PRR leaders and parties clearly profit from media prominence Bos et al. Vliegenthart et al. Support for the party decreased when it achieved media access because the outright racist claims of its leader Hans Janmaat provoked harsh criticism. This nuances the claim of Stewart et al. The difficulty is thus to find the right balance between newsworthiness and electoral credibility. This brings us to the role of repression and legal measures, such as bans and prosecutions.

A similar logic applies here: the effect of repression is conditional. Its effects may depend on the politician or group targeted and the situation they are in. Another relevant factor is the nature of the statements in question Van Spanje and De Vreese, For instance, the hate-speech charges pressed on Geert Wilders in considerably boosted electoral support for his party Van Spanje and De Vreese, Wilders had already established himself as a powerful politician when it was decided that he was to stand trial.

The impact of prosecution is very different for politicians and groups on the fringe.

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When movement activists are faced with legal and social sanctions e. Countries differ significantly in laws regulating the Internet, and thus how favourable a national context is for the online activities of radical right-wing groups Caiani and Parenti, In addition to legal measures, PRR parties sometimes suffer political exclusion in the form of a refusal by other parties to cooperate with them, a so-called cordon sanitaire Akkerman et al.

It is however not clear whether it is an effective strategy if the purpose is to undermine electoral support. From an internal supply-side perspective, we cannot reduce PRR parties and movements to the passive consequences of socio-economic processes and external political conditions. Instead, they are largely shapers of their own fates Carter, ; Goodwin, ; Ignazi, ; Mudde, We distinguish two factors: ideology and organizational structure, including leadership Carter, ; Goodwin, What parties most importantly can achieve through their own actions is to find a beneficial position in the policy space.

The PRR has abandoned right-wing economic stances Eger and Valdez, and adopted protectionism Rydgren, and welfare chauvinism Oesch, Carter demonstrated a relation between the type of ideology parties employ and their success: more extreme parties are less successful. She encountered some notable exceptions. The ideological character does not only have direct effects on the fortunes of parties, it also interacts with other explanatory factors.

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  7. Despite these two examples, to date, research on such interactions and ideological positioning is relatively scarce Golder, Instead of figuring as an explanatory factor, party ideology has played a more dominant role in delimiting the dependent variable. In any case, despite their common nativist stance as their unique selling point, PRR groups are distinct in their ideological character and framing, and these differences have crucial consequences in terms of their fortunes. Scholars have observed that far-right orientations have been adapted. In particular, anti-Semitism has been replaced by Islamophobia Williams, Besides ideology, organizational characteristics such as a lack of financial resources, appealing leadership and shortfall of active membership have frequently been proposed as pivotal factors for the performances of PRR parties and movements Art, Lack of coherence of party organizations and intra-party conflicts have often hampered PRR parties Heinisch and Mazzoleni, However, organizational characteristics that are supposedly beneficial or indispensable often do not seem to be relevant in order to account for the impressive performance of populist challengers.

    As pointed out earlier, many leaders rely almost entirely on media attention, and successful trajectories often illustrate how media visibility can compensate for organizational weaknesses Ellinas, ; Mazzoleni, The growth of membership and improvement of an organization often lag behind success, instead of the other way around: media attention and electoral support are first successfully mobilized, then organizational and financial resources follow.

    His evidence from the French FN indicates that organizational growth seems the consequence rather than the cause of electoral success, especially during the earlier stages of development. In sum, organizational resources seem often both a cause and a result of success. Charismatic leadership is another prominent supply-side explanation in the academic literature Eatwell, ; Lubbers et al. However, this explanation suffers from circular reasoning Van der Brug and Mughan, ; Van der Brug et al. If leaders are unsuccessful, charismatic authority can quickly disappear. To conclude, outstanding charismatic appeal is better seen as an emergent situational characteristic, rather than attributed to the skills and personality of the leader concerned.

    In addition to the causes of PRR fortunes, scholars have increasingly investigated the consequences of the emergence and rise of PRR parties and movements Mudde, ; Rosanvallon, It is often stated that radical right populism endangers some of the constitutional foundations of liberal democracies: pluralism and the protection of minorities Abts and Rummens, ; Betz, ; Mudde, At the same time, however, scholars agree that it distinguishes itself from political extremism, in the sense that PRR supporters and activists respect democracy, whereas extremist groups are hostile to democratic political processes Betz and Johnson, ; Minkenberg, ; Rydgren, PRR parties could actually correct democratic deficiencies by speaking to a large group of citizens disillusioned with mainstream politicians Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser, The question of whether there is a relationship between PRR successes and various outcomes associated with the quality of democracy such as voter turnout can be empirically tested Immerzeel, Therefore, and related to the observation that the PRR has assumed more stable positions within the party system De Lange, ; Zaslove, , we have witnessed a rise in studies on the impact of PRR success on several domains, including the party system Mudde, and media debate Rooduijn, We restrict ourselves here to the impact on policies, on PRR groups themselves and on the public.

    Studies generally focus on Western Europe; despite some exceptions, evidence for the impact of the PRR is largely absent from the literature on the East European radical right Minkenberg, Scholars have investigated whether governments that included PRR members introduced tougher policies on immigration and integration Akkerman, ; Heinisch, ; Luther, ; Zaslove, These studies generally find no or a limited impact of the PRR on the policies implemented.

    For instance, Akkerman concludes on the basis of a comparative analysis of the immigration and integration output of 27 cabinets in nine countries — that when the PRR is in office, cabinets generally introduce stricter immigration and integration legislation than centre -left cabinets. Yet, centre-right cabinets that do not include a PRR are similar in terms of strictness of immigration policy as those including a PRR. Apparently, the difficulties these parties face in adapting to public office hinder their effectiveness to implement stricter policies Akkerman, ; cf. Van Spanje, b. The finding of Zaslove that the Austrian Freedom Party and Italian Lega Nord LN have been instrumental in passing more restrictive immigration policy may thus be more due to the performance of the conservative mainstream parties that cooperate with them than because of the performance of the PRR itself cf.

    Heinisch, To study these effects, scholars used either expert surveys e. Immerzeel, ; Van Spanje, , or assessed the salience of typical PRR issues in party manifestos e. Alonso and Da Fonseca, The results of these studies can be easily summarized: the PRR affects the stances of mainstream parties on immigration and integration issues, but not on other issues.

    Using manifesto data, Han and Akkerman found similar effects. More specifically, a fine-grained manifesto content analysis — by Akkerman shows that mainly Liberals were tempted to co-opt far-right positions, whereas Social Democrats are not affected — or at least their reaction is far from uniform Bale et al. With regard to other issues, such as populism and law and order, mainstream parties seem to hold to their original ideological position Bale et al.

    On the basis of manifesto data Rooduijn et al. To conclude, PRRs have an indirect, but modest influence on policy outcomes. This impact is generally limited to the issue of immigration and integration Mudde, Specifically mainstream right-wing parties employ a convergence strategy that puts them ideologically closer to the PRR Meguid, ; Williams, However, mainstream right parties are often inclined to move toward stricter immigration policy anyway, independently of PRR successes Akkerman, ; Alonso and Da Fonseca, ; Bale, There is a growing scholarship on how PRR successes affect these groups themselves.

    Most importantly, what effect does the inclusion into a governing coalition have on parties, both in terms of their ideological positions and their electoral success Akkerman and De Lange, ; Akkerman et al. Heinisch argued that right-wing populist parties thrive in opposition, but have trouble with actually participating in a government. He argued that governing leads to moderation and hence to electoral losses.

    Greece and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe: An interview with Gerassimos Moschonas

    Although there are several case studies, systematic tests of the so-called inclusion-moderation thesis are scarce Akkerman et al. Albertazzi and McDonnell , dismiss the received wisdom that populist parties have inherent problems with assuming power. Likewise, an extensive recent study of Akkerman et al. Overall, there is thus no indication that PRR parties are becoming less radical. PRR groups can also make some issues more salient Bale, ; Ivarsflaten, Studies on the impact of PRR success on immigration attitudes provide a mixed picture Dunn and Singh, ; Semyonov et al.

    Some conclude that successful and visible PRR parties undermine support for multiculturalism Bohman, , whereas others find no effects.

    Causes and consequences of the rise of populist radical right parties and movements in Europe

    An extensive recent study, based on European Social Survey data — , showed that PRR parties have not driven anti-immigration attitudes in Europe Bohman and Hjerm, The main difficulty is the lack of longitudinal studies, modelling the attitudinal consequences of PRR success over time. Regarding political involvement and trust, one might expect that PRR parties foster voter turnout because they reintroduce electoral competition and trigger politically disengaged people to become actively or passionately involved in politics Jansen, ; Mouffe, Accordingly, over the period —, the party gave voice to an apolitical part of the electorate, who increasingly felt that politicians listened to them.

    However, based on a Dutch six-wave panel study — , Rooduijn et al. Another interesting question is how institutionalized and non-institutionalized forms of political participation are related. Hutter finds that the more successful the populist radical right is in electoral terms, the more it tends to abstain from protest activities. Access to political power in a number of Western European countries over the past years might have contributed to less right-wing violence Ravndal, Hence, the electoral channel seems to effectively substitute for street activity and violence see Koopmans et al.

    Particularly in the United Kingdom and Germany, xenophobic sentiments can hardly be canalized through the electoral channel. It therefore should perhaps not come as a surprise that both countries have experiences with large-scale street movements. The movement relied heavily on social media to get its message across and recruit supporters Busher, In sum, a weak or fragmented party sector corresponds with a strong movement sector or environment of violence Minkenberg, Patzelt and Klose conclude that the number of Pegida protesters has shrunk since the AfD has increasingly succeeded to put their grievances on the political agenda.

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    Although several AfD politicians have distanced themselves from Pegida Geiges et al. We conclude this review with a discussion of possible avenues for future research. Concerning research questions, scholars need to pay more attention to the temporal dimension of political contention Golder, Remarkably, whereas cross-national comparisons have become commonplace, comparisons in time are still scarce Ellinas, ; Kitschelt, A dynamic view could reveal whether explanations for and consequences of PRR parties and movements change during their trajectory.

    And once populist outsiders have established themselves as credible alternatives, traditional parties may not win back electoral support if they adopt similar agendas Van Kessel, Likewise, the impact of government responsibility depends on how long parties exist and whether they have institutionalized De Lange and Art, The strength of social movements and the interaction between electoral politics and other forms of political mobilization, including street protests and racist violence, have received relatively little attention.

    Democratic representation in Europe : diversity, change, and convergence

    There are only a few comparative overviews of the non-party sector Minkenberg, Individual-level research is needed on the question whether the electoral channel effectively substitutes for street activity Hutter, ; Koopmans, To what extent do people refrain from using non-parliamentary means to voice their grievances about multiculturalism and immigration, due to electoral successes or government inclusion of PRR parties Minkenberg, ? Again, a dynamic perspective is important: over time, movements can turn into political parties, and parties can engage in street demonstrations when they face political obstruction.

    This brings us to future avenues for theoretical progress.