Divide and rule: Vote maximization strategies of left parties in Europe. November 6, 2009
Invited Lectures ; Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm ; PAPER ABSTRACT: Parties of all colors face great challenges due to the erosion of their core constituencies. But social democratic parties are particularly affected by the disappearance of traditional alignments between citizens and parties. How do they cope with these changes? What are the available (vote-maximizing) strategies? This paper explores the demand side as well as the supply side of party politics. Regarding the demand side, this paper sketches an account of vote-choice in a two-dimensional policy space. It posits that vote choice is a function of the relative polarization of parties’ positions in that two-dimensional space. Regarding the supply side, we explore the tradeoffs parties face. We conjecture that the left “as a whole” will be more successful in countries in which several small left parties cover different locations in the policy space.