Citizens, politicians, and party cartellization: Political representation and state failure in post-industrial democracies
This paper critiques what can be interpreted as an application of the literature on state failure in current political economy and political science to the changing role of political parties in advanced post-industrial democracies. Katz and Mair's theory of Mair's theory of cartel parties. It develops an alternative set of hypotheses about the dynamics of parties and party systems with the objective to clarify empirical terms according to which rival propositions can be tested. Specifically, the paper rejects three propositions in the theory of cartel parties and advances the following alternatives. First, party leaders are not divorced from their members and voting constituencies, but become ever more sensitive to their preferences. Second, inter-party cooperation generates a prisoner's dilemma in the competitive arena that ultimately prevents the emergence of cartels. Ideological convergence of rival parties has causes external to the competitive arena, not internal to it. Third, conventional parties cannot marginalize or coopt new challengers, but must adjust to their demands and electoral appeals. The age of cartel parties, if it ever existed, is not at its beginning, but its end.
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