Radical right-wing populist parties have experienced a growth in support in several European countries over the last 15 years, but how do such parties adapt to power when they enter government? Tjitske Akkerman, Sarah de Lange andMatthijs Rooduijn write that although radical right-wing populist parties do become more mainstream in some respects when they enter office, this is largely only true in a procedural sense, with their policy platforms quickly becoming just as radical as before when they go back into opposition.
Have the negative economic consequences brought about by the financial crisis made European welfare states unaffordable? Iain Begg writes that while there is some validity to criticisms of welfare spending, the welfare state performs a number of core functions that ensure it will continue to be around for the foreseeable future. He also notes that European welfare states have shown a greater capacity for change than is often recognised, with the shift toward a system that gives priority to social investment making a real difference in several countries.
At the turn of the century social democratic parties were in power across the European Union – now: “recently their share of the vote in domestic (and Europe-wide) elections has fallen by a third to lows not seen for 70 years (see chart 1). In the five European Union (EU) states that held national elections last year, social democrats lost power in Denmark, fell to their worst-ever results in Finland, Poland and Spain and came to within a hair’s-breadth of such a nadir in Britain.
If they want to keep fighting, Europe’s social democrats must reckon with a newly unsentimental, biddable and fragmented electorate and a range of rivals eager to steal their supporters. They will need to combine distinctiveness, credibility and persuasiveness: no mean feat. They are no longer carried forth by the tide of history and are often swimming against it. They must make their own currents.”
In America a right-wing populist has sparked debate about the state of American democracy, while European countries have increasing experience of populist radical right parties. The presence and popularity of these parties raises significant questions about their consequences for democracy, democratic legitimacy, and political participation. In a recent study, Tim Immerzeel and Mark Pickup examined the role of these parties for a specific indicator of the quality of democracy: voter turnout. Based on an analysis of 33 European countries in the period 2002-2012, they show that the presence and popularity attracts some people to the polling booth, while demotivating others.
Online activists support uprisings around the world. Here’s what we know about them.
Forget the “slacktivist,” the 20-something tweeting or liking Facebook posts from his basement but too lazy to do anything more. In reality, online activists are doing so much more — online and offline — than just tweeting. And they have been ever since they first hit the scene.
By Marco T. Bastos and Dan Mercea
speculative piece discussing potential impact of social media on democracies…
“Social media and a proliferation of online news organizations are undercutting the power of political and media elites, resulting in an electoral system that’s more open — and more chaotic — than ever before.”