Do populist parties behave differently from other parties when they enter parliament? Presenting evidence from a study of parties in the Netherlands, Simon Otjes and Tom Louwerse illustrate that both left-wing and right-wing populist parties tend to primarily voice opposition rather than offer policy alternatives. The growing representation of populist parties in West European parliaments is therefore likely to lead to an increase in confrontational politics focused on scrutiny rather than policy-making.
Social democratic parties have experienced a sharp drop in support in several countries across Europe, underlined by the defeat of the German Social Democrats in last year’s German federal elections and the collapse of the Socialist Party in the French presidential and legislative elections. James F. Downes and Edward Chan present data on the role that the financial crisis and the migration crisis have had in furthering the erosion of support for social democratic parties in Europe.
Is there a problem with democracy? Phil Parvin argues that the time has come to engage with the wealth of data that has emerged about citizens, their motivations, and their abilities, and take a clear-headed view about what democratic states can expect of them. A more representative politics, as opposed to a more participatory one, would better meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
When the Fed is constrained by the ZLB, there’s greater uncertainty and the relationship between uncertainty and economic activity is stronger, write Michael Plante, Alexander Richter and Nathaniel Throckmorton.
In December 2008, the financial crisis and the subsequent recession compelled the Federal Reserve to take unprecedented action to reduce the federal funds rate to its zero lower bound (ZLB). Hitting the ZLB was important because the Fed lost its ability to respond to negative economic events with its traditional policy tool. Recent research has shown that the ZLB constraint can have undesirable effects on the economy. Our research shows the constraint can also lead to greater uncertainty about the future economy as well as a much stronger relationship between uncertainty and economic activity.
Since the election of Donald Trump, many have expressed their concern that the United States could slip into an authoritarian backslide. Emily Holland and Hadas Aron react to this claim, most notably asserted in Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s new book, ‘How Democracies Die,’ noting that the decline of one of the most stable, long-lasting democracies in the world can only be compared to the decline of other lasting, consolidated democracies, of which there are none.
How Democracies Die, a book by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, has been garnering much attention in recent weeks. The book warns about the possibility of a slide into American authoritarianism and draws lessons from the collapse of democracies around the world. This new release is part of an ongoing debate on whether Donald Trump is a grave danger to American democracy. Levitsky and Ziblatt are noted political scientists, with decades of important scholarship on democratic and authoritarian regimes. While the global review of cases of democratic decline is thorough and accurate, the comparisons they draw with the American case is part of an increasingly hysterical discourse on American politics by liberal commentators. The cases Levitsky and Ziblatt employ shed little light on current developments in American politics, and they neglect to identify the crucial international shifts leading to democratic decline in vulnerable countries. The United States is a long-standing, consolidated democracy and is not in immediate danger of collapse. However, pointing out the global climate of democratic decline and accurately identifying its causes is an important task.
Europe’s social democrats are having a hard time
in Eurobserver 22 Jan 2018
With the rise of far-right parties in Europe during the 2000s, some centre-right parties spotted an opportunity to win back votes by pivoting towards immigration. James F Downes and Matthew Loveless find that they were more successful if they were out of government at the time. Incumbent centre-right parties, on the other hand, struggled to cut through on the issue.