The Challenge of Populism in West Europe: Impact on Traditional Left-wing and Right-wing parties
The HSE-FUB online workshop series "Varieties of Populism in East and West" continued on January 24th.
Not only the populism itself may take different positions on the left-right axis (or take a “valence” position not belonging to any particular place on that axis), but it appeals – sometimes asymmetrically – to voters of traditional parties.
The speakers were:
- Dr. Boris Makarenko (Faculty of Social Sciences, HSE) on “The Conventional Left Surrounded by Populism”;
- Ivan Petrov (Ph.D. candidate, HSE) on the analysis of databases of MARPOR (positioning of parties on left-right scale based on its electoral platforms) and CHES (expert assessment of party positions by means of standard statistical methods, including correlation and cluster analysis).
Main theses of the speakers
- The reasons for decline of electoral support of social democratic parties are multiple. However, one of the main factors is that their voters defect from them to support populists. Paradoxically, this drift takes different directions. Right-wing populists attract such voters with their accent on Euroskepticism and anti-migrant sentiments; left-wing populist are more vocal and radical about disparity and poverty, even “valence” *neither left, nor right like Italian “5 Star Movement”. Why is it happening? What are the scenarios? What do expect in the future?
According to the initial hypothesis, in the countries of Western Europe, there really was a transformation of the concepts of left and right within the framework of stretching the spectrum along the socio-cultural axis. At the same time, the socio-economic problems have also not lost their relevance, and after the 2008 crisis it has become more acute.
On the whole, in Western Europe, this period was characterized by a smooth convergence of the positions of party families, as well as a polarization of the party field, which intensified after 2008.
The new parties that have emerged in this period are oriented along the socio-cultural axis, with the exception of those that replace the old parties. At the same time, the socio-cultural axis is still actively represented only at one end - cultural protectionism.
Despite the latter, the appeal to socio-cultural issues has become an important trump card in the spatial struggle for the voter. Due to the latter, in many European countries, where previously there was a system of two party centers, its disintegration in favor of third parties is observed.
The audience engaged in a lively discussion after the presentations and the contribution of the discussant.
The presentation's video is available here.
More information about the FUB-HSE workshop series "Varieties of Populism in East and West" here.