Abstract

Abstract:

Much recent discussion about democratic dysfunction has focused on polarization. In Europe, however, it is not so much polarization and partisanship that have led to democratic decay and the rise of populism, but rather party convergence and diminishing partisanship. The clearest and most consequential example of this dynamic occurred in Germany, where the main center-left and center-right parties moved to the center. This article argues that polarization over economic issues is less problematic than polarization over culture, and that convergence can also threaten democracy if parties move away from voter preferences and a “representation gap” emerges, creating a context in which extremist parties can thrive.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 22-36
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-11
Open Access
No
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