(e)Merging within a Movement

PART 3 of Constructing a Party

As the diagram illustrates, the Movement coalesces and gives form to the ideological goals of the Party. It is where the Party and the Subject(s) form a group identity based on a common ideology. It encompasses those who are directly linked to the party, as well as those who are allies, proxies or ideologically sympathetic.

The reason a movement outside the Party is desirable is because:

  • It’s easier to obtain the buy-in from those sceptical of party politics.
  • The possibility to incorporate media institutions that may be precluded from working directly with the Party.
  • The Movement provides an opportunity for the Party to interact with a broad range of allied agendas and test messaging and field activation options.

In electoral politics, common sense and history dictates that a party hoping to win a broad mandate cannot incorporate all the Movement’s ambitions into an electoral platform — compromises may well be necessary. As a result, having a high degree of party loyalty is crucial to ensure that the movement’s adherents become Party voters.

Instead of folk democracy’s rational voter, most voters base their political decisions on who they are rather than what they think. Political behaviour reflects our membership of a particular group, an expression of our social identity. Voters choose parties which represent their culture and community, and stay with their political tribe long after they have ceased to serve their interests.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2017/01/30/book-review-democracy-for-realists-why-elections-do-not-produce-responsive-government-by-christopher-h-achen-and-larry-m-bartels/

The book Democracy for Realists has been influential in our thinking. Among the many salient points this book makes are:

  • Voting behaviour primarily reflects and reinforces voters’ social loyalties.
  • Vote choices were “relatively invulnerable to direct argumentation” and “characterized more by faith than by conviction and by wishful expectation rather than careful prediction of consequences.”

Note these cautionary points about ideology in the book :

  • For most ordinary citizens, ideology is—at best—a byproduct of more basic partisan and group loyalties.
  • Thus, as Kinder and Kalmoe (n.d., ms. 12) noted, “Americans are much more resolute in their identification with party than they are in their identification with ideology.”

What our model takes from this is that there must be a place where the Subject (a potential voter) meets the Party and forms a sense of loyalty based on a shared identity. In our model, this happens in the Movement, which is where the Subject emerges having had their identity formed through being interpellated with the Party’s ideology.

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