Political Cleavages: Issues, Parties, and the Consolidation of Democracy

By Alejandro Moreno | Go to book overview

The country positions on the economic left-right dimension are the same as the ones in Figure 5.5. However, some important variations can be observed on the vertical axis, especially among Venezuelans, Brazilians, and Peruvians. Both Venezuelans and Brazilians are predominantly authoritarian on the political dimension but only moderately fundamentalist on the cultural dimension. In contrast, Peruvians are moderately pro-democratic on the political dimension and predominantly fundamentalist on the cultural dimension. Although the rest of the countries have relatively similar positions on both the political and the cultural dimensions, in Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru there is no correspondence between liberal and pro-democratic views or between authoritarian and fundamentalist views.


CONCLUSION

The global process of political and economic change that took place during the past two decades created opposing views about democracy and the market among the mass publics of several emerging democracies. As Tucker put it a decade ago, "The crucial evidence that a society is in the throes of cultural change is the emergence of conflict between exponents of new ways and defenders of the old ones. That is what we see now in Russia. Whatever else may be said, it is clear that an effort has begun to cut down the swollen state and re-invigorate the spent society, and that it is encountering heavy resistance" ( Tucker 1987:194). In fact, resistance was not expressed only in regard to the economic system but, even more important, in regard to the political system. Opposing views about democratization were so deep in some emerging democracies that they influenced party support significantly, thereby constituting a relevant political cleavage. This political cleavage was rooted in the value and issue orientations of the mass electorates. To the extent that political parties and candidates in the emerging democracies represented not just different programmatic goals but different types of political regimes, the democratic-authoritarian cleavage plays a role in the prospects for democratic consolidation.

The increase in political competition has provided voters with several political options, some of which represent the advance of democratic politics and some, the main resistance to democracy. Voter preferences are likely to reflect existing elite agreements or disagreements with the more aware citizens reflecting them more faithfully ( Zaller 1992). Thus the democratic- authoritarian cleavage that dominates political competition in some emerging democracies may be to some extent fed by the salience of democratic and authoritarian elites. The relevance or irrelevance of the democratic-authoritarian cleavage may be linked with the prospects for democratic consolidation: Simply based on issue salience and voter preferences, the prospects are more

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Political Cleavages: Issues, Parties, and the Consolidation of Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Acronyms xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Acknowledgments 6
  • Notes 7
  • Chapter One - Democracy, Democratization, and Political Cleavages 9
  • Conclusion 26
  • Notes 26
  • Chapter Two - Political Cleavages in Advanced Industrial Societies 28
  • Conclusion 72
  • Notes 73
  • Chapter Three - Political Cleavages in Post-Communist Societies 76
  • Conclusion 104
  • Notes 104
  • Chapter Four - Political Cleavages in Latin America 106
  • Conclusion 148
  • Notes 148
  • Chapter Five - Conclusion: A Cross-National Comparison of Cleavages 150
  • Conclusion 164
  • Appendix A: Surveys and Question Wording 167
  • Appendix B: A Brief Description of Discriminant Analysis 182
  • References 186
  • Index 193
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