Political parties, diminished subtypes, and democracy

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There is a resurgence of interest in political parties. This resurgent interest embraces a minimalist definition of political parties, according to which any group that competes in elections and receives a handful of votes qualifies as a party. Parties, however, are expected to contribute to democratic representation, and the party politics literature has extensively shown that many “parties” do not fulfill this expectation. These entities that possess some but not all defining features of political parties can be considered diminished subtypes of the category. A thorough conceptualization of diminished subtypes could improve the analytical value of the study of political parties and of other forms of electoral political organizations. In this article, therefore, we put forth a new typology of diminished subtypes of political parties based on the presence or absence of two primary attributes: horizontal coordination of ambitious politicians during electoral campaigns and while in office and vertical aggregation to electorally mobilize collective interests and to intermediate and channel collective demands.




Luna, J. P., Rodríguez, R. P., Rosenblatt, F., & Vommaro, G. (2021). Political parties, diminished subtypes, and democracy. Party Politics, 27(2), 294–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068820923723

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