Through thick and thin. How do party members react to difficult party decisions and which factors moderate their reaction?

01 January 2020 → 31 December 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Belgian politics
    • Political communication
    • Political engagement, political participation
    • Party politics
party members procedural fairness negative campaigning
Project description

Policy-making has become increasingly difficult the last few decades, as policy-makers have become more reluctant to take difficult decisions paralyzed by phenomena such as ‘ermanent campaigning’and the threat of populist parties

But occasionally, all parties have to take such difficult decisions This project investigates how party members react to difficult party decisions and which elements (resp the kind of decision-makers and the use of negative campaigning) moderate their reactions Party members’reactions in terms of both attitudes and behavior are studied in an experimental design

We assume that in case of a party decision that is at odds with the party’ principles, party members could be catalogued as ‘osers’(ie people who do not obtain what they want) Recent literature has focused on citizens who are ‘osers’in a democratic process, but findings and theories on citizens cannot simply be transferred to party members Party members are more committed than citizens, who often do not have clear-cut opinions on many issues and/or no interest in policy-making discussions Consequently, party members are more likely to consider themselves as ‘osers’and to react more radically Moreover, the reaction of party members is highly relevant for parties because members can function as party ambassadors convincing others, but also for the democratic system as a whole as party membership decline constitutes a threat to the current system of party democracy