Inclusivity and Centralisation of Candidate Selectorates: Factional Consequences for Centre-Left Parties in Germany, England, and the United States

Rebecca Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent elections, progressive factions have advocated for greater intra-party democratisation in the centre-left parties within which they reside. May’s law of curvilinear disparity (1973) suggests that when middle-elites and highly engaged partisans have a greater role in the selection process, more extreme candidates will be nominated. We consider the extent to which more inclusive and decentralised selectorates correlate with greater numbers of candidates aligned with the progressive, farther-left, faction in major centre-left parties in three advanced western democracies since 2017. We argue that these parties are bi-factional in structure, with a progressive faction leading calls for greater intra-party democracy in their host party. Our findings indicate that, in part through changes to the selection process, the Labour Party nominated greater numbers of progressive-aligned candidates in 2019 than 2017. For the Democratic Party, we show that the selection of progressives was more closely connected to variation in district identity than primary inclusivity. Our findings offer insight into the role of intra-party rules in factional relations and party cohesion, and the subsequent consequences for the identity of candidates selected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Publication statusAccepted - 19 Oct 2021

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