The legacies of authoritarianism: Party origins and the development of programmatic capacity in Mexico /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Hernandez Company, Jose Antonio, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (367 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Dan Slater Committee members: Michael Albertus; John Brehm; Monika Nalepa; Alberto Simpser Mondlak.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation addresses two interrelated puzzles. First, in authoritarian settings governments are note freely elected and legislatures have limited influence on policy. Yet, politicians frequently create opposition parties to enter the electoral fray and compete for votes against powerful authoritarian elites. Second, these opposition parties usually survive the collapse of the authoritarian order, but often founder in mobilizing the electorate with programmatic appeals. Why do challenger parties emerge in autocracies? Why, after democratization, are some of these parties more successful than others in establishing programmatic linkages with their constituencies? These questions have not been adequately addressed in the literature, however are critically important for developing an understanding of authoritarian regimes, political parties, transitions to democracy, and democratic accountability and representation.
The dissertation proposes a novel theory about the origins and development of opposition parties in electoral autocracies to answer the aforementioned questions. The theory posits that over time variation in the strength of authoritarian incumbents importantly shapes the motives of challenger politicians to create political parties. During authoritarian apogees --periods of time in which incumbents have ample powers to repress and modify policies-- autocrats cannot commit themselves not to enact radical policies that may severely affect the well-being of groups excluded from the authoritarian coalition. These excluded groups create challenger parties to avert the possible radicalism of the authoritarian elites: by entering the electoral fray, opposition parties limit the authoritarians' ability of deviating from the policy preference of the pivotal voter that gives them electoral supermajorities. Challenger parties achieve this outcome only if their founders create ideologically sound programs, robust formal organizations, and recruit staunch members to mobilize a significant proportion of voters against the autocrats. In contrast, during authoritarian twilights ---periods of time in which incumbents have limited ability to repress or modify the policy agenda--- challenger politicians create parties with the intention of getting into office as soon as possible. This urgency discourages them from creating coherent party programs or formal organizations, or from recruiting members with shared policy preferences. Without these elements, these challenger parties are incapable of using programmatic strategies to mobilize the electorate after democratization ---if their leaders have "brokerage roles", these parties end up utilizing clientelistic strategies to get a following; if their leaders lack these roles, they end up utilizing personalistic appeals to obtain votes.
To assess the empirical validity of this argument, the dissertation presents a novel comparative study of two major political parties in Mexico: the Partido Accion Nacional and the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica. Using a diversity of data sources (archival documents, surveys, census data, district level election results, interviews with party politicians) and a variety of methodologies (process tracing in combination with different econometric methods), the dissertation demonstrates that the PAN, created in an authoritarian apogee, developed the necessary elements to establish programmatic linkages with the electorate after Mexico's transition to democracy at the end of the 1990s. In contrast, the dissertation shows that the PRD became a clientelistic party, mainly because it emerged in an authoritarian twilight and its leaders had brokerage roles.