Strategic choices allow small parties to balance their interests and achieve success
It is often thought that small party survival or failure is a result of institutional constraints, the behavior of large parties, and the choices of individual politicians. Jae-Jae Spoon, in contrast, argues that the decisions made by small parties themselves determine their ability to balance the dual goals of remaining true to their ideals while maximizing their vote and seat shares, thereby enabling them to survive even in adverse electoral systems.
Spoon employs a mixed-methods approach in order to explore the policy, electoral, and communication strategies of West European Green Parties from 1980 to the present. She combines cross-national data on these parties with in-depth comparative case studies of two New Politics parties, the French and British Green Parties, that have survived in similar national-level plurality electoral systems. Both of these parties have developed as organizations which run candidates in elections at the local, national, and European levels in their respective countries. The parties’ survival, Spoon asserts, results from their ability to balance their competing electoral, policy, and communication goals.
Jae-Jae Spoon is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Texas.