What influences parties’ choices between clientelistic and programmatic citizen- politician linkages? In the context of democratization, many authoritarian regimes used to deploy clientelism as the main strategy for maintaining its rules (Magaloni 2006). Even in democratic institutions, parties could systematically and continuously engage in clientelism to maintain long time ruling (Piattoni 2001, Kitschelt 2007). Those hegemonic parties, once defeated in elections, faced an important choice of where to go. In various accounts, different parties went through different lines of development, producing different outcomes. Compared to Shefter’s (1977) analysis that the choice of clientelistic/programmatic strategies is path-dependent and fixed, this paper seeks to address the changes. By investigating two cases of former hegemonic parties’ transition after electoral defeat (KMT in Taiwan and PRI in Mexico), I examined why parties made different choices, and how those different moves altered the transformation of parties. Furthermore, I offered a theoretical pattern in conclusion to differentiate different forms of transformation by two factors: resource control and ideological strength.
Theoretical terms and method
Two key terms in this paper need to be clarified in advance: resource control and ideological strength. By resource control, I mean particularly the financial resources parties possess and distribute for the sake of winning elections. Resources include control over central or local government budget, access to public subsidies allocation and other properties owned by parties. Levels of resource control can be measured by different offices held by the party and the party’s expenditure structure. It is generally perceived that financial resource is the essential equipment for conducting clientelistic politics. And in the case of former hegemonic parties, we mainly focus on the sub-national offices (state/province level) it holds to analyze how much financial resource the party could still distribute.
Ideological strength means the party’s ability to mobilize voters on ideological grounds. Indicators of ideological strength include whether the party has a clear image of ideology, and how many supporters’ affiliation is based on ideology recognition. A strong ideology position is considered as essential for programmatic politics to happen. More importantly, ideological strength does not equal to the extent to which party move toward radical positions. A party can be moderate yet has strong ideological strength, and a radical party can be of weak ideological strength if it didn’t articulate their stance and received limited support.
Beside these two concepts, it is also important to conceive the clientelistic/ programmatic dichotomy as a continuum. Many parties adopt both kind of citizen-politician linkage with different proportions. There’s hardly an absolute clientelistic party, neither does an absolute programmatic party...