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Samuels e Zucco 2012 Sobre o PT

Samuels e Zucco 2012 Sobre o PT

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Published by: Pedro Benatti Alvim on Jun 18, 2012
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002166
Crafting Mass Partisanship at the Grass Roots, from the TopDown.
Cesar ZuccoRutgers Universityzucco@polisci.rutgers.eduDavid SamuelsUniversity of Minnesotadsamuels@umn.edu
This version: February 26, 2012
How does mass partisanship emerge? We explore the varying fates of parties in Brazil—a de-cidedly anti-party environment in which social-cleavages and historical legacies cannot explainthe emergence of partisanship—and highlight a heretofore unexplored mechanism of craftingmass partisanship that sets the PT (Workers’ Party) apart from other parties: its deliberateefforts to reach out to organized elements in civil society by expanding its local-level organiza-tion. We show that the PT invested where civil society was organizationally dense, and thatthis led to increased party identification and improved electoral performance. Other parties, forpath-dependent reasons, did not adopt this tactic—and in the context of weak socio-culturalcleavages, have failed to gain partisan support.
Thanks to Oswaldo Amaral, Kosuke Imai, Rachel Meneguello, Andr´e Oliveira, Pedro Ribeiro, Taylor Boas,Kathryn Hochstetler, and to staff at the IBGE (Juarez Silva Filho), CESOP (Rosilene Gelape), and Datafolha (AnaCristina Cavalcanti de Souza).
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002166
Zucco & Samuels February 26, 2012
How does mass partisanship develop—particularly in the absence of deep socio-economic orcultural cleavages? In this paper we revisit one of the most venerable questions in comparativepolitics by examining variation in the evolution of mass partisanship in contemporary Brazil, focus-ing on the trajectory of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (
Partido dos Trabalhadores
, PT). The abilityof a party to lay down deep roots in society, given Brazil’s social and institutional environment,represents a theoretical puzzle in its own right. This suggests that the study of the evolution of partisanship in Brazil offers a useful case for advancing the comparative study of the sources of cleavage-formation.According to the classic formulation of the social cleavage theory of party-system emergence andevolution, party systems reflect deep historical societal divisions.
This view highlights a bottom-up,grass-roots approach to the emergence of mass partisanship. Reflecting theoretical dissatisfactionwith this approach, other scholars have emphasized political rather than sociological factors inparty-system emergence and evolution.
This view focuses on the role of strategic politicians incrafting partisan attachments from the top-down.Brazil offers a compelling case for theory development. In comparative perspective, Brazil hasbelow-average aggregate levels of mass partisanship.
About 45 percent of Brazilians identify withone of the 19 parties that currently have at least one seat in its legislature. However, even this figureis somewhat misleading, as most parties remain weakly-sedimented in society.
More specifically,since 1989 (when surveys asking a partisanship question were first taken) only three parties haveever commanded the sympathy of more than 5 percent of voters. In fact, as Figure1reveals, onlyone party—the PT—has managed to capture a significant number of partisans.Figure1shows the proportion of voters who identify with any party (the gray shaded area)as well as the share of Brazilians who have identified with the three largest parties: the PT,the PSDB (Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy), and the PMDB (Party of the BrazilianDemocratic Movement)
[Figure 1 about here.]
Zucco & Samuels February 26, 2012
The PT was granted legal recognition in 1982. By 1989 about 5 percent of Brazilians identifiedas “
,” but that proportion is now about 25 percent, corresponding to 60 percent of all parti-san identifiers in Brazil. Meanwhile, since 1989 the PMDB—the successor to the party that servedas the sanctioned opposition under Brazil’s 1964-85 military regime—has steadily lost identifiers,and the PSDB—despite holding the presidency from 1995–2002—has never managed to attractmore than a small number of partisans. Although candidates from these and other parties havehad success at the polls, only the PT has captured the partisan loyalties of a sizable proportion of voters.The PT’s growth from zero to one in four voters, over a relatively short period of time, is aremarkable achievement. How did the party grow from a footnote in Brazil’s party system in theearly 1980s
to dominant player today—winning the last three presidential elections and layingdown deep roots in Brazilian society? This question demands an answer. Unfortunately, existingresearch offers no solution to this puzzle, only providing clues as to what is
behind the rise of the PT and the stagnation of partisanship for Brazil’s other parties.The PT’s rise becomes even more theoretically puzzling when we consider the fact that Brazilis, in comparative perspective, a theoretically unlikely case for mass partisanship to emerge. First,Samuels
notes that ideology does not clearly differentiate between identifiers for Brazil’s mainparties. Second, in contrast to several other new democracies in Latin America and Eastern Europe,parties have not organized along pro- and anti-old regime lines. Third, social cleavages such as class,ethnicity, religion, or region are comparatively shallow,
and have historically never provided thebasis for party competition. And finally, even if such cleavages existed, Brazil’s political institutionsconspire against the emergence of mass partisanship.
Its electoral rules permit high party-systemfragmentation, making it hard for voters to understand where parties stand on the issues, and itsopen-list system for legislative elections fosters both intra- and inter-party competition, attenuatingthe importance of party labels and enhancing the importance of individual candidates’ reputations.In short, the institutional context and the absence of deep ideological or socio-cultural cleavages

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