“The `left behind’ are not alone: class alliances and extreme right success”

Sergi Pardos (Merton College – University of Oxford)
28 September 2016, 13:00h, Sala de Juntes

Understanding populist anti-immigrant party success has been in the comparative politics research agenda for the last couple of decades. However, macro-level theories in the field have not reached a consensus on why such parties emerge and, especially, why they don’t emerge. Contrary to the view that such parties are exclusively attracting `left behind’ blue collar workers, I argue that a crucial determinant of extreme right success is the capacity to divide centre-right electorates and attract part of conservative middle-upper class constituencies. When unemployment is concentrated amongst the lower classes and immigration in are high, centre-right parties can more easily attract a unified pro-market and anti-immigration electorate wary of increased redistribution demands. By contrast, more equal distributions of unemployment risk and lower immigration inows divide the right-wing space into liberals and conservatives, and favour the opportunity structure of the extreme right.