The combination of interests - political parties and voting - Sociology

The combination of interests - political parties and voting

The party system and the electoral process are included in the mechanisms both for expressing interests and for integrating them into alternative policies.

Thus, English sociologists investigating the relationship between belonging to a certain class and the support of political parties came to the conclusion that the main political parties do not reflect the irreconcilable and clearly articulated divergence of class interests, although the factor of class affiliation plays a clear role in supporting parties . The Conservative Party, for example, attracted at a certain time an appreciable part of the votes of the working class. No conservative government could come to power without such support, since representatives of the working class were then about 70% of the total electorate. The class composition of those who voted for the Labor Party was more homogeneous, but approximately 8% of the votes were cast by successful leaders of private enterprises. Representatives of the middle class supported both that party, and another. About a quarter of the lower middle class layer voted for the Laborites and about a third of the upper stratum of the working class voted for the Conservatives.

Continuing to consider the example of the British party system, we note that there were no obvious discrepancies between the parties on a wide range of issues. On humanitarian issues, such as the use of corporal punishment, and on issues of international relations, such as nuclear disarmament and UN support, the differences between the voters of the Conservatives and the Labor Party were insignificant. And only on economic and social problems positions differed significantly. But even here there were many representatives of the Conservative Party - the supporters of the "leftists" views and representatives of the Labor separating the "right" views. Even on the issue of changing the size of the additional tax in 1961, 32% of the conservatives opposed (compared to 67% of Labor). 2 Here, not a difference of opinion, but a consensus between a significant number of representatives of both parties is noteworthy. This forces parties to seek compromises and make concessions in order to either obtain or retain the required majority.

That is, support for the party does not necessarily imply support for all of its policies. Studies of the voting process indicated that voters were attracted by the general image of the party. This image also includes class elements.

Part of the image of the Labor Party, which exists among its supporters, is that this party stands for "the working class". But many supporters of the Labor Party do not agree with certain points of its policy, especially on issues of nationalization. And for many conservatives, for example, the problem of nationalization is correlated with the image of the Labor Party.

However, the fact that voters support the party, based more on its image than on real politics, makes it easier for the party to consolidate its position and pursue a consistent policy.

Given that individuals enter into different groups and have very different statuses, they are often subject to pressure from different sides, sometimes with opposite vectors. In cases where the vectors coincide, the pressure is added together, which can cause sharp disagreements, in which a compromise is not possible.

The schism outweighs the agreement, and social conditions favorable to democracy are minimized.

The function of the parties is precisely to unite public interests in an alternative government policy.

Such discrepancies do not necessarily threaten the unity of society. Indeed, according to the well-known sociologist S. Lipset, some measure of discrepancy is even necessary for the existence of a stable democratic system. Then there will be a struggle for a place in power, a challenge will be raised to the party in power, and a change of parties in power will be held. " But if the differences become too deep and become a split, then the possibility of changing party preferences and electing an alternative government is very small.

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