Toward a Broader Theory of Affective Political Polarization and How It Impacts Electoral Regimes



Addison, Douglas Michael

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Across the world, a growing number of incumbent political parties are unwilling to ensure inclusive and fair contests for power. This thesis provides insight into how affective political polarization might play a role in this unfortunate contemporary history. The analysis offers a more detailed picture than what is available in the literature of how affective political polarization interacts with various combinations of incumbent-led electoral violence, autocratization, and democratization. At an abstract level, evidence is provided that affective political polarization is correlated with global trends of increasing electoral violence and autocratization at the expense of democratization. More practically, the thesis establishes the beginnings of a broad framework that might explain several common within-country transitions from one combination to another, from one election to the next. Analysts and practitioners may find the framework useful for further thinking about political conflict in electoral regimes.



Polarization, Electoral violence, Autocratization, Democratization, Election violence, Capacity