Varieties of Party Identity and Organization

Varieties of Democracy:

Varieties of Party Identity and Organization (V-Party) is a new dataset, produced by the V-Dem Institute, examining the policy positions and organizational structures of political parties across the world. The largest ever study of its kind, the data highlight shifts and trends within and betweeen parties since 1970.

V-Party’s Illiberalism Index shows that the Republican party in the US has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years. Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary. Conversely, the Democratic party has retained a commitment to longstanding democratic standards.

This is a global trend: The median governing party in democracies has become more illiberal in recent decades. This means that more parties show lower commitment to political pluralism, demonization of political opponents, disrespect for fundamental minority rights and encouragement of political violence.

Democrats also fare to the right of the median party in democracies in this millennium in terms of the role of religion in politics, immigration, and support of state measures to enhance the equal participation of women in the labor market. They fare to the left of the spectrum when it comes to support for LGBT equality and opposing the idea of cultural superiority of particular group or nation.

The median governing party in democracies has become more illiberal in recent decades – rising from a score of 0.08 in 1970 to 0.28 in 2019. “This global trend indicates that contemporary threats to democracy typically come from within the government,” says V-Dem Institute’s Director Staffan I. Lindberg.


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