Electoralism/Democratism

Why Conservative Parties Are Central to Democracy

The right has repeatedly acted as a “hinge of history,” one political scientist says.

Marko Djurica / Reuters

Survey the conservative parties of the Western world these days, and you’ll come away confused. Are they on the rise or under siege? In the United States, a Republican Party that only months ago was imploding now controls the federal government. In the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party holds power, but just barely, after a poor showing at the polls. In France, the Republican Party is outperforming its traditional rival, the Socialists—but underperforming relative to the brand new party of the upstart prime minister. In the Netherlands, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy managed to fend off a challenge from a far-right firebrand … by co-opting parts of the far right’s agenda.

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