Book Review: Political Entrepreneurs: The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe

Catherine E. De Vries and Sara B. Hobolt

Political Entrepreneurs: The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe

(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020, ISBN: 9780691194752, 336 pp., $32.00 / £25.00)

According to academics, after a decade of crisis, European politics have suffered unfathomable metamorphoses, performing in the collapse of formerly-stable Western European political institutions. It’s egregious that no one can entirely predict how this would affect European politics, but the reality of developing new political players cannot be overlooked. Their entrance into the political arena has piqued the curiosity of scholars, who have been fascinated by attempts to interpret the reasons for their presence.

The book is a topical and significant book that delves into a timely and vital issue. Catherine de Vries and Sara Hobolt are two of Europe’s most influential specialists on party competitiveness. While many studies have looked at the emergence of these ‘rival parties’ across Europe, one of the book’s most essential benefactions is the notion that the rise of political beginners is only one side of the coin. Indeed, the authors argue that to comprehend this expansion fully, we must also consider the life of parties that were influential in the first three decades following World War II. Despite fast political bouleversement, some of these parties are still important at the moment. The book deepens understanding of once developments in European politics while furnishing a fruitful frame for unborn exploration in the field by drawing attention to the remarkable adaptability of similar dominant parties, which generally prompts far lower exploration trouble than the astonishing success of political entrepreneurs. Political Entrepreneurs is structured into four corridors and nine chapters that address all aspects of rival party political conduct. While concentrated on Western Europe, the authors take advantage of the quantum of accessible data, counting on expert, by-election, and fiat data to probe what inspires similar parties to challenge the established powers.

The first part of the book examines the notion of political de-alignment and identifies it as the primary problem defying the political diapason. The authors describe de-alignment as the interplay of political outliers and mainstream parties. As a result, De Vries and Hobolt produce a dominance and invention proposition of political metamorphosis. The authors’ interest in political request transitions originates from comparing the requests of artificial businesses and political parties. De Vries and Hobolt apply a swell proposition to twentieth-century Western Europe to better understand the rival parties’ nonfictional background. The result is a much larger frame for assaying Western European politics. The first swell begins in the early twentieth century with the emergence of popular social parties. The alternate swell is associated with the rise of green parties in the 1970s, while the third swell begins after the 1980s and is related to the rise of populist radical right groups.

The rival party approach relies heavily on the invention. According to the authors, there are two types of inventions: political invention and rhetorical invention. While the rhetorical invention is associated with anti-establishment speech, the political invention is appertained to as an issue of entrepreneurship. By combining these two factors, insurgent parties can successfully challenge the dominance of established parties and convert political request power. Authors distinguish between exogenous and endogenous sources of request power when agitating the generality of request power in politics. Exogenous (external) sources include electoral morals, while endogenous (internal) sources include pronounced convergence, the rallying of chops, and avoidance of problems.

The second section of the book concentrates on party domination and dominance techniques proposed by the endogenous sources in the book’s first section. The authors outline the elements that considerably hamper competitor parties’ electoral success. They claim that candidates cannot acquire electoral support under systems with high polarisation. The authors disregard the traditional generality of party cooperation and concentrate instead on the extent to which pickers can switch between current parties. Their hypothesis is predicated on the notion that the farther pickers switch between current parties, the lower their attachment to them. De Vries and Hobolt also extend their exploration to dominance styles. They characterize unique convergence as parties moving to the centre of the political spectrum to attract a larger number of pickers. One analogous system is related to Anthony Down’s rational choice proposition and Otto Kirchheimer’s catch-all party proposition. The capability of dominant parties to dominate the political program and thus avoid unpleasant issues is related to issue avoidance. The marshalling of authority is the ultimate domination fashion by which the established parties distinguish themselves from contenders.

The third part of the book focuses on invention and, in particular, its political confines previously appertained to as problem entrepreneurship. Using business circumlocutions, De Vries and Hobolt show how certain enterprises can lead to earnings or losses for the parties that accept or disregard them. The authors give three case studies from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands that help us understand the value of problem entrepreneurship. They look at political developments in Western Europe since the 1970s and show how these relate to the emergence of new-postmaterialist- enterprises in the political program, analogous to environmental issues and nuclear disarmament. The authors argue that political parties engage in win-lose behaviour because of the issue of entrepreneurship.

Parties organize their agendas based on the link between political revenues and the overall costs of their business. This sort of activity directly affects their political request standing. The book’s last section, titled “Transformation,” addresses the changes that competing parties bring to the electoral arena. In this section, De Vries and Hobolt describe what they foresee based on their proposal, focusing on what they term namer appeal or the favourable response of pickers to competing parties’ creative endeavour. The book’s last empirical chapter examines the issue of political request fragmentation and its influence on the political scene. The authors examine the birth and election wins of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany and the challenges in establishing governments in Belgium and the Netherlands to demonstrate how opposition parties may influence political life and even play a significant role in government formation. The book closes not with a conclusion but with a chapter on “future scripts.”

The writers provide three scenarios for the future of the political request. Using three case studies from the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain, the authors identify fragmentation, relief, and reinvention as the three most plausible outcomes. The authors define fragmentation as the spread of power in the political request, leading to political instability as farther parties crop. Relegation describes the creative ways rival parties use to depose established parties. Ultimately, reinvention is about a party’s capability to adapt to an ever-changing and delicate electoral environment. However, if successful, dominant parties can repel the trouble posed by rivals. The authors demonstrate that the presently dominant parties pay significantly lower attention to contentious “new politics” motifs than opposing parties, which presents an interesting argument. Will the substantially ‘adaptive’ systems accepted by political entrepreneurs in recent decades continue to be a kind of electoral success once they’re active in government and become a major party themselves? In doing so, the book creates the frame for instigative, partial-baked examinations.

The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe is a precious resource for academics and experimenters interested in European party contests and electoral gravidity. The book’s original and new theoretical frame of party dominance and invention not only extends our understanding of the rise of contending parties across Europe but also enriches the literature on relative politics more astronomically. De Vries and Hobolt present several clear and accessible analyses that exfoliate sapience on the nature and origins of patterns of political stability and change in ultramodern Western European party systems. Their work is an excellent addition to studies of European party competitiveness and will serve as a reference point for any unborn conversations on the issue.

Meltem Ince-Yenilmez
Associate Professor
Department of Economics
Izmir Democracy University

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