Partisan conflict and citizens’ democratic attitudes: How partisanship shapes reactions to legislative brawls

Nathan F. Batto, Emily Beaulieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Why do legislative brawls persist even though most citizens do not like them? Physical fights in the legislature present an image of extreme discord and bitter conflict in the democratic process. Original survey data from Taiwan, with its extensive history of legislative brawling, find that Taiwanese citizens view brawls and brawling legislators negatively. We argue that brawls persist despite general unpopularity because opposition legislators can strategically send signals to influential actors, such as strong party supporters in the case of Taiwan. An original panel survey conducted before and after a legislative brawl shows evidence consistent with this argument and demonstrates that brawling causes average evaluations of the legislature and of the democratic process to worsen. Thus, this example of persistent, unpopular partisan conflict helps us understand more generally why politicians might deliberately violate democratic norms and reveals some of the broader consequences of such violations for democratic representation and legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-328
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the Southern Political Science Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Partisan conflict and citizens’ democratic attitudes: How partisanship shapes reactions to legislative brawls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this