Political parties seem to be either dysfunctional or on the decline almost everywhere. In developing countries dominated by strongmen, so-called opposition parties do not always oppose and are often little more than personal vehicles for their own leaders. Even in 32 of 36 developed countries party membership has declined since 1990.
Political parties used to be described as “loyal opposition,” combining support for a democratic political system with opposition to a particular regime. Once described as “the most advanced and institutionalized form of political conflict,” loyal opposition seems to have declined almost everywhere, along with parties. Even where political parties persist, as in the United States, the very idea of loyal opposition seems to be missing. Continue reading