This book explores the question of why and under which conditions right-wing populist parties receive electoral support. The author argues that neither economic variables, nor national culture or history are what account for their successes. Instead, he illustrates that the electoral success of populist parties in Western Europe, such as the French Front National or the Alternative for Germany, is best understood as the unintended consequence of misleading political messaging on the part of established political actors.
A two-level theory explains why moderate politicians have changed their approaches to political messaging, potentially benefiting the nationalist, anti-elitist and anti-immigration rhetoric of their populist contenders. Lastly, the book’s theoretical assumptions are empirically validated by case studies on the immigration societies of Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Foreword.- Preface.- 1.Introduction: How the failed political messaging of moderate political actors strengthens populist radical right parties.- 2.The Riddle: Why are some populist radical right parties more successful than others?.- 3.State of Research: Linking social theory with comparative politics.- 4.Research Design: Ensuring high validity and high reliability under the auspices of comparative case studies.- 5.Empirical Results: Why populistis win or lose - a two-level theory.- 6.The Netherlands: The PvdA's pyrrhic victories, or Waiting for Pim Fortuyn.- 7.Sweden: How the Liberals (FP) gave birth to the Swedish Democrats (SD).- 8.Germany: How a conservative compromise between the CDU/CSU and SPD blocked the populist radical right parties REP and Schill.- 9.Generalizing the Findings: Explaining the rise of the AfD and UKIP.- 10.Conclusioni: It's political messaging, stupid!.