By Simon Bornschier and Hanspeter Kriesi
To many, the transformation of West European party systems since the 1970s and 1980s was seen as evidence that the era of cleavage-based politics was over. The rise of identity politics was interpreted not only as a result of the waning of the traditional class and religious cleavages, but as evidence for a new era in which political preferences de-coupled from social structure began to shape voting behavior. It was assumed that voters were “beginning to choose” parties for their policy propositions, the quality of their personnel, or based on their value preferences. The more recent successes of the extreme populist right once again were taken to indicate that anti-establishment populist mobilization was cutting across class alignments. From this point of view, the by now well established finding that the working class is over-represented in the extreme populist right’s electorate came unexpectedly.
Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012