Categories: social, governance
What? America’s 2016 elections could mark a change in the role of political parties. The change is driven by the speed and scale of digital communication, especially social media. Today, near-ubiquitous social media has eroded the establishment’s ability to define the boundaries of acceptable political discourse. As a result, ‘outsider’ candidates are using social media to help bypass or co-opt the party system.
So what? Over the coming decade, political parties across the democratic world could lose their ability to control issues and drive political capital. Party systems manage power by giving voice to popular consent; mobilizing a meaningful proportion of the electorate used to be something only major national organizations could do. This is no longer true in the digital world. As a result, pluralism and populism could upend entrenched political party systems.