This dissertation explores the particular mechanisms by which political parties attempt to win people’s votes by embarking on specific electoral campaign strategies. It also develops a more comprehensive theory and a novel way to systematically measure the centrality to campaigns of clientelistic, programmatic, personalistic and incumbent’s performance voter mobilization strategy types.
This dissertation produces an argument in which the campaign strategies political parties use are influenced by, not only district factors such as socioeconomic development and electoral competitiveness, but also by party factors such as candidate nomination compromises and the dispersion of power within parties.
This is a comparative case study in which causation is viewed as a combination of conditions where the causal factors are seen in interaction with one another in a context. The comparative method, based on in-depth study of cases and qualitative data analyses, allows a comprehensive view of campaign strategies’ processes. The study of cases also permits a justification of the importance of the local political party apparatus to mobilize voters in campaigns in a way which complements, and in many aspects transcends, the mass media campaign. The dissertation, for example, reveals that particular mechanisms in the clientelistic relationship and the relative autonomy of the broker have unique consequences to governance and accountability in the respective communities.
This mostly qualitative study of five Argentine provinces is primarily based on original data from eighty six interviews of local, provincial and national elected officials, with the goal of tracing meaning and causal relationships in specific contexts. The dissertation also counts with supporting evidence from content analysis of newspapers and public opinion surveys. The dissertation provides measurable factors and indicators, which improve the available comparative tools used in the study of clientelism, personalism, programmatic and incumbents’ performance as strategy types.