Parties only protect their market share

Rent seeking behavior and a code of loyalty are not the ways to operate a successful democratic political party.

In Slovakia, loyalty means that Robert Kaliňák must remain interior minister despite years of scandal.In Slovakia, loyalty means that Robert Kaliňák must remain interior minister despite years of scandal. (Source: Sme)

It sure feels like politicians are more cowardly — and tribal — than ever. In many different places, internal party loyalty looks to have surpassed other virtues, like brand, competence and even electoral success. This trend is not only bad for the people these elected officials represent, but the long term health of the very parties they seek to protect.

In Slovakia, loyalty means that Robert Kaliňák must remain interior minister despite years of scandal even as he drags the Smer party down with him. In the United States, the Republican party supported an alleged child molester running for office in Alabama in hopes of maintaining their quantitative advantage in Senate. He lost this week and the party continues to lose reasonable center-right supporters. In the Czech Republic, the Social Democrats (ČSSD) may yet support Andrej Babiš’s government just because they fear risking early elections where they would fare badly. This guarantees they will do horribly whenever the next election is held.

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