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An analysis on political polarization

March 24th, 2017

A left-wing sociologist thinks that emotional and radical political mobilization are the only games in town, and both Left and Right can only hope to make an impression on the public by sending simplified and populist messages.

Writing in Népszava, Pál Tamás accuses both Left and Right of pursuing ‘hysterical politics’. The veteran left-wing sociologist sees the vocabulary of the mainstream Right as becoming increasingly radical and populist, but scorns the Left for borrowing from that same vocabulary and for trying to mobilize voters through highly emotional messages. Nevertheless, Tamás remarks that simple and emotionally charged politics is not illegitimate while he also believes that fears of spiralling populism are exaggerated. Populist rhetoric is often moderated by pragmatic voter interests, and if populist politics spirals out of control, voters will turn to more moderate and reasonable parties. But for the time being, tough play and hysterical political mobilization are the only games in town for both Left and Right, Tamás complains.

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