In Denmark, as in other Western European countries, the working class does not vote for social democratic parties to the same extent as before. Yet, what role did the social democratic parties themselves play in the demobilization of class politics? Building on core ideas from public opinion literature, this article differs from the focus on party policy positions in previous work and, instead, focuses on the group-based appeals of the Social Democratic Party in Denmark. Based on a quantitative content analysis of party programs between 1961 and 2004, I find that, at the general level, class-related appeals have been replaced by appeals targeting non-economic groups. At the specific level, the class-related appeals that remain have increasingly been targeting businesses at the expense of traditional left-wing groups such as wage earners, tenants and pensioners. These findings support a widespread hypothesis that party strategy was crucial in the decline of class politics, but also suggests that future work on class mobilization should adopt a group-centered perspective.
- Mads Thau
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Published inWorld Political Science