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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Legislative candidates and sitting legislators can and sometimes do change official party affiliation. The study of legislative party switching offers important lessons about parties, legislatures, and democratic politics. As this chapter shows, when we take seriously politicians’ willingness and ability to jump party, we shed fresh light on the wisdom that politicians treat parties as vehicles for winning votes, securing office, and wielding policy influence. We advance knowledge of parties as key components of democratic governance. We gain new insight into legislative institutions as constraints on representatives’ behavior and as resources in the hands of strategic politicians. We enlarge understanding of the roles played by elections in both democratic and authoritarian regimes.

Keywords: political parties, legislative parties, intraparty politics, party switching, legislator ambition, strategic partisanship, legislative institutions, party systems, representation

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