A dicussion of bases

Welcome again to yet another column of minority report. This is the eleventh, so thanks for all loyal readers (all 2 of you) I have so far. In this column I will be discussing the concept of an electoral ‘base’ and in subsequent columns I will be analyzing what I view as the base(s) of individual micro parties. What is a base? According to wikipedia: “the term base refers to a group of voters who almost always support a single party’s candidates for elected office. Base voters are very unlikely to vote for the candidate of an opposing party, regardless of the specific views each candidate holds.” In New Zealand terms an electoral base is a group of voters who almost always support a political party regardless of any external political conditions and influences. The electoral base commonly provides the life blood, in terms of members, activists and recruits and funding of any political party, any political party withou a base will wither and die without any roots to the community. The bases of the two big parties provide a good point. The traditional base of the New Zealand Labour Party has been working class communities, unions and maori to some extent these hold true, but to quote Jordan Carter, the base of Labour has expanded to include “a rainbow hue of mixed ethnicities, origins, and a substantial and grounded liberal base that is where Labour finds very strong support indeed quite outside its traditional socio-economic bases.” The Labour Party has been able to expand it’s ‘traditional’ base without entirely destroying it’s reason for existence. The traditional base of the New Zealand National Party has been rural communities, business and upper-middle class people. To some extent, these hold true but the National Party’s success in the ‘traditional’ Labour seat of Waitakere illustrates that the National Party has been able to reach out to non-traditional voters. Both parties have had to expand beyond their ‘traditional’ bases to win seats in a FPP environment. However, before that they have needed some form of electoral base before getting big enough to do this. Micro-parties remain micro because they are unable to expand beyond their ‘niche base.’ In many cases their niche base is so small or diffuse as to be unable to win either an electorate seat or surpass the 5% threshold. In my next column(s), I will be analyzing micro-parties and their bases, but for now here’s a short sneak peak: Aotearoa Legalize Cannabis Party: • People who want cannabis legalized • Disaffected voters pissed with all parties (protest votes) • Tend to be young, most likely university students.


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