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Daniel Koss (Harvard University), “Evolving Linkage Strategies: The Resilience of the LDP-Postmasters Alliance”
November 4, 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
U.S. EDT: November 4 (Thu), 8 – 9 PM
JST: November 5 (Fri), 9 – 10 AM
NOTE: Registration required! Link.
Paper is available here.
To build linkages with citizens, parties piggyback on the networks of partner associations. This research note explores the enduring alliance between the LDP and the postmasters, assessing to which the party’s reach comes at the expense of its autonomy. The alliance used to epitomize Japan’s costly machine politics, until the postal reform of 2005 was to shake off political capture. Examining career trajectories, this note first shows that the partners have quickly found back together, albeit on new terms. Distilling information from political finance data, the note then describes institutions that underpin the partnership, such as cross-financing schemes to rebuild trust. Finally, by geographically mapping postal linkages in space, the note illustrates the electoral value of the linkages and shows striking spatial associations between postal presence and electoral performance. The postal connection builds bridges between Tokyo and the countryside, warding off political alienation. The case illuminates the path-dependent evolution of the LDP’s organizational infrastructure: Instead of radically breaking with the past, the party nimbly adjusts inherited linkage strategies.
Presenter: Daniel Koss (Harvard University).
Chair: Daniel M. Smith (Columbia University).