Protest participation may be motivated by a number of different strategic considerations; protestors -- who are generally seen as outsiders from the political system -- might try to achieve new policy outcomes or alter the political process, change the political discourse or influence public opinion, or simply express grievances. While social movement theory has examined different strategies, actors engaging in these strategies are seen as choosing among them based on the political context and the resources available to their cause. This paper focuses on protestors who are party activists. We present a micro-theory of protest behavior based on extended party network theory in political science. We suggest that those protestors trying to influence political parties are going to be different from other protestors. We test this using an original survey of protestors at the 2016 RNC and DNC. We show that protestors focusing on changing the party differed from protestors with other strategic considerations. They were more likely to be Democratic party activists targeting the Democratic party and most importantly they felt ideologically distant from that party. We conclude by discussing the implications for the future of the Democratic party's coalition.
About the presenter:
Lee Ann Banaszak is Department Head in Political Science and Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. This spring she was a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Australian National University. Her primary research interests are comparative political behavior, social movements, and gender and politics. Her work has been published in the Social Forces, Electoral Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly, and American Political Science Review; her books include Why Movements Succeed or Fail (Princeton University Press), The Women's Movement Inside and Outside the State (Cambridge University Press), Women's Movements Facing the Reconfigured State edited with Karen Beckwith and Dieter Rucht (Cambridge University Press), and 100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment edited with Holly McCammon (Oxford University Press).