Violent Victors: Why Bloodstained Parties Win Postwar Elections
About the Event: A great puzzle of electoral politics is how parties that commit mass atrocities in war often win the support of victimized populations to establish the postwar political order. This project traces how parties derived from violent, wartime belligerents successfully campaign as the best providers of future societal peace, attracting votes not just from their core supporters but oftentimes also from the citizens targeted in war. Drawing on more than two years of fieldwork, the project combines case studies of victim voters in Latin America with experimental survey evidence and new data on postwar elections around the world. It argues that, contrary to oft-cited fears, postconflict elections do not necessarily give rise to renewed instability or political violence. The project demonstrates how war-scarred citizens reward belligerent parties for promising peace and security instead of blaming them for war. Yet, in so casting their ballots, voters sacrifice justice, liberal democracy, and social welfare. Proposing actionable interventions that can help to moderate these trade-offs, the project links war outcomes with democratic outcomes to shed essential new light on political life after war and offers global perspectives on important questions about electoral behavior in the wake of mass violence.
About the Speaker: Sarah Z. Daly is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Her first book, Organized Violence after Civil War: The Geography of Recruitment in Latin America, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016 in its Comparative Politics series. It was runner-up for the 2017 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize and is based on her PhD dissertation, which was awarded the Lucian Pye Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Science. Her second book, Violent Victors: Why Bloodstained Parties Win Postwar Elections, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in its International Politics and History series in November 2022. For this research she was a named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow and received the Minerva-United States Institute of Peace, Peace and Security Early Career Scholar Award. Her research on war and peace, political life after war, and organized crime has appeared in British Journal of Political Science, World Politics, International Security, Political Analysis, Comparative Politics, and Journal of Peace Research, among other journals. Daly’s research has been funded by multiple sources including the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and American Council of Learned Societies. She has held fellowships at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and Latin American Studies Program at Princeton University. Daly received a BA from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), MSc from London School of Economics, and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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