Sarah Zukerman DalyDec 18, 2022
Why Bloodstained Parties Win Postwar Elections
Princeton University Press 2022
One of the great puzzles 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. Violent Victors: Why Bloodstained Parties Win Postwar Elections (Princeton University Press, 2022) by Dr. Sarah Zuckerman Daly 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 very people they targeted in war.
Drawing on more than two years of groundbreaking fieldwork, Dr. Daly combines case studies of victim voters in Latin America with experimental survey evidence and new data on postwar elections around the world. She argues that, contrary to oft-cited fears, postconflict elections do not necessarily give rise to renewed instability or political violence. Daly 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, Violent Victors 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.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.