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Revista de Sociologia e Política

versão On-line ISSN 1678-9873

Resumo

BORGES, André. Political machines aren't made the way they used to be: unstable clientelism, vertical competition and electoral change in brazilian states. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2010, vol.18, n.35, pp.167-188. ISSN 1678-9873.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782010000100011.

This work seeks to supply elements for understanding the changes that can be verified within the country's poorest and least electorally-competitive states. Our goal is to identify the factors that underlie a series of victories obtained by center-Left coalitions during state election in 2002 and 2006, parallel to the weakening of old political bosses. Two hypotheses are elaborated in order to explain these transformations. First, we argue that, within the multi-party federalism that has been built in Brazil, vertical competition between federal and state governments in terms of public policy supply acts to constrain clientelist strategies and state political bosses' electoral control. In the second place, the article argues that the Brazilian electoral system tends to promote political fragmentation and increase the costs for forming winning coalitions, while at the same time the absence of strong political parties makes it harder to stabilize inter-elite competition and the patronage networks controlled by state governments. . Empirical analysis is supported by analytical techniques of linear regression and simple linear correlation, in order to explore connections between national and state politics throughout the 1990s and the year 2000. Finally, we engage in a detailed analysis of the decline of the PFL (Partido da Frente Liberal - Liberal Front Party) political machine in Bahia, which was in control over state politics for decades, in conjunction with the Worker's Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT) victory in the 2006 elections for governor. This part of the paper develops a model of linear regression in order to test the impact of local political dynamics and federal expenditures on fighting poverty (Bolsa Família) on the PT's 2006 electoral performance. We end by concluding that Brazilian democratic institutions conspire against the survival of political bosses at the state level, pointing to the need to re-evaluate established viewpoints on state politics

Palavras-chave : Brazilian politics; state elections; federalism; clientelism; social policy.

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