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Dropping Out of Politics? The Impact of Harassment on Political Recruitment in Britain, 2017-2019

Elites
Political Violence
Candidate
Electoral Behaviour
Sofia Collignon
University of London, Royal Holloway College
Sofia Collignon
University of London, Royal Holloway College
Wolfgang Rüdig
University of Strathclyde

Abstract

The use of political violence to attain political goals has long been a source of concern. Once thought to be exclusive of countries of recent transition to democracy or with high levels of general violence, current evidence suggests that harassment and intimidation of political elites are more widespread than previously thought. Current research has focused on the nature of violence towards candidates and representatives and the online and offline patterns of the abuse. Yet, less research has been done regarding the effects of the abuse on political behaviour. Does harassment affect the citizens' decision to drop out of politics? Are younger candidates who perceive harassment differently more likely to drop out than older candidates? And how about BME/LGBT/disabled candidates? This article answers these questions by using evidence from the Representative Audit of Britain survey of candidates standing in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections. By doing so, this research contributes to the empirical and theoretical debates on violence towards political elites and its effect on political behaviour.