The Right in “New Left” Latin America

James David Bowen


Over the past decade, there has been a surge of “new Left” governments in Latin America, yet polling data shows no comparable shift to the left among the general Latin American population. If electorates have not followed their political leaders to the left, then it is likely that new right-wing political actors will emerge to compensate for the leftward shift in Latin American politics. I propose a research agenda for studying right-wing politics in light of the current wave of left-leaning governments in the region. I argue that we should focus on four main areas of right-wing politics: the political agenda of right-wing groups; their political organization; their power capability; and the institutional environment in which they operate. This agenda requires that we move beyond the traditional focus on right-wing political parties and focus on right-wing organizations at all levels of formal politics, as well as groups that operate outside the formal political arena.

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