What are the political preferences of ethnic minorities and their representatives? How does this representation shape political competition, and with what systemic effects?
This talk presents a project that demonstrates how permanent ethnic minorities in the search for group preservation champion rights and liberties protecting them form the tyranny of the majority. It shows that ethnic mobilization can translate into broader ideological preferences and political behavior, inducing the formation of liberal political poles on the one hand, and illiberal opposition on the other. This dynamic is system forming, as it configures political cleavages, shapes party systems, and informs the absorption of new political issues. Ultimately, the presence of ethnic minorities can be a force for liberal democracy. Simultaneously, conditional factors cross-pressure ethnic minority search for rights and liberties, potentially attenuating ethnic liberalism and inducing exclusionary particularism. The talk thus highlights that ethnic minorities and their representatives are circumstantial liberals. The analyses combine the study of ethnic politics with research on electoral behaviour and party competition, using mixed experimental, quantitative, and qualitative methods.