A party that follows a pure electoral strategy would nominate candidates and conduct election campaigns with the intention of maximizing its vote in the citizenry at large or in a subset of the citizenry which is identified as the party's clientele. It contests elections in a spirit which emphasizes the integrity of the electoral process over the importance of winning the election.
A party might follow this strategy in its pure form, or it might follow a strategy which involves mixes of the other orientations. Each of these orientations can be conceived as components in a zero-sum model, with the "sum" equal to an arbitrary value that stands for an overall strategy. In such a model, reliance on one orientation decreases reliance on the others, with the possibility of relying on one orientation (i.e., following a pure strategy) to the exclusion of others. In the case of a strategy with mixed orientations, or a "mixed" strategy, recognition is given to the relative reliance, or "weight," of each orientation in the strategy. These weights are assigned so that the sum of the weights equals the arbitrary value that stands for an overall strategy.
Operational Definition. A party's reliance on open competition in the electoral process is scored in accordance with the following weights. This scoring is done in conjunction with scoring variables 6.10 and 6.20 so that the sum of strategy scores equals the arbitrary value of 4.
Coding Results. Although the evidence was sparse in several cases, we were able to code every party in the study for its strategy in pursuing the goal of placing its representatives in governmental positions. Tables 7.1a and 7.lb contain the distributions of our codes for BV600, the first of our three variables corresponding to the three types of strategies that a party can pursue--for example, competition, restriction, or subversion. What is initially most striking about the data in Tables 7.1a and 7.1b is that less than half of the parties in the study--and, by inference from our sample, less than half of the parties in the world in the 1950s--followed a pure strategy of open competition in the electoral process (code 4 in the table). Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the parties in our time period completely eschewed open competition as a viable strategy (code 0 in the table) and chose another orientation. The remainder employed mixed strategies that were flavored to a greater or lesser degree by open competition. To accommodate subtleties in combinations of party strategies, we had to admit fractional scores between 0 and 4 in our codes, which accounts for the decimal values in Tables 7.1a and 7.1b. The lower mean for BV600 in the last part of our era implies that parties tended to swing away from competition as a component in mixed strategies although the proportion of parties relying on it exclusively increased slightly after 1957. Our confidence in coding this variable was generally quite good, and there was no significant correlation between BV600 and AC600.
Variables 6.01 through 6.05 are reserved for specific party activities that can be classified for their likely usage as direct tactics under a strategy of open competition in the electoral process, measured by the preceding variable, BV600. These "direct tactic" variables are