The Ebb of the Pink Tide and a Turn to the Right in Latin America

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The left-wing governments that possessed the power of the executive in Latin America for almost two decades are now under duress. The event that has posed the initial threat to the “reign” of the Pink Tide is believed to be the 2015 election of Mauricio Macri in Argentina. This event triggered a chain reaction of conservative changes in government and a backlash against left-leaning dominance. Having this phenomenon in mind, this study attempts to explain why the left has lost power in Latin America, by employing a comparative case study approach. The selected cases, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, are regarded as representative for the issue under scrutiny. Few accounts, if any, have attempted to explain the leftist retreat using a two-folded framework encompassing competing explanations. As a result, the relationship between an economic and religious variable is explored, by disentangling the two and testing whether they are mutually exclusive or convergent. The findings suggest a certain degree of variation between the three cases, but prove that economic and religious voting coexist in each and every case. The end of the commodity boom generated severe economic crisis that triggered discontent amongst the masses, who cast their vote using an economic, forward-looking rationale. What other studies neglected is that economic voting did not necessarily exist independently, but was coupled with the significant voting capacity of conservative Evangelicals, a denomination with a relevant increase in adherents recently. This expanding trend is not yet a massive phenomenon all over Latin America. But despite impacting countries disproportionately, this study demonstrates it has a tangible impact on the region’s politics.

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