The need for a shared identity
Between campaign periods, political organisations can struggle with moral. There is no election in sight, which leads to much less excitement around whatever your party is trying to do. This, in turn, leads to fewer people interested in your cause. That means that, while campaigns can attract activists and other kinds of volunteers, most of the time the party is ‘stuck’ with those who make it up: party members.
Party members are the heart of a party. But if the identity that binds them is not strong enough, a large membership can do more harm than good. Internal arguments and fighting can be a distraction for the party’s political leaders and pull their attention away from what they should be focusing on: voters.
So what can be done about this? Of course, there are the usual tactics to strengthen member’s shared identity: regular get-togethers; camps for party members; a charismatic party leader; and a clear political adversary on which the frustrations of party members can be projected. However, identity building that is aimed only at the party’s members is unlikely to succeed. In order to motivate your members, the party’s identity must align with the identity that you show the public and voters.