Legacies of an authoritarian past still leave enduring effects on voters’ political attitudes and behavior. I argue that authoritarian nostalgia is a defining factor in voter attitudes and related behavior in post-authoritarian democracies. Voters who share core values from the authoritarian past construct heightened social identity toward the past, which breeds strong attachment to authoritarian legacy parties.
How does an authoritarian past shape voters’ left-right orientation? Recent studies investigated “anti-dictator bias” in political ideology that citizens of a former right-wing (left-wing) dictatorship may display a leftist (rightist) bias in their ideological self-identification. I argue “pro-dictator bias” that citizens may hold ideological positions corresponding to those of the dictator based on three reasons: first, successors of a former dictator may still dominate politics in some countries with inherited political resources from the past; second, not all former dictators are evaluated negatively and even attract positive evaluation based on their performance, evoking authoritarian nostalgia; and third, the political environment that shaped former dictators’ ideological position may persist under the new regime, prolonging the ideology’s relevance.
What explains the lack of electoral consequences for corrupt politicians? Building on studies of motivated reasoning and asymmetric partisan bias, this paper highlights the importance of partisan differences in how voters interpret corruption charges and make voting decisions. I contend that in post-authoritarian democracies, supporters of authoritarian legacy parties (ALPs) are less likely to punish corrupt copartisan incumbents compared to supporters of other parties faced with equally corrupt copartisan incumbents.