Big tent or catch-all party is used in reference to a political party's policy of permitting or encouraging a broad spectrum of views among its members. This is in contrast to other parties that defend a determined ideology and seek voters who adhere to that ideology and convince people towards it.
Following the 2018 Armenian parliamentary election, the My Step Alliance rose to power on an anti-corruption and pro-democracy platform. The alliance has been described as maintaining a big tent ideology, as the alliance does not support any one particular political position. Instead, it focuses on strengthening Armenia's civil society and economic development.
The Liberal Party of Australia and its predecessors originated as an alliance of liberals and conservatives in opposition to the Australian Labor Party, beginning with the Commonwealth Liberal Party in 1909. This ideological distinction has endured to the present day, with the modern Liberal Party frequently described as a "broad church", a term popularised by former leader and Prime Minister John Howard. In this context, "broad church" is largely synonymous with "big tent". In the 21st century, the party is often characterised as having a "small-l liberal" wing and a conservative wing, which frequently come into conflict with each other. The party has historically found strong support primarily from the middle-class, though it has in recent decades appealed to socially conservative working-class voters.
The Janata Party which came into power in India in 1977, was a catch-all party which consisted of people with different ideologies opposed to The Emergency.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are considered catch-all parties, both being supported by people from different social classes and political ideologies. Both parties are however usually described as being very similar, and are positioned on the centre-right with a liberal conservative ideology. The reason they remain separate is due mainly to historical factors, with those who supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty in the 1920s eventually becoming Fine Gael, and those opposed would join Fianna Fáil and seek an independent Ireland.
In Italy, the Five Star Movement led by comedian and actor Beppe Grillo has been described as a catch-all, protest party and "post-ideological big tent" because its supporters do not share similar policy preferences, are split on major economic and social issues and are united largely based on "anti-establishment" sentiments. The Five Star Movement's "successful campaign formula combined anti-establishment sentiments with an economic and political protest which extends beyond the boundaries of traditional political orientations", yet its "'catch-all' formula" has limited its ability to become "a mature, functional, effective and coherent contender for government". The Northern League attracted voters in its early years from all the political spectrum. Forza Italia on the centre-right and the Democratic Party on the centre-left are considered catch-all parties, both having been formed from mergers of political parties with numerous ideological backgrounds.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which held power in Mexico for 71 uninterrupted years from 1929 to 2000 was founded following the Mexican Revolution. Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles founded the PRI, then known as the National Revolutionary Party, in 1929 with the intent of providing a political space in which all the surviving leaders and combatants of the Mexican Revolution could participate, and to solve the grave political crisis caused by the assassination of president-elect Álvaro Obregón in 1928. Throughout its nine-decade existence, the PRI has adopted a very wide array of ideologies (often determined by the President of the Republic in turn). It nationalized the petroleum industry in the 1940s and the banking industry in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the party went through reforms that shaped its current incarnation, with policies characterized as centre-right, such as the privatization of State-run companies, closer relations with the Catholic church, and embracing free-market capitalism and neoliberal policies.
Citizens, or simply "Cs" (Ciudadanos, in Spanish) has been considered as an example of astroturfing in the Spanish media since 2015. Originally founded as a social democratic regional party opposed to Catalan nationalism, it switched to a catch-all message in order to attract votes from the right to the moderate left in its appearance in the national political landscape. Its stance includes a mix of liberalism and pro-Europeanism, but the party has also embraced populist views on the legitimacy of its political opponents, conservative views on topics such as the criminal system and personal property and Spanish nationalist positions without many problems by its own leader, Inés Arrimadas, becoming one of the most recognisable "catch-all" parties in the history of the country. In the mid 2010s, however, the party's main ideology is perceived to have drifted towards the right, with Albert Rivera admitting that they would not agree to form a coalition with the two main centre-left and left parties after the April 2019 general election, regardless of the results. Further, some commentators argue that Ciudadanos was attempting to supplant the People's Party, which suffered massive losses, as the hegemonic party of the right, thus contributing to its shift in that direction. Similarly, Cs has allied with both the conservative People's Party and far-right Vox to achieve coalitions in regional parliaments. This has given rise to the expression "the three rights" to describe this grouping, while defining their opposition as "the left".
In counter to the New Deal coalition, the Republican Party was for much of its history a "big tent" party that encompassed a wide range of right-wing and center-right causes, including a wide range of politicians who were fiscally conservative and socially moderate or liberal and vice versa. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Republican party attracted support from wealthy suburban voters in the South and Midwest, Northeastern moderates, Western libertarians, and rural conservatives across the country. From 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six presidential elections, with the only exception being a narrow loss to Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976. The culture wars of the 1990s and the growing influence of the Christian right within the party prompted the socially moderate and liberal sections of the Republican base, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, to begin slowly leaving the party in favor of moderate Democrats or independents.
^Brokerage politics: "A Canadian term for successful big tent parties that embody a pluralistic catch-all approach to appeal to the median Canadian voter ... adopting centrist policies and electoral coalitions to satisfy the short-term preferences of a majority of electors who are not located on the ideological fringe."
^Schettino, Macario (June 6, 2018). "Mexico 2018: How AMLO Took a Page from the PRI Playbook". Americas Quarterly. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved 2018. Morena's star has risen so quickly because it offers refuge to such a wide range of beliefs and ideologies. The party has room for old guard supporters of Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, young leftist academics, former PRI leaders, evangelical Christians, actors, athletes, and even the odd business tycoon or two. In this way the party resembles the big tent of the PRI, which more than a guiding philosophy was guided by the administration of political power.
^Graham, Dave (March 20, 2018). "Mexican leftist's 'big tent' pitch puts presidency in sight". Reuters. Retrieved 2018. In a few months, he has assembled a coalition stretching from socially conservative Christian evangelicals to admirers of socialist Venezuela and business tycoons, each with contrasting visions for Mexico. Dozens of lawmakers from across the political spectrum have switched sides to join Lopez Obrador's National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), a party that is not yet four years old.
^Lisa Young, Feminists and Party Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2000), p. 84.
^Holly M. Allen, "New Deal Coalition" in Class in America: An Encyclopedia (Vol. 2: H-P), ed. Robert E. Weir (ABC-CLIO, 2007), p. 571: "During the 1930s liberals, labor unions, white ethnics, African Americans, farm groups, and Southern whites united to form the New Deal coalition. Though never formally organized, the coalition was sufficiently cohesive to make the Democratic Party the majority party from 1931 into the 1980s. Democrats won seven out of nine presidential contests and maintained majorities in both houses of Congress from 1932 to 1964. The divisiveness of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, the increasing segmentation of the labor force, and waning influence of unions, and the relative weakness of Democratic Party leadership are among the factors that led to the coalition's erosion in the late 1960s."
^Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
^Pallaver, Günther (2008). "South Tyrol's Consociational Democracy: Between Political Claim and Social Reality". In Jens Woelk; Francesco Palermo; Joseph Marko (eds.). Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights In South Tyrol. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 305, 309. ISBN978-90-04-16302-7.
^Lublin, David (2014). Minority Rules: Electoral Systems, Decentralization, and Ethnoregional Party Success. Oxford University Press. p. 229. ISBN978-0-19-994884-0.
^Iskandaryan, Alexander (May 23, 2012). "Armenian Elections: Technology vs. Ideology"(PDF). Caucasus Analytical Digest. ETH Zurich: 3. Both major parties in the Armenian parliament [Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia] represent elite groups. With almost no ideology to speak of, they are catch-all parties, a phenomenon becoming typical in the modern world.