In politics, a big tent or catch-all party is a political party with membership of diverse viewpoints and ideologies.
The Democratic Party during the New Deal coalition, formed in support of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies from 1930s until 1960s, was a "big-tent" party. This coalition brought together labor unions, working-class voters, farm organizations, liberals, southern Democrats, African Americans, urban voters, and immigrants. While less of a big-tent today, the Democratic Party does retain "considerable ideological diversity," and political scientist William Mayer has shown "that the party's faithful consistently reflect a broad ideological and policy range than Republicans."
The Libertarian Party, following the 1974 Dallas Accord, embraced the big tent idea to the extent it ensured that the anarchist-capitalist views would not be excluded from the majority minarchist party.
The Democratic Socialists of America and the Socialist Party USA are both big tent parties for Socialist ideologies. The former also includes a Libertarian Socialist Caucus for Anarchists, Council Communists and Libertarian Socialists. Although, the DSA is technically an organization, not a party, and isn't recognized by the U.S. government. The latter is a big tent for Democratic Socialism, including the Revolutionary type.
In Italy, the Five Star Movement, led by comedian and actor Beppe Grillo has been described as a catch-all party, 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."
When Gordon Brown became British Prime Minister in 2007, he invited several members from outside the Labour Party into his government. These included former CBI Director-General Digby Jones who became a Minister of State, and former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown who was offered the position of Northern Ireland Secretary (Ashdown turned down the offer). The media often referred to Brown's ministry as "a government of all the talents" or simply "Brown's big tent".
- ANO 2011, Czech Republic
- Austrian People's Party
- Christian Democracy, Italy (1943–1994)
- Christian Democratic Union of Germany
- Fianna Fáil, Republic of Ireland
- Indian National Congress
- Islamic Iran Participation Front
- Liberal Democratic Party, Japan
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
- Scottish National Party
- Social Democratic Party, Portugal
- South Tyrolean People's Party
- Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan
- United Russia, Russia
- Together for Yes, Catalonia
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- 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."
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- Severin Carrell, "Alex Salmond's big tent bulges as Tommy Sheridan lends voteless support," The Guardian, 25 April 2011. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2011/apr/25/alex-salmond-tommy-sheridan-election
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