FUNCTIONING DYNAMICS AND CONTROL OF POWER IN POLITICAL PARTIES: THE CASES OF PT AND PSDB IN THE STATE OF SÃO PAULO

<p></p><p>This article’s objective was to investigate the organizational development and internal functioning of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) and of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB) at subnational level, namely in the state of São Paulo, where both had social prominence and strong electoral performance from 1994 to 2016. Based on the model by Panebianco (2005), we interviewed party leaders of the state of São Paulo, and we stated that both parties are organizations oriented primarily toward the control of state power (i.e., government), combining ample ideological-pragmatic discourses, candidate selection mechanisms, and the management of resources and territory distribution focusing on respective state directories, in addition to (distinct) strategies of mobilization and participation of its aligned sections of society. However, although Panebianco’s concept of genetic model adequately explains the organizational differences between PSDB (closer to the social-liberal model of management style) and PT (closer to the social-democratic model of participative style), it does not explain the great difference in electoral performance among them. We suppose that PSDB’s dominance during those twenty years can be explained, at least partially, by the combination of genetic model (social-liberal) and coalition type (cohesive-stable), which led us to the hypothesis – to be tested in another research project – that this party’s potential constituency is greater than PT’s because it gathers a wide and growing middle class of conservative character, in both the rich countryside and the metropolitan area of São Paulo.</p><p></p>