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Mariela Szwarcberg, "Political parties and rallies in Latin America," Party Politics, 20 (May 2014), 456-466. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue3/ ]

First paragraph:
Why do political parties conduct rallies during elections? While being able to reach a wider audience by spending money on television advertisements, candidates still travel to participate in rallies across the country. Parties conduct rallies in voters' towns to make them believe that the candidate understands their needs, remembers their claims and listens to their demands. Conducting rallies also enables parties to gain momentum and foster voter turnout (Green and Gerber, 2008). This article advances a different answer to the persistence of party rallies: I argue that rallies contribute to the organizational structure of clientelistic parties by providing information to different members within and outside of the organization.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Hypotheses and expected findings.
Table 2. Case selection and data.
Table 3. Party brokers' positions on the party ticket and re-election based on voter turnout at rallies and voter support at elections

Last Paragraph:
(last two paragraphs) Political candidates combine information gathered by conducting surveys, interviewing party operatives and informants, walking the neighbourhoods and organizing and executing rallies. This article focuses on the signalling and informational dimensions of party rallies by studying its electoral effects in Latin America.

Ultimately, rallies matter because in politics numbers matter, and rallies provide party leaders with an opportunity to display the party's support in a straightforward and visible manner. As such, their potential and appeal should not be discarded, even in the mass and social media era.

Last updated April 2014