In the digital age, new ways of interaction provide a new type of public sphere, which dramatically changes party politics. This not only includes the modernisation and professionalisation of mainstream political parties but also paves the way for new challengers and a new dimension of campaigning. The current examples, the Pirate Party, especially in Germany, and the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, show at least short-term potential. The Pirate Party caused a media hype about the young activists. Grillo transcended the borders between comedy and politics without the helping hand of the traditional media, which ignored him. The threat for representative democracies lies in the growing anti-elitism, which combines the Pirates and Grillo. Mainstream political parties should indicate that the claim for a new participatory politics beyond right and left is a utopian one, while attacking the way that party politics works. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.