Larry Diamond – The Spirit of Democracy

Larry Diamond is the intellectual conscience of democracy scholarship. Perhaps this assessment is unfair. He is among the great intellectual minds among scholars of democracy living today. Yet his legacy is not necessarily theoretical but rather moral. He has challenged leaders around the world to live up to the standards of liberal democracy. Writing in…

Francis Fukuyama – Political Order and Political Decay

Francis Fukuyama established his reputation with the publication The End of History and the Last Man, but it is his two-volume work on political order which is his masterpiece. It is this work which realizes ambitions which were implied but never attempted in his earlier writings. And both its achievements and flaws originate from his…

Robert Dahl – On Political Equality

Dahl’s majoritarianism has never made sense to me. I get the feeling Dahl has different ideas he believes relate to democracy. But he never completely ties them together. There are so many loose ends which he dances around. It’s a beautiful chaos because he is a genius who is completely honest with his intellectual curiosity…

Arend Lijphart – Patterns of Democracy

The traditional definition of democracy emphasizes the principle of majority rule and the institution of elections. This is where the genesis of the “tyranny of the majority” claim emerges. Typically, political theorists have required the marriage of liberalism and democracy to establish limitations on majority rule. This approach assumes there is a conflict between traditional…

What is Democracy?

My search for meaning behind the political notion known as democracy began with the election of Donald Trump. Like many I did not believe his election was possible. It seemed inconceivable the democratic process would elevate a candidate who threatened its very existence. Republicans may feel I exaggerate, but I was appalled when he was…

Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy

It is common to qualify democratic governance as not simply democracy but liberal democracy. This is natural because freedom has been associated with democracy dating back to the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. It is difficult to imagine an illiberal democracy which retained the foundations of democratic governance within an authoritarian or even totalitarian context.…

Yascha Mounk – The People vs. Democracy

There is a growing literature on the decline of democratic governance. Larry Diamond declared the world was in a democratic recession years ago and Freedom House has confirmed a long-term decline in democratic governance in their annual assessments. Of course, the literature has warned about a crisis of democracy in the past. Samuel Huntington cowrote…

Paul Chaisty, Nic Cheeseman and Timothy Power – Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective

Theories about presidentialism remain in the shadow of the “Perils of Presidentialism” thesis from Juan Linz. But a lot has changed since he made the case against presidential systems. Governments in nearly every region of the world have adopted some form of Presidential system. Chaisty, Cheeseman and Power have written a work which uses contemporary…