How Democratic is Ukraine?

Become a Patron! How Democratic is Ukraine? The media has framed the war between Russia and Ukraine as a conflict between democracy and autocracy. However, some skeptics question whether Ukraine is truly a democracy. Some criticisms simply refer to Ukraine as corrupt without much reflection. But others look to measures of democracy from Freedom House... Continue Reading →

Lucan Way on Ukraine. Democracy in Hard Places.

Lucan Way is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He coauthored (along with Steven Levitsky) Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. He has a new book also coauthored with Steven Levitsky due this fall called Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism. He is the author of... Continue Reading →

Democratization and Democratic Backsliding

Become a Patron! Democratization and Democratic Backsliding The recent episode with Michael Coppedge touched on an interesting idea. The causes for democratization might be distinct from the causes for its decline. Coppedge notes the idea is not new. Dankwart Rustow made this argument in an influential paper called, "Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model."... Continue Reading →

Party System Institutionalization (PSI)

Become a Patron! Party System Institutionalization (PSI) This week's podcast throws around quite a bit of political science jargon. One of the terms we discuss is party system institutionalization (PSI). It's a bit confusing because it refers to the health of the party system rather than any individual political party. The United States is a... Continue Reading →

Perils of Presidentialism

Become a Patron! Perils of Presidentialism In 1990 Juan Linz published an influential article titled "The Perils of Presidentialism." It's a highly influential essay among those who debate the merits of different forms of democracy. Linz argued the separation between the legislature and executive made governance problematic. Gridlock between the executive and the legislature leads... Continue Reading →

Michael Coppedge on Why Democracies Emerge, Why They Decline, and Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

Michael Coppedge is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, a principal investigator of the Varieties of Democracy project, and a faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. He is a coeditor (along with Amanda Edgell, Carl Henrik Knutsen, and Staffan Lindberg) of Why Democracies Develop and Decline.   Become a... Continue Reading →

Meaning and Purpose in the Constitution

Become a Patron! Meaning and Purpose in the Constitution Last week the American Supreme Court made two rulings on individual rights. In one case the court reversed its position on constitutional rights for women. Meanwhile, in another case they affirmed new rights to carry firearms in public. The constitution does not mention either of these... Continue Reading →

Is Consensus Democratic?

Become a Patron! Democratic Consensus Let's start with an admission. Consensus is never simple. On the surface, it feels democratic. It comes across as a meeting of the minds where disagreements are overcome. However, large groups will never reach true consensus. Even the assemblies at Zuccotti Park did not require unanimous consent. They discovered a... Continue Reading →

Democratic Leadership in Hard Places

Become a Patron! Democratic Leadership Democracy has always had a complicated relationship with its leaders. For starters democracy is the one form of government where leaders are regularly cast aside. Winston Churchill navigated Great Britain through World War II, but his party lost power shortly before the war's conclusion. For many leadership itself is undemocratic.... Continue Reading →

How Not to Defend the American Constitution

Become a Patron! How to Defend the American Constitution It's easy to throw around ideas like the Republic, the Constitution, and Freedom. Politicians do it all the time. But it's easy to talk. Our actions say a lot more about our values and beliefs. Many Republicans showed they would defend the American Constitution when it... Continue Reading →

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