Pluralism and its Complications for Democracy

  Become a Patron! Pluralism in Democracy Robert Dahl saw pluralism as a foundation of democracy and a challenge to democracy. The presence of independent organizations represent the freedom of association. They also provide opportunities to decentralize power throughout society. However, the growth of organizations also creates new centers of power that impose their influence... Continue Reading →

Pisano Reimagines Politics in Staging Democracy

Become a Patron! Staging Democracy The distinction between democracy and autocracy has become difficult to ascertain with the proliferation of so many hybrid regimes around the world. Most autocratic regimes hold multiparty elections. Of course, they are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, they make efforts to demonstrate some form of electoral legitimacy. Moreover, the unfairness... Continue Reading →

Is This Still a Hot Peace?

Become a Patron! Hot Peace Perhaps the book Michael McFaul is most recognized for is From Cold War to Hot Peace. It's his personal memoir from his time as the American ambassador to Russia. But like I said on the podcast it also provides a chronicle of US-Russo relations during a time of transition. McFaul begins... Continue Reading →

Power and Purpose Nearly Twenty Years Later

Become a Patron! Power and Purpose In the recent interview with Michael McFaul and Robert Person, we mention two different books written by Michael McFaul. It's likely you have read his most recent book From Cold War to Hot Peace. But we also mention an older book called Power and Purpose. McFaul coauthored this book with James... Continue Reading →

Corruption is Transnational

Become a Patron! Central Asia and Transnational Corruption A theme of the podcast has become the blurred line between national and international politics. Ronald Deibert explained how autocrats use technology to repress opponents even after they flee their country. A few years ago Christopher Walker coined the term sharp power. Walker writes sharp power "involves... Continue Reading →

Nested Games

Become a Patron! The Nested Games of Brexit It's typical to talk about a political calculus, but less common to think about politics like calculus. A common misconception about politicians is they care about public opinion. This is a half-truth. They do care about what voters think, but they don't care about the totality of... Continue Reading →

Institutional Weakness in Hard Places

Become a Patron! Institutional Weakness I learned about institutional weakness for the first time from a book called The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America. Initially, I thought it was just another name for state capacity. But Mala Htun and Francesca Jensenius point out, "Weak institutions are not just a matter of weak state... Continue Reading →

Introducing Democracy in Hard Places

Become a Patron! Democracy in Hard Places Yesterday I kicked off a series of episodes focused on democracy in hard places. The first episode featured Dan Slater in a discussion about democracy in Indonesia. The conversation loosely focused on a chapter Dan wrote in a forthcoming book called Democracy in Hard Places. It's a fascinating examination of... Continue Reading →

Are the Democrats an Authoritarian Successor Party?

Become a Patron! An Authoritarian Successor Party in America The Democrats represent a big tent coalition of many disadvantaged groups alongside educated elites. However, they have a complicated history. The party arose out of demands for greater popular participation and democratic sentiments. The Democrats gained support through the expansion of voting rights and pushed to... Continue Reading →

Will China Become a Democracy?

Become a Patron! Will China Become a Democracy? Many political thinkers wonder whether China will become a democracy. Some think it is inevitable, while others believe it is impossible. But most simply don't know how. As China continues to modernize, it seems inevitable citizens will demand greater influence in their government. Still, it is unclear... Continue Reading →

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