Evan Lieberman on South Africa. Democracy in Hard Places

  Evan Lieberman is a Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Director of the MIT Global Diversity Lab, and the faculty director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). He is the coauthor with Rorisang Lekalake of the recent article "South Africa's Resilient Democracy" in the Journal... Continue Reading →

Russia Continues to Escalate

Become a Patron! Russia Continues to Escalate Russian hypocrisy has no limits. They routinely warn the United States and Europe about steps that might escalate the conflict. Yet Russia continues to escalate the conflict with seeming impunity. Last Tuesday President Biden announced plans to provide Ukraine four HIMARS systems able to launch rockets a distance... Continue Reading →

Why Saudi Arabia Remains an American Ally

Become a Patron! Saudi Arabia as an American Ally President Joe Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia in a scheduled trip to Europe and Israel. Normally, the visit would come across as business as usual. Saudi Arabia has been a key American ally in the Middle East for decades. However, President Biden tried to take... 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 →

Dan Slater on Indonesia

Dan Slater is the Weiser Professor of Emerging Democracies in the Department of Political Science and director of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan. Dan is also the coauthor of the forthcoming book From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia with Joseph Wong.   Become a Patron! This might sound... 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 →

The Democratization of Taiwan

Become a Patron! The Democratization of Taiwan Dan Slater and Joseph Wong view Taiwan as the paradigmatic example where an authoritarian party embraced democratization due to its strength rather than its weakness. Other examples in Asia include Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. It's also possible to identify other examples from around the world. One notable... Continue Reading →

Democratization Through Strength

  Become a Patron! Considering Democratization Through Strength This podcast has explored many counterintuitive theories about democracy and autocracy. Bryn Rosenfeld explained why a state-dependent middle class resists efforts to democratize. James Loxton introduced listeners to the idea of authoritarian successor parties. Michael Miller made an ambitious argument where "democratization is most likely when the resulting... Continue Reading →

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