Democratic Backsliding: How it Happens and Why

Democratic Backsliding I don’t like to write about American politics. Anything I say becomes interpreted through the lens of partisanship rather than as political theory. At the same time, it’s become difficult to discuss the global decline of democracy without mentioning the United States. Of course, it does help to limit the discussion to specific... Continue Reading →

Personalism: A Podcast Primer

Personalism in Politics Timothy Frye in his recent book, Weak Strongman, describes Russia as a personalist autocracy. He distinguishes it from other forms of autocracy such as military dictatorships or single party states. Moreover, he emphasizes how different autocracies behave differently from one another. It can be a bit cliché to say institutions matter, but they... Continue Reading →

Freedom House: Sarah Repucci Assesses Freedom in the World

Sarah Repucci from Freedom House joins the podcast to offer an assessment of democracy worldwide. Sarah coauthored (along with Amy Slipowitz) the most recent volume of Freedom in the World: Democracy Under Siege. We discuss the global decline of democracy, the impact of the pandemic, and highlight developments in India, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, and the US.  ... Continue Reading →

Kurt Weyland Distinguishes Between Fascism and Authoritarianism

Kurt Weyland explains how the rise of communism and fascism made possible the proliferation of conservative authoritarianism during the interwar period. He is the author of Assault on Democracy: Communism, Fascism, and Authoritarianism During the Interwar Years. This is the 47th episode of the Democracy Paradox podcast.   In the 19th century Europe had thought that... Continue Reading →

Polarization in Democracies Podcast #35

Thomas Carothers and Andrew O'Donohue explain the challenges of polarization in many different contexts around the world. Tom is the Senior Vice President for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Andrew is a nonresident assistant at Carnegie and in the PhD program in Harvard’s Department of Government. Together they are the editors of Democracies... Continue Reading →

Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes – The Light That Failed

The end of the Cold War marked the clear end of a political era. As the Second World War ended, it became evident there was a tension between the American and Soviet world views. The collapse of the Soviet Union represented a clear victory for the American perspective. Democracy and capitalism became central to the... Continue Reading →

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.... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt – How Democracies Die

I will admit the title is a bit of a hyperbole. It grabs the reader’s attention, but it loses some credibility among intellectual readers. Fortunately, underneath the cover is a significant work of political thought. Steven Levitsky is a giant of political science who defined a new form of political regime along with Lucan Way... Continue Reading →

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