Become a Patron! Fragile Autocracies Many writers (including myself) refer to democracy as fragile. Even the most consolidated democracies face numerous threats from within and without its borders. However, the idea of democracy as fragile gives a false impression of authoritarianism as durable. In reality every regime has numerous internal and external threats to its... Continue Reading →
Democracy on Autopilot
Become a Patron! Democracy on Autopilot Lately my mind regularly drifts to a quote from the new book from Dan Slater and Joseph Wong. They write, "Democracy doesn’t 'just happen' as a matter of course with a society’s modernization; rather, real people need to make risky decisions that have vital implications for democracy’s fate." It... Continue Reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →