The End of the Postnational Illusion

With the advance of modernization, nationalism was supposed to fade away. Yet everywhere we look, even in advanced democracies, nationalism’s influence seems larger than ever. What did we get wrong?

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The 2016 U.S. Election: The Populist Moment

Rising populism in the U.S. and beyond is calling into question the liberal-democratic bargain that has defined the postwar era. What led to Americans’ present revolt against elites, and what are its implications?

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The 2016 U.S. Election: How Trump Lost and Won

Three factors help to explain the historically wide split between the electoral and popular vote counts: economic and political fundamentals, polarization among voters over identity issues, and the sharply divergent ways in which the candidates chose to address these issues.


The 2016 U.S. Election: The Nomination Game

Since the 1970s, the U.S. presidential-nomination system has become more democratic, making primary elections crucial, reducing the influence of political parties, and making it easier for outsiders to win.


The 2016 U.S. Election: Fears and Facts About Electoral Integrity

In 2016, concerns about the administration of elections in the United States generated highly charged partisan debates. Are the worries justified?


The 2016 U.S. Election: Can Democracy Survive the Internet?

Traditional intermediary institutions such as parties and the legacy media are not what they once were, and they are not coming back. What are the implications of new social media and digital-campaign techniques?

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The Modernization Trap

Populist nationalism is emerging as the main competitor to liberal democracy. But despite its current resurgence, in the long run, like other illiberal paths to modernity, it is likely to prove a dead end.


Ghana: The Ebbing Power of Incumbency

Despite pre-election fears, the victory of the opposition NPP over the ruling NDC in Ghana’s December 2016 elections became the prologue to a peaceful transfer of power. This outcome suggests that the advantage of incumbency in African elections may be on the wane.


The Freedom House Survey for 2016: The Dual Threat of Populists and Autocrats

In 2016, established democracies figured prominently on the list of countries experiencing declines in freedom, while emboldened autocracies stepped up their repression at home and interference abroad. 


Southeast Asia: Voting Against Disorder

Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to the presidency of the Philippines reflects a broader trend in Southeast Asia of voters favoring politicians who elevate order above law. What does the history of “voting against disorder” in Indonesia and Thailand imply for the future of democracy in the Philippines?


Jordan and Morocco: The Palace Gambit

Two of the Arab world’s more liberal regimes, the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco, are sometimes said to be evolving toward democracy. Is this true, and what are the longer-term prospects for these two monarchies?


The Gambia’s Electoral Earthquake

This small West African country voted a longtime dictator out of the presidency. This victory for democracy was seemingly snatched away by his refusal to leave power—yet a breathtaking reversal lay in store.


Nicaragua: A Return to Caudillismo

With the ruling FSLN’s one-sided triumph in the November 2016 elections, Nicaraguan democracy underwent further erosion. The emerging authoritarian party-state, far from being a leftist revolutionary government, is becoming a neopatrimonial dictatorship in an older Latin American style.


What’s in a Name?

A review of What Is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller.


Election Watch

Reports on elections in Bulgaria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Macedonia, Micronesia, Romania, Somalia, and Timor-Leste.


Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from: U.S. president Donald J. Trump’s inaugural address; remarks by U.S. vice-president Mike Pence and U.S. senator John McCain at the Munich Security Conference; speeches by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, and the Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow; and NED president Carl Gershman’s remarks before the Lithuanian parliament. 


News and Notes

Oswaldo Payá Award; Democratic Deconsolidation: An Exchange; Yazidi Activists Honored; Human-Rights Summit; Remembering U Ko Ni (1953–2017); NED’s International Forum