Articles

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April 2021, Volume 32, Issue 2

Why the Future Is Democratic

The swelling pessimism about democracy’s future is unwarranted. Values focused on human freedom are spreading throughout the world, and suggest that the future of self-government is actually quite bright.

April 2021, Volume 32, Issue 2

Authoritarian Vestiges in Democratic Regimes

Democracies rarely begin with a blank slate. Relics of authoritarian rule typically persist after democratic transitions, and these vestiges are not always harmful to people’s newfound freedom.

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January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

Why Strongmen Win in Weak States

While analysts of populism have focused on economic woes and “cultural backlash,” a thirst for the restoration of order may better explain the appeal of authoritarian populists in fragile democracies where governance is falling short.

January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

The End of the Backsliding Paradigm

Like the “transition paradigm” before it, the concept of democratic backsliding threatens to flatten our perceptions of complex political realities. Examples from East-Central Europe illustrate the ambiguous dynamics at play in many troubled democracies.

January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

Japanese Democracy After Shinzo Abe

The retirement of the country’s longest-serving prime minister leaves in place a “continuity administration,” and with it some troubling questions about whether liberal democracy’s “soft guardrails” are being eroded.

January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

Sri Lanka: The Return to Ethnocracy

The return to power, via elections, of the Rajapaksa family signals the consolidation of a Sinhalese Buddhist ethnocracy. But there are reasons to hope it will not take a turn toward full despotism.

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January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

The Arab Spring at 10: Kings or People?

A decade ago, Arab peoples stood up and sought to replace their rulers with a more democratic political project. But Arab autocrats have a project of their own. Can the people gain ground in the struggle for self-government, or will their rulers bear it away?