Is democratic deconsolidation underway in the United States and Europe? In recent years, support for democracy, especially among millennials, has been dwindling in a number of established democracies.
Volume 27, Issue 3
The Danger of Deconsolidation
The evidence presented by Foa and Mounk is troubling, but it does not mean that democracy is now in long-term decline.
A quarter-century after the Soviet breakup, democracy has hardly fared well across the vast Eurasian landmass. Why has this seemingly promising gain for freedom produced such disappointing results?
The Struggle Over Term Limits in Africa
The interplay between elections, popular protests, and international pressures has a profound effect on the behavior of African autocrats and their ability to stay in power even after their time is up.
As more and more African presidents attempt to remove or circumvent constitutional term limits, African populations increasingly are mobilizing en masse, at great risk, to defend their constitutions.
There is strong empirical evidence to support the correlation between effective term limits and the quality of democracy.
A number of countries in East-Central Europe are facing a grave crisis of constitutional democracy. As their governments seek to undermine the institutional limits on their power, constitutional courts have become a central target.
Far from being a reformer, as some had hoped, President Xi Jinping has launched the most sweeping ideological campaign seen in China since Mao. Xi is mixing nationalism, Leninism, and Maoism in ways that he hopes will cement continued one-party Communist rule.
Delegative Democracy Revisited
Over the last decade or so, Bolivia has made great progress at wider political and social inclusion, but at some cost to civil liberties and horizontal accountability.
One of the first Latin American countries to make a democratic transition as the 1970s ended, Ecuador struggled in its search for political stability. Now it appears to have more stability, but that stability appears more authoritarian than democratic.
Latin America’s largest country has managed vastly to enlarge the share of its citizens who can take part in politics and need no longer live in poverty, and has robust horizontal accountability to boot. Vertical accountability, however, has suffered.
Delegative presidencies have not been a problem in post-Pinochet Chile, but the rise of mass protest movements suggests that the country’s new democracy has gone too far in the direction of demobilizing society.
President Alvaro Uribe’s time in office was marked by disturbing trends that included a spike in extrajudicial killings and an attempt to overthrow term limits, but the country’s institutions of horizontal accountability proved remarkably resilient.
After spending the 1990s coping with an overweening president, Peru settled into a more sedate style of politics, but it is one in which parties barely exist, voters feel unhappy with their elected chief executives despite strong economic growth, and technocracy rather than democracy is the key mode of decision making.
Latin America has not been witnessing a general trend toward authoritarianism, but accountability—whether horizontal, vertical, or both—has suffered in some countries, and at times has done so as a side-effect or unexpected cost of what must be considered signal democratic advances toward noble goals such as greater social and political inclusion.
Long a standout example of consensus-based politics, prosperous Switzerland has now become a mixed democracy with a good deal of polarization and uncertain prospects.
A review of Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard
Reports on elections in Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Niger, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, and South Korea.
Excerpts from: a letter by Thich Quang Do, Supreme Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and a leading human-rights advocate, to U.S. president Barack Obama; a declaration by prominent Latin American political leaders and activists calling for political and social opening in Cuba; the inaugural address of Taiwan’s new president Tsai Ing-wen.