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Billions Will Vote This Year. Will Democracy Survive?

More than 4 billion people will cast ballots in what is being dubbed the “year of elections.” Seven of the 10 most populous countries in the world, including India, Indonesia, and the United States, will hold national elections. Voters in dozens of other countries, ranging from Mexico and South Africa to Pakistan and Senegal, will also deliver verdicts this year. Will democracy survive this test, especially in states where authoritarian populists are on the ballot?

In the new issue of the Journal of Democracy, Kurt Weyland argues that democracy almost always triumphs over populism. In fact, while strongmen may strain democratic institutions, they rarely come out on top. For more on democracy’s impressive durability, check out this selection of Journal of Democracy essays:

Democracy’s Surprising Resilience
Despite worry of an authoritarian resurgence, the vast majority of “third wave” democracies are enduring. Democracy, buoyed by economic growth and urbanization, is outperforming most people’s expectations or fears.
Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way

Democracy Devout Defenders
When Africa’s leaders act undemocratically, they face an unexpected opponent—the power of the pulpit. Within civil society, church leaders and their faithful have become leading defenders of liberal democracy.
Kate Baldwin

Why Democracies Survive
Democracies are under stress, but they are not about to buckle. The erosion of norms and other woes do not spell democratic collapse. With incredibly few exceptions, affluent democracies will endure, no matter the schemes of would-be autocrats.
Jason Brownlee and Kenny Miao

The Rebirth of the Liberal World Order
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has done something for the world’s democrats they could seemingly not do for themselves—given them a renewed unity, purpose, and resolve.
Lucan A. Way

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.
Christian Welzel

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