Democracy in Decline?

Book

For almost a decade, Freedom House’s annual survey has highlighted a decline in democracy in most regions of the globe. Some analysts say this shows that the world has entered a "democratic recession." Others dispute that interpretation, emphasizing democracy’s success in maintaining the huge gains it made during the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Liberal Democracy’s Crisis of Confidence

Article
October 2018

Public-opinion data from Pew Research Center show that global support for representative democracy is widespread, but often thin. Amid rising economic anxiety, cultural unease, and political frustration, citizens are increasingly open to alternative systems of government.

Democracy’s "Near Misses"

Article
October 2018

What factors help a democracy to survive a crisis? A study of cases in which democracy suffered a steep decline, yet ultimately recovered and endured, offers new insights. In moments of crisis, unelected and nonmajoritarian actors can play a pivotal role.

Explaining Eastern Europe: The Crisis of Liberalism

Article
July 2018

Thirty years ago in Central and Eastern Europe, belief in an open society and a sense of reasserted national and indeed European identity seemed to go hand-in-hand. But that was then.

Explaining Eastern Europe: Slovakia's Conflicting Camps

Article
July 2018

The political turmoil following a journalist’s murder in Slovakia has revealed serious dangers to the country’s democratic institutions.

Explaining Eastern Europe: Can Poland's Backsliding Be Stopped?

Article
July 2018

Viewed until recently as an exemplar of democratic transformation, Poland is increasingly seen as a leading case of democratic backsliding, thanks to a series of illiberal measures pushed through by the Law and Justice party.

Explaining Eastern Europe: Imitation and Its Discontents

Article
July 2018

For countries emerging from communism, the post-1989 imperative to “be like the West” has generated discontent and even a “return of the repressed,” as the region feels old nationalist stirrings and new demographic pressures.

Explaining Eastern Europe: Orbán’s Laboratory of Illiberalism

Article
July 2018

Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has used its two-thirds majority in parliament to change the constitution, erase checks and balances, and make
the electoral system even more majoritarian.

The Undemocratic Dilemma

Article
April 2018

The ability of liberal democracies around the world to translate popular views into public policy has been declining. Yet there is no easy way to overcome this trend without weakening the capacity of governments to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the coming decades.

The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy

Article
April 2018

Across the West, economic, demographic, and cultural shifts have spurred the rise of populists who embrace majoritarianism and popular sovereignty while showing little commitment to constitutionalism and individual liberty. 

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