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.
Democracy’s retreat is real, yet alarmist reports of a global demise or crisis of democracy are not warranted.
Is liberal democracy the only suitable type of government for a strong, modern society? A quarter-century ago, the answer seemed to be a clear yes. But today the picture is much cloudier.
“Democratic deconsolidation” on the level of attitudes and beliefs is real, and behind it lies a disturbing rise in tolerance for antisocial behavior, especially among the young.
Analogies with interwar Europe are often misdirected. In the 1920s and 1930s, regime breakdowns occurred in struggling new democracies, but established democratic systems exhibited remarkable endurance.
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?
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.
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?
Political scientists have long assumed that “democratic consolidation” is a one-way street, but survey evidence of declining support for democracy from across the established democracies suggests that deconsolidation is a genuine danger.
Post-1945 Western Europe benefited greatly from center-left parties offering real solutions to real problems. Where has that left gone?