Subject: Populism

April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

Populists in Power

The historical record since 1945 gives us a picture of how populists operate once they hold political power. The record shows that populism is inimical to liberal democracy, and not a corrective to some of its failings.

January 2019, Volume 30, Issue 1

Pakistan: Voting Under Military Tutelage

With its recent electoral turnover of power, Pakistan seemingly passed a milestone of democratic consolidation. But beneath the surface, power remains where it long has been—with the military.

October 2018, Volume 29, Issue 4

Liberal Democracy’s Crisis of Confidence

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.

July 2018, Volume 29, Issue 3

Explaining Eastern Europe: Czech Democracy Under Pressure

Recent electoral victories by a pro-Russian president and a populist prime minister point to an antiestablishment wave in the Czech Republic. Yet strong checks and balances, EU ties, and a different outlook among younger voters may help to safeguard liberal democracy.

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April 2018, Volume 29, Issue 2

The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy

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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October 2017, Volume 28, Issue 4

The Kremlin Emboldened: What Is Putinism?

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ruling class again claims to represent a superior alternative to liberal democracy. How can we theorize this regime? Putinism is a form of autocracy that is conservative, populist, and personalistic. Its conservatism means that Putinism prioritizes maintaining the status quo and avoiding instability. Conservatism also overlaps with Putinism’s populism in crowd-pleasing broadsides against gay rights and feminism, but gives…

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Rise of Referendums: Elite Strategy or Populist Weapon?

Political elites once held referendums to fend off challenges to European integration. More recently, Euroskeptic parties have employed referendums to batter down the walls of elite consensus. But the spread of referendums threatens to undermine the legitimacy of representative democracy.

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Rise of Referendums: Demystifying Direct Democracy

Plebiscites have grown less common in recent decades in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries, even as the use of referendums in democracies has expanded. Despite their many shortcomings, referendums are, on balance, a mechanism for strengthening democracy.

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April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

The 2016 U.S. Election: The Populist Moment

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?

April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

The Modernization Trap

Populist nationalism is emerging as the main competitor to liberal democracy. But despite its current resurgence, in the long run, like other illiberal paths to modernity, it is likely to prove a dead end.

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April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Why Greece Failed

Greece was an early success story of the “third wave,” but since the 2008 financial crisis, it has become a poster child for the pains of austerity and unrest. Its troubles at one level are fiscal and economic, but there is a political dimension that may be even more critical.

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Turkey and Thailand: Unlikely Twins

Turkey and Thailand, two countries at different corners of the Asian landmass, appear at first glance to be an odd couple, but a closer look at their respective political situations reveals surprising parallels.