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  • Author: F. Michael Wuthrich, David Ingleby
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Drawing from the 2019 mayoral elections in Turkey, this paper highlights a path that opposition parties might take to defuse polarized environments and avoid playing into the political traps set by populists in power. The particular type of moral and amplified polarization that accompanies populism’s essential “thin” ideology builds a barrier between a populist’s supporters and the opposition. Yet the CHP opposition in Turkey has recently won notable victories with its new campaign approach of “radical love,” which counteracts populism’s polarizing logic and has exposed Erdoğan’s weakness.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Populism, Authority
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Marc F. Plattner
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: With the longstanding dominance of center-left and center-right parties ebbing across Europe and Latin America, there is a growing danger that substantial segments of the right will be captured by tendencies indifferent or even hostile to liberal democracy. The 2019 elections to the European Parliament will provide a key test. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has transformed the debate by openly promoting the concept of “illiberal democracy.” Orbán seeks to equate liberal democracy as such with a set of policy positions supported by forces on the left, thereby prying conservatives away from their fundamental commitment to liberal democracy. This rising challenge has manifested itself in a struggle for control of the European Union’s center-right bloc, the European People’s Party, as well as in the recent writings of several political theorists identified with the conservative side of the political spectrum.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Liberal Order, Conservatism, Illiberal Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary, Latin America, Central Europe
  • Author: Edward Lemon
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Interpol, the world’s leading police-cooperation body, aims to “connect police for a safer world.” Although the organization’s constitution states that Interpol cannot engage in “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character,” it is increasingly being subverted by autocratic regimes seeking to pursue their exiled political opponents. The number of Red Notices (a type of arrest request issued through Interpol) has increased tenfold in the past fifteen years. Those targeted face the risk of arrest if they travel across borders; have difficulties obtaining visas and open bank accounts; and suffer reputational damage. Interpol remains opaque and lacks accountability for its actions. Recent reforms have started to address some of these issues. But more needs to be done to prevent the hijacking, repurposing, and weaponizing of Interpol by today’s globalized authoritarian regimes.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Law Enforcement, Transparency, Interpol
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sheri Berman, Maria Snegovaya
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Across Europe and many other parts of the world, traditional parties of the left seem to be in terminal decline. While there are many reasons for this, we argue that the most important was the left’s shift to the center on economic issues during the late twentieth century. Although this shift made some sense in the short-term, over the long-term it had deleterious, perhaps even fatal, consequences: It watered down the left’s distinctive historical profile; rendered socialist and social-democratic parties unable to take advantage of widespread discontent over the fallout from neoliberal reforms and the 2008 financial crisis; created incentives for parties to emphasize cultural and social rather than economic or class appeals; and undermined the representative nature of democracy. The shift in the left’s economic profile, in short, deserves center stage in any account of its decline. Moreover, this shift and its consequences have been crucial to the rise of a nativist, populist right and to the broader problems facing democracy today in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of the world.
  • Topic: Democracy, Populism, Liberalism, Leftist Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: William A. Galston
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Across the West, economic dislocation and demographic change have triggered a demand for strong leaders. This surge of populism is more than an emotional backlash; it encourages a political structure that threatens liberal democracy. While populism accepts principles of popular sovereignty and majoritarianism, it is skeptical about constitutionalism and liberal protections for individuals. Moreover, populists’ definition of “the people” as homogeneous cannot serve as the basis for a modern democracy, which stands or falls with the protection of pluralism. Although this resurgent tribalism may draw strength from the incompleteness of life in liberal society, the liberal-democratic system uniquely harbors the power of self-correction, the essential basis for needed reforms.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democracy, Populism, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Peter Kreko, Zsolt Enyedi
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The reelection of Fidesz leader Viktor Orbán’s government in Hungary in April 2018 has entrenched a hybrid regime within the European Union. This article discusses some of the most crucial factors that have led to Hungary’s democratic backsliding and supplied the institutional and cultural bases of Fidesz’s rule. The authors particularly focus on phenomena that contributed to the party’s third landslide electoral victory, including the rhetoric of identity politics, conspiracy theories, and the fake news industry. While an idiosyncratic sequence of particular events led to the ascendance of illiberal rule in Hungary, the causal factors involved are virtually omnipresent and could therefore lead to similar outcomes elsewhere.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy, Illiberal Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Central Europe
  • Author: Jacques Rupnik
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: 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. Today this has changed: Through the combination of the rise of “illiberal democracy” and heightened concerns about identity in the face of the migrant wave, the authoritarian and sovereigntist turn in Central Europe has revealed a rupture in the fabric of the European Union. This draws to a close the post-1989 liberal cycle, but perhaps also the longer cycle associated with the Enlightenment, which is now more than two-hundred years old.
  • Topic: Nationalism, European Union, Democracy, Liberal Order, Post Cold War, Illiberal Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Libman, Anastassia V. Obydenkova
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: This article examines the goals, methods, and implications of regional organizations founded and dominated by autocracies—including the Commonwealth of Independent States (spearheaded by Russia), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China), Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Venezuela), and Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia). It shows the role that these organizations play in preserving and promoting autocracy and the different tools they use for this purpose: rhetorical endorsement; the redistribution of resources to support weaker authoritarian states; and even military interventions to suppress revolution. The existence of authoritarian regionalism poses an important challenge for Western states and institutions in democracy promotion around the world.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, South America, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela
  • Author: Robert Ford, Matthew Goodwin
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted by a 52 to 48 margin to leave the European Union. The result of the EU referendum was the latest and most dramatic expression of long-term social changes that have been silently reshaping public opinion, political behavior, and party competition in Britain and Western democracies. In this essay, we consider the underlying social and attitudinal shifts that made “Brexit” and the rise to prominence of the populist, right-wing U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) possible. Finally, we consider what these momentous developments reveal about the state of British politics and society.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Jorgen Moller, Svend-Erik Skaaning, Agnes Cornell
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Several observers have recently invoked interwar political developments to make the case that even established democracies are fragile and vulnerable to breakdown. However, the real lesson of the interwar period is that even crises as devastating as the Great Depression and the political success of totalitarian movements did little to undermine the stability of established democratic systems. Only in new and fragile democracies did the economic, political, and social dislocations of the 1920s and 1930s tear apart the democratic fabric. Although long established democracies in Western Europe and North America may today be facing a perilous situation, the interwar experience does not lend support to the argument that they are fragile. ​
  • Topic: Democracy, Fragile States, Totalitarianism, Great Depression
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Western Europe