Two Harvard professors explain the dangerous world we face today
Democracies can die with a coup d'état - or they can die slowly. This happens most deceptively when in piecemeal fashion, with the election of an authoritarian leader, the abuse of governmental power and the complete repression of opposition. All three steps are being taken around the world - not least with the election of Donald Trump - and we must all understand how we can stop them.
In How Democracies Die, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt draw insightful lessons from across history - from the rule of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile to the quiet undermining of Turkey's constitutional system by President Recip Erdogan - to shine a light on regime breakdown across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Notably they point to the dangers of an authoritarian leader faced with a major crisis.
Based on years of research, they present a deep understanding of how and why democracies die; an alarming analysis of how democracy is being subverted today in the US and beyond; and a guide for maintaining and repairing a threatened democracy, for governments, political parties and individuals.
History doesn't repeat itself. But we can protect our democracy by learning its lessons, before it's too late.
Anyone who is concerned about the future of democracy should read this brisk, accessible book. Anyone who is not concerned should definitely read it.
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt is a useful primer on the importance of norms, institutional restraints and civic participation in maintaining a democracy - and how quickly those things can erode when we're not paying attention
With great energy and integrity [Levitsky and Ziblatt] apply their expertise to the current problems of the United States.
We owe the authors a debt of thanks for bringing their deep understanding to bear on the central political issue of the day.
What's the worst thing to happen to US democracy recently? Most answers to that question start and end with Donald Trump. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, though as horrified by Trump as anyone, try to take a wider view. This book looks to history to provide a guide for defending democratic norms when they are under threat, and finds that it is possible to fight back. Provocative and readable.