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Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

14. Changing Patterns of Democratic Backsliding and Breakdown  

This chapter discusses the changing patterns of democratic backsliding and breakdown. Since the end of the Cold War, coups no longer present the greatest threat to democracy. Instead, there has been a rise in what can be referred to as ‘authoritarianizations’, or the slow dismantling of democratic norms and practices by democratically-elected leaders. The chapter particularly focuses on identifying and describing the steps that contemporary populist parties and leaders are using to dismantle democracy. It then provides an in-depth look at two prominent cases of authoritarianization: Russia and Turkey. Finally, the chapter looks at three key implications of the changing patterns in democratic breakdown. Staying abreast of changes in how democracies fall apart is fundamental to developing strategies to engage and counter autocracy's resurgence.