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Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

13. The Rise of Populism and Its Impact on Democracy  

This chapter studies the rise of populism and its impact on democracy. Populism is an ideology that separates society into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups: ‘the pure people’ and ‘the corrupt elite’. Moreover, populism makes moral distinction between these groups; it seeks to valorise and legitimize the people while denigrating the elite. The chapter then describes the key attributes of populist leaders and their supporters. Although not inherently anti-democratic, populism does run counter to the liberal democratic ideal that emphasizes the protection of rights. Populists look to place the needs of the majority or native group ahead of individual liberties and needs. Finally, the chapter considers the underlying drivers of the rise of contemporary populism. These drivers fall into three broad categories: economic, including globalization and the economic stasis and inequality that has occurred along with it; the declining importance of political parties; and a cultural backlash against progressive values.

Chapter

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.