Journal of Democracy January 2021 Issue

Mainstream Parties in Crisis: How can traditional political parties survive?

The Arab Spring at 10: Have authoritarian leaders changed the political balance in the Arab world?

Why strongmen win in weak states

The lead set of articles in the Journal of Democracy‘s January issue examines the trends contributing to mistrust in mainstream parties around the globe, and the options for strengthening democratic systems:

  • Jennifer McCoy and Murat Somer chart the vicious cycle of pernicious polarization—and show how the choices made by political actors are key to finding a way out;
  • Sheri Berman and Hans Kundnani explain why party convergence presents its own perils; and
  • Fernando Casal Bértoa and José Rama assess the options for mainstream parties confronting the rise of extreme and illiberal political players.

Also in the January issue:

  • Roberto Stefan Foa argues that chaos and corruption are driving support for populist strongmen in weak states;
  • Looking to East-Central Europe, Licia Cianetti and Seán Hanley demonstrate the pitfalls of a nascent “backsliding paradigm” for assessing troubled democracies;
  • Maiko Ichihara explores the legacy left for Japan’s democracy by former prime minister Shinzo Abe;
  • Neil DeVotta asks whether the Rajapaksa family’s return to power in Sri Lanka signals the advent of an authoritarian ethnocracy;
  • Madhav Khosla and Milan Vaishnav argue that India’s constitutional order is undergoing a dangerous illiberal transformation;
  • Susan Dodsworth and Graeme Ramshaw challenge the conventional wisdom about tradeoffs between development and democracy; and
  • On the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring, Tarek Masoud depicts a clash between the modernizing visions of the Arab world’s authoritarian leaders and the people they claim to represent.