Journal of Democracy October 2020 Issue

The politics of pandemic: How covid-19 is shaping the future of emerging democracies

Plus: A closer look at the uprising in Belarus; Beijing’s fine-tuned foreign propaganda; and authoritarians’ growing global influence in education, law, and beyond.

The lead set of articles in the October issue assesses the covid-19 pandemic’s political impact across three key emerging democracies:

  • In Brazil, writes Amy Erica Smith, a mix of inaction and inflammatory rhetoric from President Jair Bolsonaro has fueled polarizationbut may also undermine his chances of consolidating power.
  • In India, argues Rahul Mukherji, a centralized response to the coronavirus and an accompanying clampdown on critics have sped the country’s slide toward competitive authoritarian rule.
  • In South Africa, Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass contend, efforts both to contain covid-19 and to limit the fallout of lockdown faltered in the face of limited state capacity.

Also in our October issue:

  • In separate articles, Lucan Ahmad Way and Sławomir Sierakowski take us inside the movement to oust Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and the mistakes the authoritarian leader made that may accelerate his fall;
  • How can democracies govern their law-enforcement agencies? Paul Hirschfield shows how local control helps to explain the stark difference between U.S. and West European approaches to policing the police;
  • Glenn Tiffert spotlights the tactics authoritarian regimes, especially the People’s Republic of China, are deploying to censor and subvert free inquiry beyond their borders;
  • Samuel Brazys and Alexander Dukalskis investigate how China’s news agency Xinhua is tailoring its content to influence audiences abroad;
  • Victoria Tin-bor Hui analyzes Beijing’s shifting strategy for cracking down on Hong Kong and stripping it of its freedoms;
  • Tom Ginsburg demonstrates how autocrats are taking the offense in the field of international law;
  • David Pion-Berlin and Igor Acácio explore the tradeoffs that emerge when elected leaders call on Latin America’s militaries;
  • Harry Blair weighs the implications of development without democracy in Bangladesh; and
  • Charles Parton reviews Hidden Hand, by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg.