Why Democracy’s in Crisis, and How We Can Fix It

Democracy is in crisis all over the world: Elected leaders are manipulating the rules of the game to roll back rights and freedoms, and voters are growing cynical and apathetic. In the face of acute polarization, predatory populists, and dysfunctional parties, what can we do to fix our democracies?

In the new issue of the Journal of Democracy, Adam Przeworski, Michael Ignatieff, and Thomas Carothers grapple with these questions and explore possible solutions. Read their essays for free until the end of this month.

Who Decides What Is Democratic?
The “crisis” of democracy is a crisis of representation. New parties, some of which are populist in troublingly illiberal ways, are arising from this moment. The danger that they pose is not that they are antidemocratic, but that they are antiliberal.
Adam Przeworski

When Democracy Is on the Ballot
Democracy is on dangerous ground when its fundamental rules become the main point of political contention. This is where we are today. The truth is that the institutions, not just the players, need to change.
Michael Ignatieff

Misunderstanding Democratic Backsliding
If democracies did a better job “delivering” for their citizens, so the thinking goes, people would not be so ready to embrace antidemocratic alternatives. Not so. This conventional wisdom about democratic backsliding is seldom true and often not accurate at all.
Thomas Carothers and Brendan Hartnett

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