How do duly elected rulers weaken checks on executive power, curtail civil and political liberties, and undermine the integrity of the electoral process? Drawing on sixteen cases of backsliding from Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa as well as the United States, our theory of backsliding focuses on three causal mechanisms: the pernicious effects of polarization; rulers’ control of the legislature; and the incremental nature of abuses of power, which divide and disorient oppositions.
The Anatomy of Democratic Backsliding
Issue Date October 2021
Page Numbers 27–41