Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professor Daniel Ziblatt has spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and believes the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.
Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky shows how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
Daniel Ziblatt is Eaton Professor of Government at Harvard University and is director of the Transformations of Democracy group at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. He specializes in the study of Europe and the history of democracy. His three books include How Democracies Die (Crown, 2018), co-authored with Steve Levitsky), a New York Times best-seller and der Spiegel best-seller (Germany) and translated into twenty two languages. He is also the author of Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2017), an account of Europe's historical democratization, which won the American Political Science Association's 2018 Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in government and international relations and American Sociological Association's 2018 Barrington Moore Prize. His first book was an analysis of 19th century state building, Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism (Princeton, 2006).
In recent years he has been a fellow or visiting professor at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy), Center for Advanced Study (Stanford), Max Planck Institute (Cologne), University of Munich, and the Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris)
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