Autocratic populists leave democracy ‘unfixable’?


Advanced democracies enjoy institutional defenses against would-be authoritarian leaders, analysts suggest, and even where they fall victim to illiberal or populist rule, they tend to demonstrate resilience and capacity for renewal.

These assertions are probably wrong, argues Council on Foreign Relations analyst Joshua Kurlantzick. Autocracy can end, and democracy can be born afterward. But autocratic populists around the world have been honing their ability to poison democratic institutions and norms — and, once they’re gone, it is incredibly difficult, perhaps in many cases impossible, to bring them back, he writes for The Washington Post.

A comprehensive new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Democracy Fund surveys democratic regression and supposed renewal, using a range of examples from the 1930s onward……..But autocratic populists erode faith in democracy itself — a faith already damaged in many countries by the failures of democratic politicians to deal with issues like inequality, migration and weak worker protections.

“As autocratic populists win power in more and more countries, this erosion of support for democracy, an ideology already wounded by democratic politicians’ mistakes, is the future,” he concludes.


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