The respondents to our essay generally agree with us about the endurance of wealthy democracies, but they pose three chief objections: 1) the results reported may be unreliable because our study failed to distinguish breakdowns of less impact from categorical shifts in which autocracy displaces democracy, 2) claims of recent democratic survival are premature because the erosive effects of democratic backsliding are gathering beneath the surface, and 3) even if democratic breakdown remains unlikely in economically developed states, we underestimated the threat that backsliding itself poses to human rights. These points do not shake the essay’s basic conclusions, but they prompted valuable extensions. The challenge ahead is to protect democracies genuinely in peril, while not losing valuable time and resources chasing authoritarian ghosts.
Read the Debate
- Jason Brownlee and Kenny Miao, “Why Democracy Survives”
- Yascha Mounk, “The Danger Is Real”
- Nancy Bermeo, “Questioning Backsliding”
- Tom Ginsburg, “The Value of ‘Tyrannophobia’”
- Susan D. Hyde and Elizabeth N. Saunders, “Follow the Leader”
- Jason Brownlee and Kenny Miao, “A Quiet Consensus”