Category: News & Updates

The Rise of Political Violence in the United States

The attack on Donald Trump is one of the worst instances of political violence in recent years. Such violence is the result of a moment in which people begin to see their political opponents as enemies instead of citizens of a different political stripe.

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

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.

Tocqueville’s Lessons for America on the Fourth of July

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is as insightful today as in 1835. On this Fourth of July, the Journal of Democracy is sharing three essays reflecting on the prescience of Tocqueville’s observations from nearly two centuries ago.

Is the “Third Wave” Obsolete?

In the 1991 classic, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, Samuel P. Huntington offered a new way of understanding democracy’s global trajectory. Amid rising global populism and increasingly aggressive authoritarian leaders, has Huntington’s framework outlived its usefulness?

How Taiwan Should Combat China’s Information War

China’s efforts to sway the Taiwanese people with conspiracy theories and lies are starting to resonate, undermining their faith in democracy and deepening polarization. In a new Journal of Democracy online exclusive, Tim Niven argues that defending against China’s information war will require tireless resistance from the whole of society.

Is Democracy Surviving the “Year of Elections”?

Millions of voters are casting ballots in a string of elections across the globe this year. At the midyear point, how well is democracy holding up? These Journal of Democracy essays cover some of the most consequential, transformative, or surprising elections of 2024 thus far.

JoD on APSA Educate

APSA Educate, an online library for political science teaching and learning materials, now features a set of Journal of Democracy subject guides. Topics range from AI’s risks for democracy to the crisis of liberalism to the state of democracy in India and Latin America. Visit APSA Educate to learn more.

35 Years Since Tiananmen: The Meaning of the Massacre

On 4 June 1989, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of peaceful pro-democracy protesters were killed when the Chinese military opened fire on them in Tiananmen Square. The following are some of our most powerful essays on the meaning of the massacre.

Will the Far Right Run the EU?

A week from today, voters across all 27 European Union countries will head to the polls to elect the next European Parliament. The following Journal of Democracy essays chronicle the far right’s rise across Europe and consider the dangers it presents in the region and beyond.

Is Iran on the Brink?

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The mullahs may become more repressive in the lead up to the next presidential election. Read about Iran’s most recent wave of unrest, and explore why it may “only [be] a matter of time before a new wave erupts.”

What Are Foreign-Agent Laws? And Why Georgia Has Erupted in Protest.

On Tuesday, Georgia’s Parliament passed a controversial new law that would brand NGOs and media organizations receiving foreign funding as “foreign agents.” Countries across the globe are following the Russian model and painting liberal-democratic values as malign foreign interference. Read about the strategies autocrats are devising to repress civil society and stifle dissent.

Why Do Militaries Launch Coups?

Coups are a direct assault on democracy. And militaries can be pivotal to whether a coup succeeds or fails. The following Journal of Democracy essays examine what makes coups more likely, and how democracies can keep the military brass from seizing power.

Can Ukraine Regain Its Momentum?

Billions in much-needed American military aid are now headed for Ukraine. The following Journal of Democracy essays demonstrate what it will take to reverse the course of this war of attrition, and why this struggle is a “contest between democracy and dictatorship.”

Why Have People Stopped Trusting Democracy?

Citizens have lost faith in democracy. Misinformation, disinformation, hyperpolarization, and conspiracies, exacerbated by the modern media environment, have heightened distrust and anger. The following Journal of Democracy essays explore these dynamics and the important role ordinary citizens can play in countering democratic erosion.

Can Liberalism Be Saved?

Liberalism is being assailed from left and right, but it has not failed. In the Journal’s newest symposium, five authors grapple with questions of liberalism’s lasting relevance and its challenges for the future.

Can Mexico’s Next President Control the Military?

The Mexican military has a larger role governing the country than at any time in the past eighty years. The following Journal of Democracy essays uncover and analyze the democratic and antidemocratic forces at work within Mexico’s institutions.

Is TikTok a Threat to Democracy?

The popular social media app, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and used by 170 million Americans, is raising national security questions about data privacy and malign foreign influence.

Who Is Viktor Orbán?

Viktor Orbán, a proud advocate for “illiberal democracy,” has become a favorite of the far-right by using the tools of democracy against democracy. His secret? Restructuring Hungary’s political playing field in favor of his ruling party, effectively locking in his power with the force of law.

How Women Make the World Safe for Democracy

On International Women’s Day 2024, the Journal of Democracy celebrates the achievements of all women and highlights the transformative power of women’s political participation and activism.

The War in Ukraine Two Years On

Two years ago, Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands have been wounded or killed in this war of attrition. The following Journal of Democracy essays reveal the impulses that led Putin to launch this brutal campaign and the resilience of those fighting to stop him.

Alexei Navalny, In His Own Words

“Every opportunity must be used to speak out . . . I love Russia. My intellect tells me that it is better to live in a free and prosperous country than in a corrupt and impoverished one.”

How Autocrats Use Sharp Power to Wage War on Democracy

Most of the world’s democracies remain extremely vulnerable to sharp-power threats. The following Journal of Democracy essays explore how authoritarians weaponize universities, technologies, media, entertainment, and culture to attempt to crack democracy’s foundations.

What Mattered to You in 2023

The ten most-read online exclusives this year focused on the Russia-Ukraine war as well as events in China, Iran, Western Europe, and Latin America.

Our Favorite Books of 2023

New works on China, Russia, political philosophy, English history, and much more graced our shelves this year. Here are the JoD staff’s favorite books of the year.

Three Things We Need to Renew Democracy in the World

Yesterday, Journal of Democracy founding coeditor Larry Diamond delivered the twentieth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World, named for one of the great scholars of the twentieth century. In his remarks, Diamond outlined the grave threats that global democracy faces—and the three things we need to survive this moment.

How to Fight an Autocrat

Dictators seem all-powerful—until they’re not. Those brave enough to challenge autocrats have scored some impressive victories in recent months. But how did they do it? And how could other opposition movements succeed where they once failed?

What Political Prisoners Are Fighting For

Activists are fighting for democracy’s freedoms across the globe. They do so at tremendous personal risk, facing arrest, imprisonment, and the fear they will never see their loved ones again. Read the inspiring words of former political prisoners from Tunisia, Russia, Egypt, China, Malaysia, and Burma.

How We Can Fix Our Polarized Politics

The following essays from the Journal of Democracy examine the roots of the dangerous trend of polarization and offer ways to repair our politics and bring citizens back together.

October Issue Out Now!

Will artificial intelligence end democracy? Plus: Why global democracy is proving to be far more resilient than people think; how African church leaders became unlikely defenders of democracy; and the ways in which vast networks of hidden wealth are eating away at our democratic institutions.

Is Zelensky the Right Leader at the Right Time?

President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Washington to rally support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s unprovoked invasion. As the war’s second year grinds on, the Ukrainian people are looking for Zelensky to help their country succeed, not just survive. Will Zelensky be able to shepherd Ukraine to victory?

Is Latin America Stuck in the Middle?

Latin American voters are aggrieved, impatient, and eager to elect candidates who offer a break with the past—sometimes whatever that break may be. This factor, combined with high crime and middling economic growth, has led to wild swings and shrinking political rights. But can the region get itself unstuck?

AI’s High-Stakes Risks for Democracy

The emergence of AI with superhuman capabilities will come far sooner than previously thought. As AI advances, so does the potential for harm—including grave risks to democracy and human rights.

New Journal of Democracy Book

Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power explores how authoritarian regimes are deploying “sharp power” to undermine democracies from within by weaponizing universities, institutions, media, technology, and entertainment.

Israel’s Democracy in Crisis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary has sparked unprecedented protests across Israel. Two experts explain the roots of the crisis and what it could mean for the future of Israeli democracy.

Is India Still a Democracy?

Democratic institutions, norms, and practices have been under threat in India. Should the country’s democracy fail, it will affect not only the lives of 1.4 billion Indians, but also democracy movements around the world.

Turkey’s Make-or-Break Election

The forces that brought Erdoğan to power may be his downfall in Turkey’s May 14 elections. Here are a selection of key Journal of Democracy essays from the last two decades of his rule.

Ashutosh Varshney’s Greatest Hits

With India’s next general election just a year away, here are five of his Journal of Democracy essays that offer critical analysis of the world’s largest democracy at a crucial time.

The War in Ukraine One Year On

Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began one year ago. The war has inflicted a heavy toll on Russia in addition to the mass carnage in Ukraine. But Ukrainians are fighting valiantly and finding creative means of resistance.

What Mattered to You in 2022

In 2022, we began publishing shorter, exclusively online pieces. No topic mattered more to you than Russia’s disastrous war in Ukraine. We also published essays from the sharpest minds on protests in China and Iran, instability in Pakistan, and more.

Democracy and Political Violence

As political polarization deepens in the world’s democracies, political violence is on the rise. And in the wake of these acts, conspiracy theories often bloom. We offer three essays that look at these forces that threaten to upend democracy, and what must be done to overcome them.

How Xi Jinping Is Remaking China

At the Chinese Communist Party’s Twentieth National Congress last week, Xi Jinping secured a third term as Party secretary. But the most important development wasn’t Xi extending his rule or the Party’s elevation of new leaders. Rather, Xi made clear that the era of Chinese economic growth above all else was over. Now the Party’s…

The Rise of the Xi Jinping Era

China’s Twentieth Party Congress opened this week in Beijing. President Xi Jinping is widely expected to cement his position as Chinese Communist Party leader for an unprecedented third term.

Sharp Power Research Portal

The International Forum for Democratic Studies’ Sharp Power Research Portal is a tool for researchers, journalists, policymakers, and activists to recognize patterns of authoritarian influence in several domains. It includes over 750 resources providing research, reporting, and analysis.

The War in Ukraine: 7 Essential Reads

The Journal of Democracy has been covering the roots of Putin’s obsession with Ukraine for nearly 20 years. Here are 7 essential reads on the origins of the conflict, and what brought us to this dangerous moment.

The Top Ten Most-Read Essays of 2021

In a year marked by high political drama, economic unrest, and rising assaults on democracy, we at the Journal of Democracy sought to provide insight and analysis of the forces that imperil freedom. Here are our 10 most-read essays of 2021.

Journal of Democracy Names Tarek Masoud as Co-Editor

Tarek Masoud, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy, is professor of public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (2014) and of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform with Jason Brownlee and…

December 10, 2021

Journal of Democracy Names William Dobson as Co-Editor

William (“Will”) Dobson, most recently chief international editor at NPR, has held senior editorial posts at Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Slate. He is author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy (2012). Read the full press release here.

January 9, 2020

Rod Alence and Anne Pitcher on South Africa’s elections

At the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, read Alence and Pitcher’s take on South Africa’s 8 May 2019 national elections, and stay tuned for an expanded analysis in the October 2019 JoD. Plus, read Alence’s 2004 Journal article (free through May 31) for a deeper look into the history of South Africa’s democracy.

The Road to Digital Unfreedom

On 19 March 2019, January-issue contributors Ronald J. Deibert and Xiao Qiang discussed new dangers presented by social media and related digital tools with Shanthi Kalathil and Christopher Walker of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies.

March 19, 2019

Listen to JoD Authors and Editors on the Power 3.0 Podcast

On new podcasts produced by NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, Larry Diamond discusses “China and the Global Challenge to Democracy,” and Marc F. Plattner explores “Democracy and the Illiberal Temptation.” And don’t miss conversations with recent JoD author Ronald J. Deibert on how social media may be fueling authoritarianism and with April-issue contributor Glenn Tiffert on digital censorship in China…

February 5, 2019

Online Exchange on “Democratic Deconsolidation”

In a special exchange appearing only on our website, distinguished scholars Amy C. Alexander and Christian Welzel; Pippa Norris; and Erik Voeten offer critiques of the July 2016 and January 2017 articles by Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk. A reply from Foa and Mounk follows.  

August 8, 2017

“S.M. Lipset and the Fragility of Democracy”

"Seymour Martin Lipset passed away eleven years ago. . . . Today, his prolific scholarship remains as timely and influential as when he was an actively engaged author," writes Mildred A. Schwartz in a post for the blog of Oxford University Press on the enduring relevance of Seymour Martin Lipset. Read the whole tribute here.

April 4, 2017

Steven Radelet at NED

Steven Radelet will discuss his essay "The Rise of the World's Poorest Countries" at NED on Oct. 26 at noon.

October 19, 2015