How Democracies Die

How Democracies Die

Book - 2018
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"Donald Trump's presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we'd be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe 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 and Ziblatt show how democracies die--and how ours can be saved."
Publisher: New York :, Crown Publishing,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781524762933
Branch Call Number: 321.8 LEV 2018
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Ziblatt, Daniel 1972-


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Jan 05, 2019

Obama's List

Oct 13, 2018

The sobering takeaway from this book is: democracies are actually very fragile. It can take only one person, with dictatorial qualities, to unravel decades, even centuries of democratic governance.

What I kept coming away with is the fragility of our democratic systems. They only work if we believe, trust and respect them. Supreme courts can be packed with politically aligned justices. Filibusters can be abused to the point of making governments impotent. Respect for the executive, the house and judiciary have been eroded.

In order to keep democracy working politicians must respect the rules and customs that have been observed over the decades and centuries. Once the unwritten rules of decorum and respect are broken democracy itself can unravel.

It was a chilling subject.

Sep 17, 2018

The description of how demagogues such as Trump undermine democracy is spot on. Unfortunately, the authors -- conventional liberals -- are very short on solutions.

Jul 11, 2018

I have just rented this book and look forward to reading the authors' thoughts on this subject. Regrettably, there is one reader whose arrogance led him to underline many passages. You must consider yourself to be so self-important. In doing this you disturb the flow of the narrative and cause the other readers a distraction that they do not need. I will erase the underlined portions; so sorry about that! Think twice before defacing a book!!
Otherwise, it is very educational for those who can look at how history repeats itself.

Jun 19, 2018

Two experts on European and Latin American authoritarian/semi-authoritarian governments 1946-2018 explain what makes them non-democratic and compares them to Trump's non-democratic actions. The authors see three possibilities for America post Trump - 1) America quickly recovers from Trump's non-democratic presidency, 2) The Republicans utilize their white nationalist appeal to stay in power and further erode democracy (via their advantages gained through years of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and right-wing judicial appointments), 3) The Democrats and Republicans continue with their polarization and with their ineptitude further erode democracy.

Jun 17, 2018

it is not that democracy is dying, but that it is being killed

Mar 10, 2018

This is a powerful and important book. Other democracies have withered and died; ours could, too. Forewarned is forearmed.

Feb 28, 2018

Very much agreed. Oh, and Donald Trump doesn't present a threat to our democracy. Though taking away our guns is, it takes away a constitutional right and leaves us vulnerable to everybody.

Feb 28, 2018

This is a MUST read for every patriotic American. It doesn't matter what your political ideology is, our democracy and our Constitution need to be preserved, protected and defended. It takes real effort to do this on everyone's part. That will make America Great Again!!

Feb 13, 2018

Compelling and persuasive argument about the gradual ways that democracies weaken and slide into autocracy (as opposed to suddenly, in violent coups), first using examples from countries all over the world, and then the U.S. Shows how the "soft guardrails" of American democracy--mutual toleration and institutional forbearance--have both functioned and broken down at different points over the entire history of the U.S., and gives a clear account of the warning signs of autocratic slide in the U.S. over the last 25 years. Details the alarming ways in which Donald Trump exhibits key indicators of authoritarian behavior. Also maps out some possible futures for the country, and a (hard) path for fortifying democracy in the U.S. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a better understanding of the fragility of democracy in general, and of the dangers that the U.S. democratic system is currently facing in particular.

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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jan 31, 2018

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Mar 25, 2018

"No single political leader can end a democracy; no single leader can rescue one, either." page 230


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