Daniel Ziblatt argues why having strong center-right parties is important to democracy....
Axel Springer Lecture
Are Democracies Dying?
There is a widespread perception that democracies are experiencing a global recession. In this lecture, Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die, comes to a surprising, opposite conclusion: though some prominent countries in Central Europe, Asia, and Latin America have experienced democratic backsliding in recent years, the number of democracies in the world has actually remained surprisingly robust. But Ziblatt argues that this finding should not distract us from a different challenge facing the old democracies of Western Europe and North America: the rise of powerful illiberal movements and parties that threaten to make Western democracy itself unrecognizable. These new illiberal forces have not automatically sprung “from below” in reaction to economic crisis and demographic change, as is commonly argued. Instead, ironically, it is the breakdown of traditional gatekeeping institutions such as mass media and political parties that has opened the door to them. The talk concludes by reflecting on the implications of this finding for modern democracy and proposes several ways forward for Europe, Germany, and the United States.