A Review of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Why Democracies Die

Originally published in The Independent Review

The current political climate across Western democracies, in particular the United States, has been one marked by increasing ideological polarization. Given this phenomenon, How Democracies Die is an important work of admonition against a particular tragedy of democracy. As the authors eloquently write, the “tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy—gradually, subtly, and even legally—to kill it” (p. 8). How Democracies Die provides a message that is simple, yet not simplistic, and timely, but (hopefully) not too late.

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