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The big squeeze on American democracy

January 29, 2018

The big squeeze on American democracy

January 29, 2018

he weakening and sometimes collapse of liberal democracies around the world has long been a focus of research for Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, but the Harvard professors of government only recently felt compelled to turn their analysis to this country.

In their new book “How Democracies Die” (Crown), Levitsky and Ziblatt argue that democracy in the United States faces threats that parallel those that led to its diminishment and demise in other nations. While the ascent of President Trump is a particular focus now, the authors argue that the nation’s drift toward authoritarianism, including the breakdown of political norms, predates his rise to power.

The Gazette spoke to Levitsky and Ziblatt about what triggered their concerns about American democracy, what is behind the perceived dangers, and how people alarmed by the shift can best respond.

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