Skip to content

Why Autocrats Love Emergencies

January 14, 2019

Crises are a time-tested means of subverting democracy.

From Getúlio Vargas and other better-known dictators in the 1930s to Indira Gandhi and Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and on to Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan more recently, autocratic-minded leaders have long used national emergencies — some real, some fabricated — to claim extraordinary powers. One of our greatest concerns about Donald Trump’s presidency has always been that he would exploit (or invent) a crisis in order to justify an abuse of power. Recent events have given this concern new immediacy.

Read More

About the Author

Daniel Ziblatt

Daniel Ziblatt

Eaton Professor of the Science of Government (on leave 2019-2020) & Resident Faculty