"Freedom is inseparable from human dignity," says LarryDiamond for Bertelsmann Foundation talks on "How to Fix Democracy." The crisis is “bad, deepening, accelerating,” but he suggests several steps we can take to reverse the trend, such as ranked-choice voting to tackle the two-party system, and spreading “motor voter” laws to increase the number of registered voters. Watch the video here.
"The Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age found the rise of social media has caused irrevocable harm to global electoral integrity and democratic institutions—and the effects may get even worse," Paris Martineau writes in Wired. CDDRL's Deputy Director Stephen J. Stedman served as the Secretary-General of the Commission.
In the inaugural episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Larry Diamond discusses the Chinese Communist Party’s range of influence and interference activities that target the public, civic, and social institutions of democracies, including subnational governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and ethnic Chinese communities. Listen here.
The January 3 assassination by the United States of Qassem Soleimani — the commander of Iran’s Quds Force — transformed Iran, Abbas Milani told Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Director Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast.
Posters of Soleimani’s face were plastered everywhere, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni announced three official days of mourning, and hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to grieve Soleimani’s death, Milani explained.
Of all of the countries in the world attempting a transition to democracy, Francis Fukuyama thinks that Ukraine is the most promising.
“The election of [Volodymyr] Zelensky and the new parliament is just a miracle,” Fukuyama told Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) Director Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast. “Can you imagine, a country getting rid of two-thirds of its parliament and starting over with new people, many of whom are under 35 years old?”
"Ideologically, today’s autocrats are a more motley and pragmatic crew. They generally claim to be market friendly, but mainly they are crony capitalists, who, like Putin in Russia, Orban in Hungary, and Erdogan in Turkey, are first concerned with enriching themselves, their families, and their parties and support networks.
"What if we had a better way to select presidential nominees, one that didn’t reward appeals to the most ideologically committed voters and donors in each party? What if we weren’t trying to excite the already convinced — to vote, to contribute and to volunteer on campaigns? This pulls each party toward more militant postures and deepens polarization. What if we prized substantive dialogue across the partisan divides over intense mobilization within them?
“What saves citizens from the knock on the door in the dead of night, from the risk of being silenced or removed, is a constitution, a robust body of laws, an independent judiciary to enforce them, and a culture that insists on free elections, human rights, and human dignity,” says Larry Diamond for Stanford Magazine.
The Democrats are facing a dilemma: If they defend democratic norms by acting to remove President Trump from office, they risk getting dragged into a polarizing style of politics that works to his political advantage. Read here.
In today’s Egypt, commitment to democracy appears scarce among actors both within the regime and in civil society, and public-opinion polls further suggest that demands for democratic governance have been abandoned. An undemocratic political understanding and disenchantment with the concept of democracy seemingly prevail among a majority of the population.
Since November 2018, a grassroots revolt of the forgotten lower middle classes from France’s far-flung suburbs and rural areas has risen against high taxes; social injustice; and the elites, President Emmanuel Macron foremost among them. Although this “Yellow Vest” movement is not dead, it is now weakened by internal feuds, excessive violence, a takeover by the far left, and Macron’s deft handling.
ARD Conference Examines Authoritarian Upgrading, Popular Uprisings and Foreign Interventions in the Middle East
CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy held its annual conference at Stanford University on October 11 and 12, titled “The Struggle for Political Change in the Arab World.” The conference is an outgrowth of ARD’s efforts to support new research on the dynamics of political change in the countries of the Arab world.
Member of Ukrainian Parliament Sasha Ustinova Weighs In On What Really Happened with Ukraine’s Former Prosecutors General
As details about the July 25 phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continue to emerge, Oleksandra “Sasha” Ustinova — a member of the Ukrainian parliament who has been fighting corruption in the country for years — said that Ukrainians are reacting to the news differently than Americans are.
In a talk dated October 7, 2019, Georgetown University Associate Professor of Government Daniel Brumberg analyzed the outcome of Tunisia’s legislative election and its implications for democratic consolidation in the country. Brumberg argued that the election provides a vital although not an easy opportunity to move beyond the power sharing, consensus-based political pact negotiated in 2014, to a more consolidated democracy.
"With the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s revolutionary conquest of China rapidly approaching on October 1, the odds are increasing of a violent crackdown (possibly in stages, beginning with the removal of leading voices for peaceful democratic change, such as Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, or perhaps sooner and more brutally)," writes Larry Diamond, FSI (CDDRL) and Hoover Senior Fellow, in The American Interest.
Liberal democracy is being challenged by populist nationalist leaders and they’re fanning the flames of identity politics. Instead of uniting over a shared sense of humanity, people are identifying in narrower ways based on things like religion, race, ethnicity, and gender. Francis Fukuyama , FSI Senior Fellow and CDDRL Mosbacher Director, believes that in order to support democracy, we must inculcate a greater sense of dignity into society. Fukuyama speaks with Elliot Gerson, executive vice president at the Aspen Institute.
"There’s a better way for the American people to grapple in depth with the issues we face at the start of the primary season. Furthermore, we think that, despite their sharp differences of party and ideology, Americans can have serious and respectful conversations across our deep divides. A surprisingly simple innovation can help cut through the poisonous fog of our political polarization.
Democratic institutions worldwide have reached a unique and precarious turning point, said Larry Diamond on a recent episode of the World Class podcast by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).
"Responsible Parties convincingly shows that across many countries narrow interests can subvert or coopt the policy-making process. This perversion of majoritarianism is epitomized by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, whose creation and implementation were heavily influenced by the insurance lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby, and the states.