How liberal democracy fell apart

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The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It. By Yascha Mounk. Harvard University Press; 393 pages; $29.95 and £17.99.

DEMOCRACY is going through its worst crisis since the 1930s. The number of countries that can plausibly be described as democracies is shrinking. Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratising, notably Russia, Turkey and Egypt. The United States—the engine room of democratisation for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of “lock her up” and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.

But what exactly is the nature of this crisis? And what is driving it? Yascha Mounk’s “The People vs Democracy” stands out in a crowded field for the quality of its answers to these questions. Mr Mounk provides an admirable mixture of academic expertise and political sense. He teaches at Harvard…Continue reading

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