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Democracy's Near Misses

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Democracies can collapse or erode beyond repair, but they can also suffer substantial yet “non-fatal” deterioration in the quality of democratic institutions, and then experience a rebound. Such “near misses” have received little or no attention in the new wave of scholarship on why democracies die (or survive). This article develops the concept of a democratic near miss. It first considers numerical metrics of democratic quality as a means of identifying near misses, but finds that these metrics provide inconsistent and conflicting guidance. Instead, this essay uses a case study method—focusing on Finland in 1930, Colombia in 2010, and Sri Lanka in 2015—to capture the dynamics of democratic near misses. These cases suggest that nonmajoritarian actors, including political-party elites and unelected judges and bureaucrats, have a critical role to play in averting democratic erosion.

What's New in Version 1.3

Author-name formatting corrected.

Democracy's Near Misses
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  • Free
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Oct 15, 2018
  • Publisher: Journal of Democracy
  • Seller: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Print Length: 15 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Version: 1.3
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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