Democracy and Its Vulnerabilities: Dynamics of Democratic Backsliding
47 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2019 Last revised: 28 Mar 2022
Date Written: December 31, 2021
The puzzle entailed in erosion of democracy by backsliding is how a catastrophic situation can be gradually brought about by steps against which people who would be adversely affected do not react in time. We investigate conditions which render democracy impregnable to backsliding and conditions which make it vulnerable. Democracy is sustainable, free from the threat of backsliding, when opposing politicians are neither very attractive nor very unattractive to citizens. To sustain it, citizens must allow more appealing incumbents to gain some security in office. Backsliding occurs either under "populism," when citizens knowingly consent to erosion of democracy because they find the incumbent highly appealing, or under "polarization," when citizens oppose the incumbent regardless of the attractiveness of the challenger, so that the incumbent can remain in office only by backsliding.
Keywords: Democracy, Backsliding, Dynamic
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation