Both Harvard professors, Levitsky and Ziblatt compare examples of democratic breakdowns all over the world. They then explore the reason behind the American democracy’s relative longevity before ending with a dissection of the Trump administration. ⁣⁣
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Some interesting points: ⁣⁣
🥝 Democracy has been declining for decades: Trump is its phenomenon and accelerant, not the cause.⁣⁣
🥝 Political stances are more identity-based (especially on race and religion) than ideology-based now.⁣⁣
🥝American democracy has held in the past because of unofficial norms and gate-keeping (not nominating potential authoritarians as candidates), but now there’s an increasing inclination to sacrifice democratic norms for political gain. ⁣⁣
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Some questions I ended up asking myself: ⁣⁣
🥝How much does democracy need to be sacrificed at certain stages (eg. gatekeeping) to maintain itself in the long run? ⁣⁣
🥝 How does meritocracy affect democracy?⁣⁣
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The reason I took off half a star: ⁣⁣
🥝 As much as I admire President Obama, I feel like polarization has greatly increased during his time. I wish the book discusses what he could have done to prevent our current situation. ⁣⁣
🥝 The book suggests that Trump’s inauguration has caused a democratic recession in many parts of the world... but I suspect that like with the erosion of American democracy, he’s an accelerant, not a cause? ⁣⁣
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Food for thought: how is this 2-party-eroding-democracy dynamic different from the Prisoner’s Dilemma? In the Dilemma, the prisoners’ distrust ruin each other’s chances. How are the two parties’ erosion of democratic norms for power any different? ⁣⁣
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This read is both informative and captivating. Highly recommended.⁣⁣

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