World Politics Series

How Democracies Die

How Democracies Die

Steven Levitsky
Former Kellogg Visiting Fellow
David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies, Department of Government, Harvard University

Is American democracy in danger? Levitsky asked this question in his 2018 New York Times bestseller How Democracies Die. He and coauthor Daniel Ziblatt argued that democracies die not because of revolutions or military coups, but because of the slow weakening of critical institutions and the gradual erosion of political norms. A year after the book’s publication, Levitsky reassesses whether markers of democracy in the United States are strengthening or weakening, and whether authoritarianism is on the rise.

This lecture is part of a larger series organized by Faculty Fellows Michael Coppedge and Andrew Gould entitled “Perspectives on World Politics.” Since its inception in 2016, this series aims to spotlight the Kellogg Institute’s strength in comparative politics by featuring distinguished scholars who speak on a topic related to each year’s theme.