India Today Reviews Ginsburg and Huq's "How to Save a Constitutional Democracy"

Death by a thousand cuts

How do liberal democracies die? Slowly, gradually and piecemeal, according to Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq, co-authors of How to Save a Constitutional Democracy. Both professors at the University of Chicago Law School, they examine the processes through which liberal democracy erodes across the world and reflect on the role institutions and law play in both the decline and the saving of our democracies.

They distinguish between democratic collapse, a fast mode of democratic failure in which democratic regimes are unseated and transformed by authoritarian actors (military coups); and democratic erosion, a process of 'incremental, but ultimately substantial decay in the three basic predicates of democracy-competitive elections, liberal rights and associations and the rule of law'.

Though democratic collapse has become rare, democratic erosion has become more pervasive, affecting countries like Poland, Israel, Turkey, and even the US, which The Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded in 2016 to the status of 'flawed democracy', due to weaknesses in how they conduct elections.

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