democratic erosion

[2] The Majoritarian Threat to Liberal Democracy. (with Dorothy Kronick, Matthew Levendusky, Marc Meredith)
Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2022, 9(1): pp.36-45. drawing drawing drawing drawing

Abstract Incumbents often seek to wield power in ways that are formally legal but informally pro- scribed. Why do voters endorse these power grabs? Prior literature focuses on polarization. We propose instead that many voters are majoritarian, in that they view popularly elected leaders’ actions as inherently democratic – even when those actions undermine liberal democracy. We find support for this claim in two original survey experiments, arguing that majoritarians’ desire to give wide latitude to elected officials is an important but understudied threat to liberal democracy in the United States.

[1] The Americas: When Do Voters Support Power Grabs? (with Michael Albertus)
Journal of Democracy, 2021, 32(2): pp. 116-131. drawing drawing drawing

Abstract This article examines the nature of democratic fragilities in the Americas through survey experiments in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Encouragingly, strong majorities of citizens recognize violations of democratic principles, laws, and norms. Moreover, how incumbents justify antidemocratic actions has little impact on how citizens view them. Yet there are minorities, ranging from 10 to 35 percent of the population, who support efforts to erode democracy. And partisanship matters: Many individuals are seemingly "conditional democrats" who support antidemocratic actions if they voted for the incumbent. People are also reluctant to support impeachment for democratic violations, which creates an opening that would-be authoritarians can exploit.