When Polarization Trumps Civic Virtue: Partisan Conflict and the Subversion of Democracy by Incumbents

@article{Svolik2020WhenPT,
  title={When Polarization Trumps Civic Virtue: Partisan Conflict and the Subversion of Democracy by Incumbents},
  author={Milan W. Svolik},
  journal={Political Behavior: Voting \& Public Opinion eJournal},
  year={2020}
}
  • Milan W. Svolik
  • Published 3 September 2018
  • Political Science
  • Political Behavior: Voting & Public Opinion eJournal
We propose an explanation for the most prevalent form of democratic breakdown after the Cold War: the subversion of democracy by incumbents. In both democratization research and democracy promotion practice, the public is assumed to serve as a check on incumbents' temptations to subvert democracy. We explain why this check fails in polarized societies. When polarization is high, voters have a strong preference for their favorite candidate, which makes it costly for them to punish an incumbent… 

Democracy in America? Partisanship, Polarization, and the Robustness of Support for Democracy in the United States

Is support for democracy in the United States robust enough to deter undemocratic behavior by elected politicians? We develop a model of the public as a democratic check and evaluate it using two

A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Breakdown and Erosion in Modern Democracies

What leads elites to break their democratic commitments? How do the partisan loyalties and democratic values of citizens influence these choices? This article formally analyzes incumbent abuse in

Guardians of Democracy or Passive Bystanders? A Conjoint Experiment on Elite Transgressions of Democratic Norms

Emerging literature shows that citizens in established democracies do not unconditionally support central democratic principles when asked to weigh them against co-partisanship or favored policy

Who will defend democracy? Evaluating tradeoffs in candidate support among partisan donors and voters

TLDR
It is found that both citizens and donors punish candidates who endorse violations of democratic principles irrespective of party, however, partisan polarization is found in the effects of candidates supporting voter identification laws that threaten access to the franchise.

Ideological extremism, perceived party system polarization, and support for democracy

Abstract Does ideological polarization undermine or strengthen people’s principled support for democracy? In this study, we suggest that different manifestations of ideological polarization have

Riding the democracy train: incumbent-led paths to autocracy

  • İpek Çınar
  • Political Science
    Constitutional Political Economy
  • 2021
In the twenty-first century, democracies are most often weakened, and even die, not by coups but by manipulation from within by democratically-elected officials. Yet, while democratic breakdown has

United we stand, divided we rule: how political polarization erodes democracy

ABSTRACT Although there is a broad consensus among political scientists that polarization is detrimental to democracy, very few empirically investigate the links between political polarization and

The relationship between affective polarization and democratic backsliding: comparative evidence

ABSTRACT Why do voters vote for undemocratic politicians in a democracy? My chief contention is that affective polarization has become a primary factor driving support for undemocratic politicians.

Walking the Talk: How to Identify Anti-Pluralist Parties

The recent increase of democratic declines around the world – “the third wave of autocratization” – has sparked a new generation of studies on the topic. Scholars agree that these days the main

Voting \emph{Against} Autocracy

When and how do voters punish politicians for subverting democracy? In order to investigate the role of the public in democratic backsliding, we develop a conceptual framework that differentiates
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 102 REFERENCES

Delegating Away Democracy: How Good Representation and Policy Successes Can Undermine Democratic Legitimacy

  • M. Singer
  • Political Science
    Comparative Political Studies
  • 2018
Theories of democratic legitimacy argue that people who believe the government is well managed and represents their interests are likely to defend the democratic status quo. Principal-agent theory

The Meanings of Democracy in Venezuela: Citizen Perceptions and Structural Change

  • D. Canache
  • Political Science
    Latin American Politics and Society
  • 2012
Abstract Throughout Latin America, democratic political structures reflect liberal conceptualizations of democracy. Since the election of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela has emerged as an exception, with

Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

This book develops a framework for analyzing the creation and consolidation of democracy. Different social groups prefer different political institutions because of the way they allocate political

Book review: Party Brands in Crisis. Partisanship, Brand Dilution and the Breakdown of Political Parties in Latin America

gressive ambition. Indeed, he finds that party switchers pay a significant cost at the ballot box, one that is not foreshadowed in the elections immediately preceding the shift, and they also improve

Self-Enforcing Democracy

If democracy is to have any of the good effects said to justify it, it must be self-enforcing. Those who control the government must want to hold regular, competitive elections for the highest

Process or Candidate: The International Community and the Demand for Electoral Integrity

Why do outside powers intervene in other countries’ elections? We distinguish between two types of electoral interventions: interventions in favor of the democratic process and interventions in favor

The Role of Subnational Politicians in Distributive Politics: Political Bias in Venezuela's Land Reform under Chávez

This paper examines how the partisanship of empowered subnational politicians can impact within-district benefit distribution. I present a theory of the role of subnational politicians in

Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited

Many fear that democracies are suffering from a legitimacy crisis. This book focuses on 'democratic deficits', reflecting how far the perceived democratic performance of any state diverges from

Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries

Part I. The Puzzle: 1. Breakthrough elections: mixed regimes, democracy assistance, and international diffusion 2. Electoral stability and change in mixed regimes Part II. Case Studies: 3. The 1998

Office Insecurity and Electoral Manipulation

Why do governments manipulate elections at varying levels? This paper argues that variation in electoral manipulation can in part be explained by the fundamental trade-off between an incumbent’s
...