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Milan W. Svolik, Elena Avramovska, Johanna Lutz, Filip Milacic: In Europe, Democracy Erodes from the Right

“When faced with a choice between democracy and partisan loyalty, policy priorities, or ideological dogmas, who will put democracy first?”, our Research Affiliate Filip Milacic, Milan W. Svolik, Elena Avramovska and Johanna Lutz ask in their latest article in Journal of Democracy

With the aim of diagnosing the democratic vulnerabilities of Europe, the researchers conducted experiments that probed the ability of Europeans to identify and punish politicians who undermine democracy. They found, especially in seven countries, two systematic reservoirs of tolerance for authoritarianism: the illiberal right and the disengaged.

The citizens of the first group supported parties of the extreme right, populist, radical, or nationalist; while the citizens of the second group, despite not voting, were latent supporters of the illiberal right and showed lenience toward transgressions against democracy.

According to the research’s findings, the root cause of the illiberal right’s tolerance for authoritarianism “appears to be not in how much it cares about its signature issues, like immigration or traditional values, but in how little it cares about democracy,” they argue. In the end, it seems like the authoritarian potential of Europe, both overt and hidden, is located on its electorates’ far-right flanks.

Read the full article here.

Cover photo: Martin Schutt/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
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