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Democracy After Trump

Can a Populist Stop Democratic Decline?

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, November 2016. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, he will face a world with more authoritarian momentum and greater democratic instability than at any time in the last several decades. How he responds will be one of the great challenges of his presidency. 

AGE OF ANXIETY

In the political science literature, democratization is generally thought to have occurred in waves. The largest and most recent of these, the “third wave” of global democratic expansion that began in the mid-1970s and crested in the 1990s, had already begun to subside as early as 2005. Since then, declines in freedom and political participation have come incrementally. But in the past year or two, several developments have intensified global anxieties about the health and future of democracy

The first is a trend toward authoritarianism that has popped up in several emerging democracies. In Turkey, which has been under a state of

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