Thursday, October 29, 2020

Republicans Start to Resemble Autocratic Parties ↦

Researchers from the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have published a new study which seeks to quantify various aspects of political parties throughout the world. From the paper itself:

V-Party’s Illiberalism Index shows that the Republican party in the US has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years. Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary. Conversely, the Democratic party has retained a commitment to longstanding democratic standards.

Julian Borger reports on the paper for The Guardian:

The study, published on Monday, shows the party has followed a similar trajectory to [Hungarian political party] Fidesz, which under Viktor Orbán has evolved from a liberal youth movement into an authoritarian party that has made Hungary the first non-democracy in the European Union.

India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been transformed in similar ways under Narendra Modi, as has the Justice and Development party (AKP) in Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Law and Justice party in Poland. Trump and his administration have sought to cultivate close ties to the leadership of those countries.


“The data shows that the Republican party in 2018 was far more illiberal than almost all other governing parties in democracies,” the V-Dem study found. “Only very few governing parties in democracies in this millennium (15%) were considered more illiberal than the Republican party in the US.”

You may have seen claims that democracy itself is on the ballot this election. You may have thought that such claims were overblown. I submit to you that they are very, very true.