This weekend Brazilians will go to the polls to elect a new president. #Brazil is fifth biggest country in the world, in terms of population, and symptomatic of a remarkable authoritarian turn in the world's biggest states. #thread
1. China is the biggest country and only non-democracy in top-5. But even here General Secretary Xi Jinping has taken the country in a (even) more authoritarian and nationalist direction.
2. India, the world's largest democracy, has been governed by PM Narendra Modi and his radical right BJP-led coalition since 2014. MOstly ignored by international media, India has seen sharp rise of radical and sometimes violent Hindutva activism.
3. USA, third-biggest country and second-biggest democracy, is governed by a populist radical right president who is slowly but steadily shaking the dominant Republican Party in its image.
4. Indonesia, the world's third-biggest democracy, seems to buck the trend, with populist radical right Gerindra party on the rise, but its presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto well behind incumbent president Joko Widodo.
5. Brazil, finally, is electing a new president after years of corruption scandals and rising crime, which have propelled far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to top position, near-certain winner of first round and increasingly likely winner of second round.
6. Elections are always national first, and only regional or global second. Hence, it is problematic to look for common explanations that go beyond the trivial. But the consequences are global. Liberal democracy is in decline and under stress.
7. With USA no longer interested in defending liberal democratic values, in own country and globally, authoritarian leaders, democratically elected or not, have much more political room to do whatever they want. This makes Brazilian elections so dangerous.
8. And with EU in defeatist and dysfunctional mode, there is no one to fill this gap. Withdrawn into its own internal struggles, EU also no longer functions as inspiring model globally.
9. While all of this is depressing, it was neither inevitable to happen nor is it inevitable to continue. Bolsonaro and Trump are in many ways freak incidents, while BJP is still faced with strong opposition in India.
10. The ball is truly in the corner of liberal democrats, to find ideological and organizational rejuvenation, but time is of essence, as the playing field is actively skewed against them.
11. As much as rise of "authoritarianism" is local, national, regional and global, the struggle for liberal democracy is too. #TheEnd

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More from @CasMudde

Sep 12, 2018
I have been arguing for a long time that the EU, and particularly the EPP, should stand up to Viktor Orbán, but I feel nevertheless conflicted on triggering #Article7 - let me explain. #Thread theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
1. Although triggering Article 7 does not mean kicking Hungary out of EU (more below), it is starting with the "nuclear option".
2. Orbán and Fidesz have been creating an "illiberal state" since regaining power in 2010. That is 8 years of undermining checks and balances, recreating institutions and filling them with cronies, and creating a kleptocracy on Russian model.
Read 21 tweets
Jul 12, 2018
NEW! @pewglobal has just published an interesting and important report on ideology vs populism in Western Europe (full disclosure: I was consulted on it). Here are some of my quick takes. #Thread
You can find the full study here --> pewglobal.org/2018/07/12/in-…
1. The main takeaway for politicians and pundits should be that populist parties are NOT the voice of the people! In fact, in almost all countries they are BY FAR the least favored party!
2. Favorability gap between populist and traditional parties is massive in North and substantial in much of South! This is even the case with left populist Podemos (less favorable than PP, although poll before govt crisis!) and most normalized populist radical right party, DF!
Read 14 tweets
Jun 29, 2018
Good piece on EPP and Orbán by ⁦⁦@PoliticoRyan⁩ although he is too forgiving on EPP’s incredible hypocrisy. A few comments. #Thread politico.eu/article/viktor…
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2. S&D will be real loser of EP2019, losing one of its last big parties in big country because of Brexit while many others have recently been decimated.
Read 18 tweets
Nov 26, 2017
This is supposed to be defense of one of too many uncritical “human interest” @nytimes pieces on neo-Nazis and other far right people. It shows depth of ignorance among journalists. nyti.ms/2i621hr
1. First and foremost, it shows media’s tendency to think in clichés - the purely evil bad person and the purely good victim.
2. Second, it shows the enduring problem of white privilege in the media, undoubtedly strengthened by whiteness of newsrooms as noted by @jbouie
Read 27 tweets
Nov 13, 2017
I think this piece, while more nuanced than "60.000 Neo-Nazis march in Warsaw", still misses many points. #thread wapo.st/2hpCV92?tid=ss…
1. Poland always has had a very strong far right subculture, which is quite diverse, from neo-Nazis, to neo-fascist (Dmowski) to orthodox-Christian nationalists.
2. Because of electoral system and big right-wing umbrella parties far right parties and politicians mainly operated within right-wing parties rather than separately (recent exception: LPR).
Read 21 tweets
Nov 5, 2017
In past months I’ve criticized high-profile initiatives on populism at Harvard & Stanford. Let me clarify why. #thread
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2. Although I wish “populism” was used more carefully and not as short hand for anti-establishment, nativist, or protest politics.
Read 26 tweets

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