Electoral oversights

May 24, 2018

In their book How Democracies Die: What History Tells Us about Our Future (Books, 8 March), Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt offer some possibly useful critical analysis, but I am shocked by their apparent lack of a historical and intellectual handle on the forces behind those events leading to collapses of democracies – especially in the western hemisphere. In Chile, for example, democracy did not die as such – it was killed in an organised and well-financed, if not desperate, manner by a faction of the military, many of whom had close ties with the US.

In the book’s index, there is under “Brazil” no mention of US assistance in the 1964 military coup there. Also absent is the name of Oliver North, a former National Security aide who was at the heart of the Iran-Contra affair.

I would say that the rather consistent pressure from both major US political parties and their views on electoral practice has left much of the nation unmoved to vote, seeing that virtually any and all “third party” voices are systematically silenced or eliminated. And that’s not even to mention electoral practices such as gerrymandering that have dulled and reduced democracy in this nation for a long time, here little noted.

For these and other reasons, I feel that Levitsky and Ziblatt really only touch on the questions involved in our acceptance of democracy’s demise in the US, and seem not even to notice the many major well-organised internal efforts to smother democracy here.

Via timeshighereducation.com

Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@timeshighereducation.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments