February 4, 2021 at 11:30am

Book cover image for Breaking the Two-Party Doom LoopBreaking the Two-Party Doom Loop

by Lee Drutman

Published: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2020

Call number: JK2265 .D78 2020

Publisher description: "American democracy is in precarious health. Books on tyranny and fascism are now bestsellers. Parents wonder whether their children will still grow up in a democracy. Gallows political humor about the collapse of the republic creeps into ordinary conversation. No longer a shining model for the world, American democracy today strikes a more cautionary note. An anxious pessimism dominates. By every expert judgment, the United States is slipping. In late 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from "full democracy" to "flawed democracy," giving it the same ranking as Italy. In January 2018, Freedom House downgraded its rating of American democracy to 86 (out of 100), just above Poland (85) and Greece (85), but behind Latvia (87) (and down from 94 in 2010). The August 2018 "Bright Line Watch" survey of 679 political scientists concluded: "Our expert respondents perceive a consistent, ongoing decline in the overall quality of American democracy from 2015." In the August/September 2018 "Authoritarian Warning Survey," 747 democracy experts collectively gave the United States a one in six chance of democratic breakdown in the next four years, and were nearly unanimous (97.1 percent) in their assessment American democracy had declined over the last decade. Let me repeat: a one in six chance of democratic breakdown. That's like rolling a six-sided die, and hoping it doesn't land on Hungary."