Recent wins give hope for spread of democracy



October 8, 2019 - 10:27 AM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses US business leaders in New York on Sept. 24, after judges at the Supreme Court in London ruled that his advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

Ever since Brexiters and Donald Trump won in 2016, the world’s big-picture political story has been that democracy is under siege. This summer, Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil, Narenda Modi’s Kashmir crackdown and dramatic electoral gains for the anti-immigrant Alternative fur Deutschland in eastern Germany have only amplified widespread beliefs about the inexorable advance of the authoritarian right.

This general story line is dangerously true, but an intriguing counter-narrative may be starting to appear: Small-D democrats are starting to play offense. Not that you would know it, as American media obsess over Trump and the countless Democratic presidential candidates.

Still, a handful of remarkable political events has occurred during the five weeks since Aug. 28. That day, Italy’s hard-right hatemonger, Matteo Salvini, was outmaneuvered and ousted by his erstwhile partners, the neither-left-nor-right Five Star Movement, and the left-of-center Democratic Party.

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