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Why This Book Matters:

How Democracies Die discusses how democracies have turned into dictatorships throughout history with an emphasis on Latin America.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. A possibly harmful autocrat can be difficult to spot before it is too late.
    1. If The three major things to watch out for are the rejection of democratic laws, politicians trying to unfairly dishonor their rival, and encouraging violence.
  2. Democracy needs robust protectors.
    1. Gatekeeping involves evading public demonstrations that can be seen as normalizing extremism.
  3. Donald Trump avoided the gatekeepers and sounded the alarm several times while doing so.
    1. Republican politicians who did not endorse Trump, but would not cross party lines, left the door wide open for Trump to win the presidential election.
  4. The downfall of democracy happens steadily, not overnight.
    1. Changing the rules so the autocrat has the advantage is a major warning sign.
  5. We must uphold democratic standards in order to fight authoritarianism.
    1. Extremism should be confronted with democratic norms.

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Additional Video From The Author:

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