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Postponed | The Origins of Elected Strongmen: How Personalist Parties Destroy Democracy from Within

Jun 24, 2024
11:00am to 12:00pm ET

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Democracies around the globe are being weakened from within—by the actions and efforts of their elected leaders. In their new book, Drs. Erica Frantz, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Joseph Wright discuss how the rise of personalism in democratic politics has become the key culprit for democracy’s ills. Personalist leaders—or those leaders that take on outsized influence relative to the parties that back them—are more likely to dismantle institutional checks on the executive, deepen political polarization, and weaken supporters’ commitment to democratic norms of behavior, all actions that pave the way for democratic backsliding and collapse. Using a battery of empirical evidence and in-depth analysis from the world’s leading democratic strongmen, from El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele to America’s Donald Trump, the authors demonstrate how personalism paves the way for democracy’s decline.

Join CNAS for a timely, virtual event with the authors, and moderated by Susan Glasser, staff writer at The New Yorker. They will discuss the rise of personalism and what it means for democracy—critical issues as the United States prepares for the 2024 Republican National Convention.


Andrea Kendall-Taylor
Senior Fellow and Director, Transatlantic Security Program, CNAS

Joe Wright
Professor of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University

Erica Frantz
Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University


Susan Glasser
Staff Writer, The New Yorker

For registration questions, contact Jasmine Butler at [email protected]. For media inquiries, contact Alexa Whaley at [email protected].