Any professor of comparative politics who teaches democracy—and that qualifier may well be redundant—spends some time periodizing the concept’s march through history. Inevitably, this historicization means describing waves of democracy. And if there is one law—something like Newton’s third law—that one might convey to students, it’s that these waves are followed by counter-waves of non-democracy. Democracy since 1900, in a sparkline, looks something like . So here we are, standing on the crest of the third wave, waiting for Godot. And the signs do not look good....
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