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Anti-PluralismThe Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy$
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William A. Galston

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300228922

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300228922.001.0001

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Democratic Erosion and Political Convergence

Democratic Erosion and Political Convergence

(p.7) One Democratic Erosion and Political Convergence

William A. Galston

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the gradual erosion of democracy in world politics, beginning with the rise of the welfare state and the second political convergence of the postwar era—conservative retrenchment. Confronted with resurgent conservatism, reform-minded leaders worked to renovate left-leaning parties and brought the next convergence of Western politics, the Third Way. For some years, international Third Way forces had the wind in their sails, however, the Great Recession ended this era. Across the West, governments struggled to stave off financial collapse, halt the downward slide of output and employment, and restart economic growth. Meanwhile, a populist surge threatens the assumptions and achievements of mainstream politicians and policymakers from the center left to the center-right.

Keywords:   democratic erosion, political convergence, welfare state, conservative retrenchment, Third Way, Great Recession, populism

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