(2021). “The Americas: When Do Voters Support Power Grabs?” Journal of Democracy 32(2) 116–31.
This article examines the nature of democratic fragilities in the Americas through survey experiments in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Encouragingly, strong majorities of citizens recognize violations of democratic principles, laws, and norms. Moreover, how incumbents justify anti-democratic actions has little impact on how citizens view them.
Yet there are minorities, ranging from 10 to 35 percent of the population, who support efforts to erode democracy. And partisanship matters: Many individuals are seemingly “conditional democrats” who support anti-democratic actions if they voted for the incumbent. People are also reluctant to support impeachment for democratic violations, which creates an opening that would-be authoritarians can exploit.