78 episodes

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Democracy Paradox Justin Kempf

    • Government
    • 4.8 • 26 Ratings

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

    Joshua Yaffa on Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia

    Joshua Yaffa on Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia

    ‘What would you prefer? Would you prefer that this boy, Vasya, die because he couldn't get dialysis? Would you prefer that this girl, Katya, die from her shrapnel wounds that she suffered during the war that was obviously not her fault? Right? Like would it be better if I held my nose and refuse to engage in these compromises so these kids died? Would you be sort of happier, so you could write about how awful the bloody Putin regime is?’
    Joshua Yaffa explaining the perspective of Russian humanitarian Elizaveta Glinka

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia here.

    Joshua Yaffa joins the podcast to discuss his new book Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia. He is a correspondent for The New Yorker based primarily in Moscow, Russia.

    Key Highlights
    Who was Dr. Liza?The types of compromises must Russians make with the state to pursue their dreamsThe role of the Russian state in the arts through the story of theater director Kirill SerebrennikovLegal challenges for business owners in Russia through the experience of zookeeper Oleg ZubkovThe limited space for human rights activism in Chechnya through the experience of Heda Saratova
    Key Links
    Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa
    Learn more about Joshua Yaffa at www.joshuayaffa.com.
    Follow Joshua Yaffa on Twitter @yaffaesque
    Related Content
    Timothy Frye Says Putin is a Weak Strongman
    Bryn Rosenfeld on Middle Class Support for Dictators in Autocratic Regimes
    More from the Podcast
    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 48 min
    Zoltan Barany on the Ineffectiveness of the Gulf Militaries

    Zoltan Barany on the Ineffectiveness of the Gulf Militaries

    The last time, and luckily this hasn't really happened since 1990, there was minimal resistance from the Kuwaiti and the Saudi forces. So, this obviously is 30 years ago, but there is little reason to believe that in spite of the hundreds of billions of dollars that is spent on armaments, this state of affairs has changed. Let me just put it this way. Nobody in Tehran is losing any sleep over the prowess of any of the Gulf militaries.
    Zoltan Barany

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Armies of Arabia: Military Politics and Effectiveness in the Gulf here.

    Zoltan Barany is the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Armies of Arabia: Military Politics and Effectiveness in the Gulf.

    Key Highlights
    What should be expected of the militaries of the Gulf countries?Would the Gulf countries be threatened without the American security guarantee?What types of military investments do the Gulf countries make?What has the Yemeni War taught us about armies of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries?How does the leadership of MBS differ from MBZ?
    Key Links
    Armies of Arabia: Military Politics and Effectiveness in the Gulf by Zoltan Barany
    Robert Strauss Center For International Security and Law
    Center for Strategic & International Studies

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Daniel Brinks on the Politics of Institutional Weakness
    Elizabeth Nugent on Polarization, Democratization and the Arab Spring
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 51 min
    Amory Gethin on Political Cleavages, Inequality, and Party Systems in 50 Democracies

    Amory Gethin on Political Cleavages, Inequality, and Party Systems in 50 Democracies

    Indeed, the moderation of left-wing party’s economic policy proposals in the eighties and in the nineties and the decision to promote an unregulated capitalism with no kind of proper compensation and no tax harmonization leading to greater offshore wealth and rising inequality. All these decisions have played a role in leading the working class to take distance from these parties and, at the same time, enabling these new issues to take a growing importance.

    Amory Gethin

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities: A Study of 50 Democracies, 1948-2020 here.

    Amory Gethin is a PhD candidate at the Paris School of Economics and a research fellow at the world Inequality Lab. He is a coeditor (along with Clara Martinez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty) of Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities: A Study of 50 Democracies, 1948-2020.

    Key Highlights Include
    Why have multi-elite party systems emerged in Western democracies?Describes the divide between the "Brahmin Left" and "Merchant Right"How do party systems differ between Western and Non-Western democracies?Descriptions of party systems in India, Eastern Europe, and BrazilWhy have party systems changed?
    Key Links
    Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities. A Study of 50 Democracies, 1948-2020 edited by Amory Gethin, Clara Martinez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty
    Follow Amory Gethin on Twitter @amorygethin
    Learn more about Amory Gethin at his personal website

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    James Loxton Explains Why Authoritarian Successor Parties Succeed in Democracies
    Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on the Plutocratic Populism of the Republican Party
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 52 min
    Daniel Brinks on the Politics of Institutional Weakness

    Daniel Brinks on the Politics of Institutional Weakness

    We don't think about institutions until they fail and we think of institutions as being really strong when maybe they've never been challenged. They've never really tried to do anything.
    Daniel Brinks

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America here.

    Daniel Brinks joins the podcast to discuss his new book The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America. He is the coeditor along with Steven Levitsky and María Victoria Murillo. Dan is a professor of Government and of Law at the University of Texas at Austin and a Senior Researcher & Global Scholar of the Centre on Law and Social Transformation.

    Key Highlights
    What is institutional weakness?How does it differ from state capacity?How does civil society affect political institutions?What is the role of constitutions?How do Presidential systems affect other political institutions?Key Links
    The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America edited by Daniel M. Brinks, Steven Levitsky, and María Victoria Murillo
    Department of Government at The University of Texas at Austin where Daniel Brinks teaches
    Centre of Law and Social Transformation at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Norway where Daniel Brinks is a Senior Researcher & Global Scholar
    Related Content
    Donald Horowitz on the Formation of Democratic Constitutions
    William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe on the Presidency
    More from the Podcast
    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 52 min
    Elizabeth Perry and Grzegorz Ekiert on State-Mobilized Movements

    Elizabeth Perry and Grzegorz Ekiert on State-Mobilized Movements

    What we are doing in this volume is blurring the boundaries between this older conception of top-down mobilized movements and this newer conception of bottom-up organic, spontaneous civil society propelled movements and discovering that there's an awful lot in the middle there.
    Elizabeth Perry

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements here.

    Elizabeth Perry and Grzegorz Ekiert join the podcast to discuss their new book Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (coedited with Xiaojun Yan). Elizabeth is the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. Grzegorz is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.

    Key Highlights
    What are state-mobilized movements?Why do authoritarian regimes mobilize supporters?The role of violence in state-mobilized movementsWhy do people mobilize to support dictators?What does it teach us about civil society? 
    Key Links
    Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements edited by Grzegorz Ekiert, Elizabeth J. Perry, and Yan Xiaojun
    Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies 
    Harvard-Yenching Institute 

    Related Content
    Erica Chenoweth on Civil Resistance
    Jonathan Pinckney on Civil Resistance Transitions
    More from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 50 min
    Susan Rose-Ackerman on the Role of the Executive in Four Different Democracies

    Susan Rose-Ackerman on the Role of the Executive in Four Different Democracies

    Many of these things that you and I are talking about are simply initiatives put forward by the chief executive or maybe by a cabinet minister. Something they want to do and rather than something that they're required to do. And it seems to me that that's a rather fragile base on which to build a more effective participatory process, which doesn't give up on the role of technocracy and expertise.
    Susan Rose-Ackerman

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Democracy and Executive Power: Policymaking Accountability in the US, the UK, Germany, and France here.

    Susan Rose-Ackerman joins the podcast to discuss her new book Democracy and Executive Power: Policymaking Accountability in the US, the UK, Germany, and France. Susan is the Henry R. Luce Professor Emeritus of Law and Political Science at Yale University.

    Key Highlights Include
    How have executives handled the pandemicDifferences between the executives of Germany, France, UK and USHow different executives make rules to implement public statutesDescription of deliberative democracy used in France to create environmental policiesIs the administrative state democratic
     Key Links
    Democracy and Executive Power: Policymaking Accountability in the US, the UK, Germany, and France by Susan Rose-Ackerman
    Susan Rose-Ackerman on Wikipedia
    EPuM Interview with Susan Rose-Ackerman on YouTube

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    Lee Drutman Makes the Case for Multiparty Democracy in America
    William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe on the Presidency
    More from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    Follow on Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

DemocracyInDanger ,

Praise from Democracy In Danger

Great episode on authoritarian successor parties. Though, he was not mentioned, much of the topics that were mentioned reminded me of the politics of the former President. Some leaders in Latin America have only used parties to get elected and do not build them into real electable groups; when some Latin American parties can’t win on the issues they focus on culture; and some Latin American parties legitimize themselves with grievance politics. All of these topics could just as easily come up in a conversation about the current state of the conservative party in the United States. Though, as Loxton argues, we need a conservative party that represents the interest of the wealthy in order to have a healthy democracy, there’s no doubt that January 6th -- and all the events thereafter – have shown that in the wrong hands, this faction can also tear our democracy apart. Maybe this is why we should all be rooting for the true conservatives who are attempting to take the party back – even if we vehemently disagree with them on the issues

D@nG1 ,

great podcast

DP host Justin Kempf his a real gift for producing this podcast. His questions are incisive, and he encourages his guests to thoughtfully delve into deep subjects as they pertain to democracy and civic engagement. One standout episode is Justin’s interview with Ryan Salzman, author of “Pop-Up Civics in 21st Century America.”

AlisonEugene ,

Excellent

In depth, insightful analysis of complex subjects with extremely qualified guests. Plus the child introducing the podcast is darling!

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