Democracy gives rise to right wing nationalism

In the New Yorker’s “The Stunning Result in India’s Elections” by Samanth Subramanian, he describes the inaccuracy of most election predictions before the 2014 election. The BJP swept the election and left the Congress Party with a mere forty-four seats in the lower house of parliament. Narendra Modi was then chosen as the country’s newest Prime Minister, despite his known autocratic tendencies and polarizing political stances.

Are democracies besides India drawn to right-wing leaders who prioritize their political agenda over democratic institutions?

In David Leonhardt’s October 2018 opinion piece in the New York Times “Republicans for Democrats: Conservative readers explain how and why they will vote against Trump this year”, he quotes voters directly. One Republican woman said “I am appalled by Trump and fearful of his authoritarian rhetoric and behavior. The lack of checks and balances that should limit presidential authority deeply concerns me, as does the undermining of institutions (the free press, for example) that support a healthy democracy.” Furthermore, another claims that “I am no longer a Republican if the G.O.P. is the Party of Trump. I am disappointed every day by our president. There are currently no checks and balances. That is what I am voting for, checks and balances.” The authoritarian rhetoric, lack of checks and balances, and undermining of democratic institutions exist not only in India but in the United States.

In addition, Brazil just elected a new right-wing leader this month, and democracies like Germany and Canada have far-right nationalist parties on the rise as well. The only question now is: why?


Subramanian, Samanth. “The Stunning Result in India’s Elections.” The New Yorker. June 20, 2017.

Leonhardt, David. “Republicans for Democrats.” The New York Times. October 26, 2018. Accessed November 02, 2018.

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