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March 20, 2012 Dear Workshop Participants, This paper is the first publicly presented draft of a bulked-up segment

of a review essay that I have been invited to submit to World Politics later this spring. It still lacks the reviews of the four Asian case-study monographs, but it goes into more theoretical depth than the final version of this essay will be permitted. That being said, its engagement with canonical democratic theory is admittedly, even embarrassingly thin, though I hope not offensively superficial or misguided. To preserve the narrative flow of the essay, I have relegated much of my conversation with democratic theory to the footnotes, which I very much hope you all will have the time and patience to read. The bigger picture is that I am taking the opportunity of this review essay to try to lay the groundwork for my second individual book project. The working title is something like Advancing Accountability: Democratic Dynamics in the Postcolonial World. The current idea is to use a comparative-historical approach to explore and explain accountability dynamics in about ten cases in Asia and Latin America (or perhaps just Asia), building upon the analytical framework presented in the diagrammatic figures at the end of the paper. Naturally I warmly welcome any critical reactions and suggestions regarding the paper itself, as well as thoughts on how (and whether) I expand upon these ideas in a longer-term book project. For those of you who are interested in the Asian case-studies, I would of course be more than happy to discuss them during Q&A. I will also be presenting a full draft of this review essay at the Comparative Politics Workshop on Wednesday, May 2nd, and would be deeply grateful for a strong turnout among my Political Theory colleagues at that event as well. For the time being, of course, please do not cite or distribute this paper without express permission. My email address is below for anyone who might be interested in following up afterwards. With many thanks and warmest wishes, Dan

Dan Slater Associate Professor Department of Political Science University of Chicago slater@uchicago.edu http://home.uchicago.edu/~slater/

Review Article DEMOCRATIC CAREENING


By DAN SLATER1 Larry Diamond. The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World. New York: Henry Holt, 2008. Ethan B. Kapstein and Nathan Converse. The Fate of Young Democracies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker. Thaksin. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm, 2009. Mikael Mattlin. Politicized Society: The Long Shadow of Taiwans One-Party Legacy. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2011. Christophe Jaffrelot. Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Harold Crouch. Political Reform in Indonesia after Soeharto. Singapore: ISEAS, 2010.

Introduction Democracy in the developing world is generally outliving expectations, but not outperforming them. Nearly four decades after the Third Wave of democratization began and more than two decades after the Cold War ended, there has not been any third reverse wave of authoritarianism, unlike the deadly reverse waves that crashed over interwar Europe and postwar Asia and Latin America, most notably.2 Even in some deeply divided and impoverished societies, where the odds of democracy taking root have always been perceived to be especially long, the specter of a relapse into authoritarianism of either the tightly closed or increasingly

Even before assuming its maiden written form, this essay has benefited greatly from audience

feedback at the University of Wisconsin-Madisons Center for Southeast Asian Studies, as well as more informal conversations with Mark Deming, Sofia Fenner, Bob Gooding-Williams, Jingkai He, Dominika Koter, John McCormick, Marie-Eve Reny, Jacob Schiff, Alberto Simpser, Nick Smith, and Paul Staniland. All of course remain blameless for the very preliminary and incomplete draft (which is not yet ready to be cited or distributed without authorial permission) that follows.
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Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman:

University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).


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common competitive variety3 has largely ceased to be an everyday political concern. Of course, only an untenably teleological reading of history could countenance the claim that authoritarianism in developing-world democracies has become an irrelevant thing of the past. Yet even highly unpromising democracies mostly appear to be remaining democracies. Democratic collapse has happily been a far rarer event thus far in the 21st century than in the 20th. By the same token, it does not exactly strike the right chord to say that most (or even many) developing-country democracies are consolidating. Virtually everywhere one looks, democracies continue to exhibit the wobbly characteristics of fledglings, even after aging out of literal fledgling status. Even in cases where sufficient state capacity exists to stabilize governance,4 and where democracy has, in the classic parlance of democratic consolidation, become the only game in town, this by no means ensures that all sides are willing to play by the same rules, or perceive what the democratic game is in similar terms. In cases ranging from Mexico to Taiwan to South Africa, and from Indonesia to Argentina to Korea, democracy certainly seems to have become the only game in town but what game is it, exactly? And how
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The distinction between closed and competitive authoritarian regimes is developed in Steven

Levitsky and Lucan Way, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Throughout this review, I share these authors opinion that regimes in which [e]lectoral manipulation, unfair media access, abuse of state resources, and.harassment and violence skewed the playing field in favor of incumbents should be considered subtypes of authoritarianism rather than democracy (p. 3). Far from counseling complacency about any irreversibly non-authoritarian character of contemporary democracies, this strict definition should signal the gravity of such discriminatory abuses of political opposition whenever they occur, anywhere. Thanks to Lisa Wedeen for conversations on this score.
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While wholeheartedly agreeing with Charles Tilly that state-building is essential for substantive

democratization, this review hopes to illuminate the dynamics of destabilization that arise from competitive democratic processes, and not from underlying state weakness. Hence it treats a modicum of state capacity as a basic scope condition. This points the review toward developing democracies in Asia and Latin America rather than sub-Saharan Africa, where the types of instability resulting from regime dynamics and state incapacity would be harder to disentangle. See Tillys Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
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might we best make sense of instances when the democratic game changes in decisive ways, yet democracy does not seem either to collapse or become more firmly consolidated in the process? This review essay ventures the claim that political scientists need to transcend our rightful concerns with how and why young democracies collapse or consolidate, and devote more attention to considering how and why they careen. Careening is proposed here as a heuristic term that encompasses a variety of unpredictable and alarming sudden movements, such as lurching, swerving, swaying, and tipping over. It suggests a certain bandying back and forth from side to side, with no clear prospect for steadying in sight. The term thus seems to capture rather well the sense of endemic unsettledness and rapid ricocheting that characterizes so many democracies that are clearly struggling, yet not clearly collapsing. It also invites further analysis into why some democracies in the developing world (say, Ecuador and Thailand) seem to be careening so much more frequently and severely than others (Brazil and India, for instance). All careening democracies are, like Tolstoys unhappy families, careening in their own distinctive ways. Yet I wish to take the opportunity of this review essay to develop the claim that there are striking patterns within the apparent everyday chaos, both within and across cases. At the broadest theoretical level, I argue that there exists an underappreciated tension between different notions of democratic accountability i.e. vertical accountability vs. horizontal accountability and that this tension lies at the very heart of democratic careening. When this tension becomes actively manifested in partisan conflict, it has destabilizing consequences, but usually not deadly consequences, for democratic politics. To be more specific, I define democratic careening as regime instability and uncertainty sparked by intense conflict between political actors deploying competing visions of democratic accountability. It occurs when actors who conceive of democracy as requiring substantial inclusivity of the entire populace (i.e. vertical accountability) clash with rivals who value democracy for its constraints against excessive concentrations of unaccountable power, particularly in the political executive (i.e. horizontal accountability).5 Because both sides can
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My understanding of horizontal accountability thus accords quite closely with existing

literature on the subject, while my treatment of vertical accountability will be more substantive and less narrowly procedural than most existing works, which tend to focus rather strictly on elections. For good or ill, vertical accountability as conceived here encompasses notions of
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quite plausibly claim to be on the side of the democratic angels, as it were, and to be combating resolutely antidemocratic rivals, such conflicts tend to be particularly implacable and intense. Because no party to the conflict seeks or endorses a restoration of authoritarian rule, however, the resultant regime dynamics are not well captured by the authoritarian/democratic distinction. These dynamics will often be better portrayed as careening between populist and oligarchic modes of politics than as consolidating democracy or collapsing into authoritarianism.6 It is peculiar that the basic tension between democratic inclusivity and democratic constraints remains inadequately theorized in comparative politics, considering that it can readily be traced back to the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Madison, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Carl Schmitt in political theory. The six books under review in this essay provide abundant empirical examples of vertical and horizontal accountability coming into friction but very little guidance on how to theorize it. Democratization studies remain too wedded to the collapse vs. consolidation paradigm, which privileges inter-regime dynamics while neglecting intra-regime dynamics. Even the massive emerging literature on the quality of democracy (which I am unable to review here) is yet to specify in a reasonably parsimonious way the distinctive dimensions along which democracies can suffer from low quality, much less apprehend the representativeness and responsiveness, and thus avoids rather than advances conversations on the distinctions among these closely linked concepts. For those who prefer that accountability be distinguished more sharply from such notions, perhaps the best way to characterize my framework is as an inquiry into the substantive vertical or horizontal orientation of procedurally democratic politics. The classic work distinguishing vertical from horizontal accountability is Guillermo ODonnell, Delegative Democracy, Journal of Democracy 5:1 (January 1994), pp. 55-69. On the distinction between responsiveness and representativeness, see Susan Stokes, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
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Unlike Jeffrey Winters, I do not conceive of oligarchy as reducible to the politics of wealth

defense and as lacking in implications for regime type, but in the Aristotelian sense of rule by the few. Though I agree with Winters that oligarchy can fuse quite easily with electoral democracy, I insist that a regime becomes less substantively democratic (particularly on the dimension of vertical accountability) as it becomes more oligarchic. See his Oligarchy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
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distinctive dynamics at work when democracies careen along these different dimensions.7 In essence, this literature assesses democratic quality on the same kind of 0:1 scale as the collapse vs. consolidation literature, telling us little about how and why democracies careen without either collapsing or consolidating. Leading works also tend to argue or presume that vertical and horizontal accountability are mutually reinforcing rather than potentially conflicting.8 To be sure, Rousseauian popular inclusivity and Madisonian elite constraints can go hand in hand, and often do.9 A robust free

Leonardo Morlino has improved this literature by attending to the (plural) qualities of

democracy, which he arrays along five dimensions, including interinstitutional (horizontal) accountability and electoral (vertical) accountability. Like the analysis here, Morlino argues that accountability or, better, the two accountabilities are the key mechanisms that make the goal of popular sovereignty something other than largely illusory. Yet Morlino does not seize the opportunity to define these types of accountability in ways capacious enough to encompass his other three democratic qualities: rule of law, participation, and competition. In my view, rule of law is vital to horizontal accountability, while participation and competition are essential to my substantive conceptualization of vertical accountability. See his Changes for Democracy: Actors, Structures, Processes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 224-25.
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The title of Marc Plattners March/April 1998 essay in Foreign Affairs puts it quite clearly:

Liberalism and Democracy: Cant Have One Without the Other. While agreeing with Plattner that effective constitutionalist constraints are a constitutive feature of substantive democracy, I argue here that, as an empirical matter, a regime can certainly have either effective constraints or meaningful inclusivity, but not the other. Also see Morlino et. al.s central claim that Morlinos five different dimensions of democracy generally improve in tandem through a funnel of causality in which good things go together. See their The Quality of Democracy in AsiaPacific: Issues and Findings, International Political Science Review 32:5 (2011), pp. 491-511. Although Morlino et. al. conclude that Asia appears to be a rare exception to this rule, their findings are difficult to interpret because they inexplicably include authoritarian cases such as Singapore and Malaysia in their assessment of democratic qualities.
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Indeed, Rousseau was as deeply committed as Madison to curtailing arbitrary authority (if less

explicit on how to accomplish this institutionally) in formulating his vision of a democratic


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press and an independent national election commission, for instance, simultaneously constrain ruling executives and their surrogates from abusing their powers and help strengthen popular inclusion in the democratic process. Yet there is also ample reason to believe that elected executives seeking to broaden substantive democratic inclusion might clash with elites who prize democracys constraints against absolute power more than its promise to empower the many. Such clashes constitute modern-day parallels to the collisions between defenders of an oligarchic governo stretto and proponents of a plebiscitarian governo largo that Machiavelli chronicled in ancient Rome.10 It is only when such collisions culminate in the declaration and maintenance of authoritarian emergency rule through dynamics most famously theorized by Schmitt that democracy goes beyond merely careening, and can be said to have collapsed by contemporary standards.11 The purpose of invoking these prominent theorists is not to reinterpret their timeless works. It is to provide a more systematic theoretical grounding for the tremendous empirical complexity and variation in the dynamics of political accountability that we encounter across

government wisely tempered. See Victor Gourevitch (ed.), Rousseau: The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 115.
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John McCormick, Machiavellian Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011). The parallels between Machiavelli and Schmitt on this front are admittedly and intriguingly

close. Like Machiavelli in Rome, Schmitt perceived a collision between horizontal and vertical visions of democracy in interwar Europe, and argued that parliament appears an artificial machinery and that dictatorial and Caesaristic methods not only can produce the acclamation of the people but can also be a direct expression of democratic substance and power. See The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985 [1923]), p. 17. Given Schmitts close association with the idea that emergency conditions justified personalistic, dictatorial rule not just in theory but, with the Nazis, in practice I see his ideas as less conducive to robust popular sovereignty (if not less hostile to cautious, constrained elite oligarchies) than Machiavellis. I thus associate Schmitt with the outright breakdown of democracy under emergency conditions, and associate Machiavelli with careening between oligarchic and populist but not clearly authoritarian modes of rule.
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Asia and throughout developing-world democracies.12 In the review that follows, India and Indonesia will be shown to be cases where vertical and horizontal accountability have recently been advanced in tandem more than at each others expense, which has kept democratic careening to a relative minimum. These Asian democratic behemoths also offer fascinating within-case variation, however, as careening dynamics have unfolded at particular moments and in particular regions, and could well do so again. By contrast, Thailand and Taiwan have recently experienced more serious clashes between proponents of vertical accountability and defenders of horizontal accountability at a national scale, although in subtly distinctive ways. These cases thus offer intriguing lessons for how we might theorize different varieties of democratic careening. Its proposed theoretical correctives notwithstanding, the essay to follow will lavish much praise on each of the six volumes being reviewed. Beyond their impressive global empirical scope, the volumes on democratic collapse and consolidation by Diamond and by Kapstein and Converse deserve great conceptual credit for nudging empirical democratization scholars away from a minimalist, proceduralist, or Schumpeterian notion of democracy toward a much more maximalist and substantive vision.13 They do so by treating both effective constraints upon ruling
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More speculatively, the framework here might also offer insights into varieties of what Tilly

would call de-democratization in contemporary Western democracies, such as the oligarchic effects of the campaign-finance system in the United States and the anti-Madisonian implications of rule-by-decree practiced by the likes of George W. Bush and Silvio Berlusconi. See Tilly, Democracy.
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A particularly forceful and influential defense of a minimalist definition when studying

democratic transitions and reversals can be found in Adam Przeworski et. al., Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000). For an important critique, see Lisa Wedeen, Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy, in Ian Shapiro et. al. (eds.), Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004). While Wedeen worries about how a minimalist definition forecloses questions about democratic substance, Przeworski et. al. worry that a substantive definition makes it difficult to assess whether democratic procedures are associated with normatively valued outcomes such as socioeconomic equality and broad-based human development. Joining Wedeen, I argue that procedures alone cannot a quality democracy make. Addressing the concerns of Przeworski et. al., I do not intend to assess the
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elites and robust inclusion of the mass populace as essential features of a functioning democracy. Given their focus on what would appear to be the most minimalist concern of all i.e., mere democratic survival these works embracing of a substantive understanding of democracy suggests that the tired old procedural-substantive debate has perhaps finally been laid to rest in comparative politics. (In short, we all appear to be substantivists and maximalists now.)14 There is much to admire and learn from the four empirical Asian case-studies as well, even as each of them flies well beneath the radar screen in American political science. From a methodological perspective, this review hopes to highlight the indispensable contributions to the comparative politics of democratization made by such monographs. Each is a learned historical analysis of a significant Asian democratic case, drawing upon decades of scholarly case expertise. Each provides rich examples and keen insights into the dynamics of distinct types of democratic accountability, and the variety of ways in which they can either come into friction or advance in tandem. These books are the stuff that better theories of democratic politics are made of.15 The primary challenge for this review essay, and for the future research it hopes to spark, is to explore how the complex and distinctive accountability dynamics uncovered in these expert Asian case-studies might be made amenable to comparative analysis and causal explanation.

vertical dimension of democratic substance by looking at socioeconomic outcomes, but at the inclusive and equalizing practices and priorities of democratically elected governments. For instance, Brazils Workers Party (PT) presides over one of the most substantively democratic governments on earth because of its highly inclusive practices and redistributive priorities, even as socioeconomic inequality in Brazil the kind of outcome that Przeworski et. al. justifiably want to exclude from the very definition of democracy remains incredibly steep.
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Even when scholars still hew to a procedural definition of democracy, they increasingly adopt

a substantive vision of democracy, as the focus of contemporary research has definitively turned toward considering how to build a democracy of maximal quality. See Daniel Levine and Jose Molina (eds.), The Quality of Democracy in Latin America (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2011), p. 7.
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For more on how Asian case-studies can inform democratization theory, see Dan Slater,

Democracy and Dictatorship Do Not Float Freely: Structural Sources of Political Regimes in Southeast Asia, in Erik Kuhonta, Dan Slater, and Tuong Vu (eds.), Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).
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I. From Democratic Survival to Democratic Substance Considering the epic human tragedies that recurrently accompanied the collapse of democracy during the 20th century, from Nazi Germany to New Order Indonesia, it is understandable that political scientists remain obsessed with the specter of such history repeating itself. Yet in the two best recent books on the subject, one is struck by the rarity of democratic breakdown during the contemporary era in comparison with epochs past. The works by Diamond and by Kapstein and Converse intriguingly reveal that the puzzle of democratic collapse has become, at least to some degree, an obsolescing puzzle. Although pitched primarily as books about democratic survival, both prove to be more informative treatises on democratic substance. Transcending a classic Schumpeterian, proceduralist perspective, these authors similarly portray both meaningful popular inclusivity and effective constraints against elite abuses of power as defining traits of functioning democracies. In other words, these books similarly herald a substantive understanding of democracy as requiring both vertical and horizontal accountability. On the other hand, neither book clearly identifies the potential tension between democratic inclusivity and democratic constraints, making them ill-suited to apprehend the dynamics of cases (e.g. Thailand and Venezuela) that have recently experienced democratic careening.

DIAMOND, THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY and KAPSTEIN AND CONVERSE, THE FATE OF YOUNG DEMOCRACIES

It is hardly novel or controversial to claim that democratic procedures do not always yield much democratic substance. The worldwide proliferation of low-quality or illiberal democracies since the end of the Cold War (in tandem with their more patently undemocratic, electoral authoritarian counterparts) has made the gap between democratic procedures and substance even more keenly felt.16 To hew to a narrowly proceduralist notion of democracy in todays age
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The concept of illiberal democracy receives its most thorough treatment in Fareed Zakaria,

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007). This review shares Zakarias insistence that liberal constitutionalism and electoral democracy must be analytically distinguished, but argues that both constitutionalist constraints and popular inclusivity are constitutive features of democracy, substantively understood. Since
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is effectively to disregard the abusive actions and the abject absence of public responsiveness exhibited by so many freely elected governments. Thankfully, the books under review here rise to the challenge of recognizing the hollowness of democratic procedures lacking democratic substance. Their inquiries into why democracies consolidate or collapse thus become studies of the substantive foundations of functioning democracies. For democratic structures to endure and to be worthy of endurance, Diamond argues, they must be more than a shell (p. 292). The Kapstein and Converse volume makes an especially sharp turn from explaining democratic collapse to specifying democratic substance. In their preface, the authors note that their primary goal is to explain the differences between those young democracies that manage to consolidate their regimes and those that backslide or revert to authoritarianism (p. xv). Ambiguity immediately arises in this formulation, however. Can a democracy backslide yet remain a democracy? Or is a reversion to authoritarianism equivalent to democratic backsliding? As we will see, a similar ambiguity emerges in Diamonds central notion of a democratic recession. Do democratic recession and backsliding mean regime collapse, or simply a decline in the substantive quality of democracy? If the post-Cold War world had been riddled with cases of democratic collapse, there would be no need for these authors to search for verbiage that implies declining democratic quality but not full-blown authoritarian takeovers. Kapstein and Converses global dataset of democratizations from 1960-2004 in fact shows a steeply declining propensity for democracies to collapse. Democratizations that took place before 1980 appear to have faced a substantially larger chance of reversal than those in subsequent decades (p. 64), their data show.17 More qualitatively, Kapstein and Converse strain to find cases where democracy has unambiguously collapsed since the Cold Wars end. Recent power grabs by the leaders of such countries as Russia, Georgia, Venezuela, and Bolivia have all set back the cause of democracy in those most of Zakarias cases lack both substantive popular inclusivity beyond elections and effective checks on executive abuses, they are better conceived as electoral authoritarian than democratic regimes, illiberal or otherwise. See Andreas Schedler (ed.), Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2006).
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More specifically: Only 11.5 percent of the democratizations in the 1960s were sustained,

whereas 30 percent of those taking place in the 1970s were sustained. The success rate reached 76.5 percent in the 1980s and 73 percent in the 1990s (p. 43).
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nations (p. xiv). Yet these former Soviet cases have rather convincingly been theorized as cases of uninterrupted competitive authoritarianism rather than democratic collapse, while these Latin American cases have commonly been portrayed by leading area experts as undergoing tumultuous left turns within democracy, not exiting democracy and entering authoritarianism.18 My point is not that Kapstein and Converse incorrectly code these cases, each of which could debatably be placed on the authoritarian side of the democratic-authoritarian divide. It is that subsuming such borderline cases under the category of either collapse or survival is minimally informative. The critical limitations lie in the categories, not in the cases or their coding. Kapstein and Converses data show that democratic collapse is something of an obsolescing worry within cases as well as across world-historical time. Indeed, the primary rationale for them to analyze the fate of young democracies is that these are the ones most at risk of collapse. Our research shows that newly democratic states are especially at risk of reversal during their first five years of existence (p. xviii). This helps explain why democratic collapse has become a receding worry in recent decades, and should hypothetically recede further as democracies that avoided infant mortality persevere like their immediate predecessors. Yet here we see the greatest limitation of Kapstein and Converses stress on the question of young democracies fate. To die may be a fate, but to live is to keep ones fate unanswered. The big challenge for contemporary studies of democratization is less to specify what conditions make democracies more or less likely to collapse, than it is to apprehend what is transpiring in democracies that are neither clearly collapsing nor clearly consolidating. Both books eventually adopt such an approach, if perhaps inadvertently and unexpectedly. For Diamond as for Kapstein and Converse, the threat of outright democratic collapse appears to be receding, as in global terms the overall number of democracies more or less stabilized after 1995 (p. 6). Yet ironically, democracy is literally said to be receding as well, as Diamond argues that the democratic boom has given way to democratic recession since the millenniums end. Commencing with Pervez Musharrafs 1999 coup in Pakistan, there
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See Levitsky and Way, Competitive Authoritarianism, Ch. 5, on the former Soviet cases; and

Steven Levitsky and Kenneth Roberts (eds.), The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) on Latin America.
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have been setbacks to democracy in highly influential states such as Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Thailand, and democracy is seriously deteriorating in other big, important countries like the Philippines and Bangladesh (p. 12). While democracy is more often backsliding than collapsing for Kapstein and Converse, it is deteriorating and suffering setbacks for Diamond. This invites deeper investigation into how and why this wide array of countries might be experiencing similarly sharp yet divergent types of democratic shifts and setbacks, rather than democratic collapse or consolidation per se. It is perhaps the greatest shared strength of these volumes that they seize upon this invitation to consider what makes some democracies substantively stronger than others. In this respect, these authors echo the quality of democracy literature in exploring the gap between democratic procedures and substance. Yet by doing so in books that are centrally concerned with the puzzle of democratic collapse and consolidation, Diamond and Kapstein and Converse intriguingly make the questions of democratic survival and democratic substance effectively inseparable. In short, if a democracy lacks substance, does it really make much sense to obsess over whether it has survived? The line between democratic substance and survival becomes especially blurry albeit in ultimately productive ways in the Kapstein and Converse volume. For these authors, substance begets survival, and substance lies in both horizontal accountability among elites and those elites vertical accountability to the populace at large.19 In short, they summarize, when political arrangements encourage politicians to concentrate power, or induce them to target specific groups at the expense of broader social welfare, then democracy is less likely to take root (p. 36, emphasis in original). Although the bulk of Kapstein and Converses analysis centers on the importance of building Madisonian institutions of executive constraint for
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In seeing politicians as acting more or less accountable to the populace, and not only as being

more or less effectively held accountable by the populace, I embrace what Jane Mansbridge calls the selection model as well as the more common sanctions model of vertical accountability. More than responsiveness (which even an inert Burkean delegate can accomplish) or representativeness (which even a condescending Burkean trustee can provide), accountability in the selection model entails ongoing engagement and the forging of common interests and perspectives between the electors and the elected. See her A Selection Model of Political Representation, Journal of Political Philosophy 17:4 (2009), pp. 369-398.
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sustaining democracy, they also insist in a more Rousseauian, egalitarian vein that [a]s with political power, economic power also needs to be redistributed if democracy is to consolidate (p. xvi). In stark contrast to political economists who see the primary threat to democratic consolidation lying in anti-redistributive wealthy elites, Kapstein and Converse see greater perils in denying the multitude any material stake in democratic survival.20 If large segments of the population do not share in the nations wealth, they may view the political order, even if democratic in institutional form, as being unresponsive or even detrimental to their interests (p. 47). Kapstein and Converse thus see both Rousseauian vertical inclusivity and Madisonian horizontal constraints as fundamental to democratic survival. Indeed, their parentheses around democratic evince their substantive rather than procedural standard for democratic politics. Yet from the kind of substantive democratic perspective offered in both of these volumes, inclusivity and constraints do not simply sustain democracy; they define it. Instead of arguing that the absence of effective checks and balances is among the most powerful predictors of democratic failure (p. 4, emphasis added), then, one might equally well argue that shriveling executive constraints are among the most powerful signals that a kind of democratic failure has already occurred. Diamond goes even further than Kapstein and Converse in embracing a substantive notion of democracy, grounded in vertical as well as horizontal accountability. And he similarly suggests that the questions of substance and survival are ultimately inseparable. Democratic structures will be mere facades unless people come to value the essential principles of democracy: popular sovereignty, accountability of rulers, freedom, and the rule of law, Diamond argues. And without those essential principles in place, those seeming democracies will eventually give way to tyranny, whether in civilian or military guise (p. 20). Once again, however, it could be argued that a lack of substantive inclusivity and constraints itself constitutes democracy giving way, long before a Musharraf or Alberto Fujimori comes along to conjure up a Schmitt-style national emergency to justify putting Schumpeterian democracy out of its misery.
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See, especially, Carles Boix, Democracy and Redistribution (New York: Cambridge

University Press, 2003); and Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Economic Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
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Neither Diamond nor Kapstein and Converse ultimately manage to convey, in a digestible theoretical framework, the variety of ways that democracies might incrementally decline in their substantive quality. In line with the quality of democracy literature more generally, these authors instead lay out a plethora of maladies from which democracies may suffer, and suggest that the presence of any single malady moves a country further from 1 (democracy) and closer to 0 (authoritarianism).21 I lack the space here to detail the variety of ways in which these authors (quite rightly and with admirable thoroughness) see democracies potentially going wrong. Suffice it to say that all of these maladies can ultimately be treated as weaknesses of either popular inclusivity (vertical accountability) or constraints on power holders (horizontal accountability), yet neither book captures how these two distinct types of accountability might come into direct friction. As a result, even as these books offer a refreshingly multifaceted vision of democratic politics as requiring both vertical and horizontal accountability, the collapse vs. consolidation paradigm effectively compresses variation into a single, 0:1 dimension. Figure 1 visually represents these two types of accountability, the democratic-authoritarian divide, and the collapse-consolidation axis as treated in the works by Diamond and by Kapstein and Converse specifically, and in the quality of democracy literature more generally.

[INSERT FIGURE 1 HERE]

The claim here is not that regimes never slide back and forth between democracy and authoritarianism, or that categorical distinctions between democratic and authoritarian regimes are not worth making. It is that the collapse-consolidation axis captures only one theoretical dimension along which regimes change and evidently a decreasingly relevant axis of change, at that. What the collapse-consolidation axis cannot capture theoretically, naturally it cannot
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Levine and Molinas aim to conceive of the quality of democracy not as an all-or-nothing

phenomenon is quite promising. Yet their claim to be conceptualizing democratic quality along a multidimensional continuum borders on incoherence: the defining feature of a continuum is that it captures only one dimension. They may offer a complex multivariate continuum, with many variables comprising democratic quality, but they do not array these variables along clearly distinctive dimensions. See their The Quality of Democracy in Latin America, p. 7.
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capture empirically in specific cases. While both books offer informative treatments of cases where democracy has taken root most notably Diamonds outstanding, even inspiring casestudy of India (Chapter 7, What Sustains Democracy) both also struggle to convey the dynamics of cases where democracy is radically changing course, or even manifestly experiencing decline, but not disappearing. This is especially true in cases where, I would argue, democracy has been careening between oligarchic and populist modes of politics, mimicking the Machiavellian struggles between popular sovereignty and its rivals in republican Rome. Figure 2 visually represents the core corrective that I have in mind.22

[INSERT FIGURE 2 HERE]

In short, democracies might careen between populist domineering on the one hand and oligarchic assertion on the other, without becoming clearly more or less democratic. Rather, what they clearly become through such careening processes is differently insufficiently democratic. I will argue at length in the next section that this notion of Machiavellian careening makes far better sense of recent regime dynamics in Thailand than the collapse vs. consolidation paradigm. For now, consider how Diamond and Kapstein and Converse struggle to systematically describe, much less theorize, what is afoot in cases such as Thailand, Venezuela, and Bolivia, which I would consider consummate careening cases.
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Like Dahls classic framework for polyarchy, this framework attempts to balance parsimony

and multidimensionality by positing two (and only two) distinct dimensions along which democracies vary. Also like Dahls, my framework seeks not to pinpoint regimes in specific, static spots, but to capture how regimes shift through concrete struggles between competing political actors. It is also worth noting that both of Dahls dimensions participation and competition effectively capture elements of what I am terming vertical accountability, or inclusivity. No Madisonian, Dahl sidelined the horizontal, constraining dimension of democracy in his model of polyarchy. Embracing the centrality of the rule of law in contemporary democratic theorizing, my framework represents an effort to capture the dynamics of both vertical and horizontal accountability in a single, Dahl-like two-dimensional framework. See Robert Dahl, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971), p. 7.
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For the most part, both books treat these complex and unstable cases, at least in theoretical terms, as straightforward instances of democratic collapse or decline. Thailand is the first case Kapstein and Converse see fit to mention, implying that they see it as an especially egregious and obvious case of a young democracy suffering a deadly fate. They note on the opening page of their preface that the democratically elected regime of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand was overthrown by a military coup in September 2006 (representing the fourth time that democracy had collapsed there) (p. xiii, emphasis in original). This interpretation is ironic, considering these authors stress on Madisonian constraints against executive abuses of power as the most important substantive feature of a functioning democracy. Thaksins wanton disregard for such constraints was a vital ingredient in the civil society coup that ultimately toppled him.23 Kapstein and Converse also see such constraints as the best possible insurance against democratic collapse. Yet even by their own account, this argument accords badly with events in Thailand, where constitutional reforms initiated in the wake of the 1997 economic crisis provided for a much more vigorous set of checks and balances while strengthening the countrys party system. But Thailands young democracy was not yet consolidated and remained threatened by those elites who sought to capture state institutions for personal gain (p. 110). An uncharitable reading might say that Kapstein and Converse are tautologically claiming that Thai democracy collapsed because it was not consolidated. And as we will see below, Thaksin could as easily be portrayed as the elite who sought to capture state institutions for personal gain as those who overthrew him. As perhaps the most determined and experienced scholar of democratization writing today, Diamond unsurprisingly knows the Thai case in far greater depth than Kapstein and Converse. As such, he adroitly captures Thaksins strides toward embracing the rural masses with populist, redistributive economic appeals as well as his making mincemeat of Thailands newly promulgated institutional constraints (pp. 79-83). Yet Diamond, like Kapstein and Converse, tends to place greater stress on Madisonian constraints than Rousseauian inclusivity in
23

On the concept of civil society coups, with applications to contemporary Southeast Asian

and Latin American cases, see Aries Arugay, Saviors or Spoilers? Explaining (Un)Civil Society Coups in an Age of Democracy, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgia State University, Department of Political Science.
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his analyses of democratic substance and survival. This prompts him to set aside Thaksins vertical virtues in his summary assessment of Thailands democratic collapse. When the Thai Constitutional Court acquitted newly elected Prime Minister Thaksin of falsely declaring assets in 2001, Diamond calls it a huge blow to accountability (p. 309). Yet the court in this instance could be interpreted precisely as defending or at least deferring to vertical accountability the expressed will of a majority of Thai voters, who had just anointed Thaksin in the countrys most decisive electoral landslide ever. What we see here is not so much democracy advancing or receding, as one type of democratic accountability coming into direct friction with another. In assessing the regime implications of the anti-Thaksin coup of 2006, Diamond makes the case that vertical and horizontal accountability must work in tandem for democracy to survive. This has devilishly unclear implications for whether the coup-makers or the powerabusers should get the rap for Thailands putative democratic collapse. The Thai experience shows that even elaborate and well-designed accountability institutions are at risk of being conquered or subverted unless society has the will, the organization, and the resources to defend its institutions, Diamond insists. Horizontal accountability needs to be stimulated and reinforced by vertical pressures from civil society (p. 310). Yet as we shall see below, this is precisely what Thailands monarchist Yellow Shirts did in opposition to Thaksins shocking abuses of executive power. The result was not democratic consolidation, but a military coup. Or, in the language of Figure 2 above, it was an instance of oligarchic assertion against populist domineering, with far muddier implications for democracy than the collapse-consolidation continuum can capture. Similar problems beguile these books assessment of careening cases in Latin America, especially Venezuela and Bolivia. Like Thaksin, Presidents Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia force these authors to prioritize either vertical or horizontal accountability, if they wish to place these complex and controversial regimes along a collapse-consolidation continuum. Kapstein and Converse appear to lose sight of their theoretical commitment to popular inclusivity in their critical appraisals of both. Chavez is equated with Vladimir Putin whose regime no area expert would classify as even minimally democratic as a leader who has sought to increase executive power at the expense of institutional arrangements (p. 27). More generally, they see populisms gain as democracys loss, with Bolivia and Venezuela standing as the clearest Latin American cases where democracy remains malleable, prone to backsliding if
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not outright reversal (pp. 77-78). Puzzlingly, Kapstein and Converse place all of the blame for this on populists rather than the backbreaking inequality that makes populism so appealing. Frustration at the lack of widespread improvement in living standards in Latin America.has served to generate substantial popular support for efforts by presidents of all stripes to sweep aside institutional constraints on executive power, purportedly to give them the policy space to tackle pressing problems, they argue. We believe that such efforts put democracy at risk in the region (p. 81). It might be more illuminating to posit that democracys lack of vertical inclusivity has invited attacks against substantive democracys horizontal constraints. Diamond clings a bit more tightly to his balanced theoretical emphasis on both vertical and horizontal accountability in making democracy work. On the one hand, Venezuelas Chavez is basically beyond the pale. His decade-plus in office has seen him subvert democracy (p. 25) and assert extraconstitutional powers through his authoritarian lurch (p. 68). On the other hand, Diamond fully recognizes that populism has not simply undermined Venezuelan democracy (as for Kapstein and Converse), but oligarchy. Venezuelas long sad political descent had its seeds in the early period of domination by two powerful, factionalized parties that constrained political competition and divided up the oil income, Diamond notes. The rapidly growing and increasingly impoverished underclass became fed up with its exclusion, and the country tired of the stranglehold on power held by the two dominant political parties (p. 67). As Diamond pithily argues later in language that we shall revisit in the Indonesian case, especially preChavez elitist parties were a consummate example of parties that collude but do not include (pp. 300-301, emphasis added). It was this elitist, oligarchic exclusion that allowed Chavez to win power through the ballot box in 1998 (after failing to do so through a coup in 1992) on his radical populist platform (pp. 68). Popular sovereignty was not advanced through a consensually expanding democratic social contract a la Rousseau, but through aggressive plebiscitarian attacks on Venezuelas version of an oligarchic governo stretto a la Machiavelli. Rather than seeing the battle royale between Chavez and the traditional parties who preceded him in power as one between oligarchic and populist modes of politics, Diamond shoehorns it into the familiar democratic-authoritarian continuum. After a long period of democratic decline, he concludes, Venezuela has descended into authoritarian strongman rule (p. 176). In other words, Chavez is said to be acting in the spirit of Schmitt, not Machiavelli. While a defensible claim, it makes Diamond struggle to understand how Venezuelans might
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support Chavez while continuing to believe in democracy, as survey data suggest they do. The results are paradoxical, because while they seem to suggest public tolerance for Venezuelas democratic regression, they also show comparatively high levels of support for democracy (p. 83). This paradox is instantly unraveled by recognizing the tension between vertical and horizontal understandings of democracy, as well as the tendency for sustained periods of oligarchy to make citizens value democracys promise of popular sovereignty more than its constraints against executive, majoritarian abuses of power. In other words, severe inequality under an unresponsive oligarchy invites voters to pursue the Rousseauian ends of increased inclusion through Machiavellian means. Chavezs supporters presumably do not see his rule as a time of democratic regression at all, and with good reason he appears to them more like a Machiavellian democrat than a Schmittian dictator. Though Diamond later acknowledges that many ordinary Venezuelans might back Chavez because of his populist mobilization and massive social spending (178), he does not tie this insight back to his theoretical point established empirically through his case-study of India that democracy requires substantive inclusivity as well as constraints. The analytical confusion only deepens when Diamond praises Bolivia for its election to the presidency of Evo Morales, a member of the countrys longmarginalized indigenous majority (p. 179). Hence while virtually any Latin Americanist would portray Chavezs Venezuela and Morales Bolivia as cases shifting in the same (populist) direction, Diamond ultimately portrays them as moving in opposite directions: Bolivia toward a more inclusive democracy, and Venezuela toward outright democratic collapse. When all is said and done, both Diamond and Kapstein and Converse offer state-of-theart analyses of democratic consolidation and collapse in the wake of democratizations Third Wave. Due to the recent rarity of democratic breakdown, however, their attentions to democratic survival inexorably evolve into questions of democratic substance. They call theoretically for an appreciation of the importance of both vertical inclusivity and horizontal constraints in making democracy worthy of endurance, as Diamond evocatively puts it, although their empirical cases (excepting Diamonds inclusivist interpretation of India) ring somewhat more Madisonian than Rousseauian. More importantly, their case-studies struggle mightily to position cases experiencing severe regime uncertainty along their core collapse-consolidation axis. This requires greater attentiveness to the potential for democratic politics to careen in ways most
20

clearly envisaged by Machiavelli, and not just to consolidate a la Madison or Rousseau or to collapse altogether a la Schmitt. (See Figure 3.)24 The four case-studies to follow will help me make the case that a framework centering on the tension between horizontal and vertical accountability proves more analytically accurate and useful than a collapse vs. consolidation or even a quality of democracy approach. This is true not only for cases that are seriously careening such as Thailand, but cases where careening has mostly been avoided such as India, as well as informative intermediate cases of democratic destabilization such as Taiwan and Indonesia.

[INSERT FIGURE 3 HERE]

II. Varieties of Democratic Careening: Thailand and Taiwan

PASUK AND BAKER, THAKSIN

MATTLIN, POLITICIZED SOCIETY

III. Accountability Struggles: India and Indonesia

JAFFRELOT, RELIGION, CASTE AND POLITICS IN INDIA

CROUCH, POLITICAL REFORM IN INDONESIA AFTER SOEHARTO

IV. Toward a Comparative-Historical Framework

V. Conclusion

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The arrows in this diagram are not exhaustive, but represent the key accountability dynamics

being analyzed in this review. The unidirectionality of the arrows is meant to capture the dynamics most closely associated with the listed theorists, not to imply that regimes can only move in that one direction.
21

FIGURE 1: Accountability Types, the Democratic-Authoritarian Divide, and the Collapse-Consolidation Axis
Horizontal Accountability (Constraints)

Weak Strong

Strong

Democracy
DemocraticAuthoritarian Divide Democratic Consolidation

Vertical Accountability (Inclusivity)


Democratic Collapse

CollapseConsolidation Axis

Authoritarianism
Weak

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FIGURE 2: Democratic Collapse and Consolidation vs. Careening Between Oligarchy and Populism
Horizontal Accountability (Constraints)

Weak Strong

Strong

Populist
Democratic Consolidation Populist Domineering

Democratic

Vertical Accountability (Inclusivity)

Oligarchic Assertion

Authoritarian

Democratic Collapse

Oligarchic

Weak

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FIGURE 3: Accountability Dynamics from the Perspective of Democratic Theory


Horizontal Accountability (Constraints)

Weak Strong

Strong

Madison

Populist
Machiavelli

Democratic

Rousseau

Vertical Accountability (Inclusivity)

Authoritarian

Schmitt

Oligarchic

Weak

24