Sujit Choudhry Writes About the Troubles Democracies Face

Strife exists in all societies. Even societies with legitimate constitutional systems deal with strife. In a democracy, different factions emerge. The populace doesn’t always agree with its members. A normal level of strife can be expected here. Unfortunately, political turmoil can rise to great levels under certain circumstances. In his book, “Constitutional Democracies in Crisis,” Professor Sujit Choudhry discusses the problematic landscape.

Addressing A Current Issue

In his work, Choudhry points out one of the greatest threats to democracy involves a democratically elected leader turning to authoritarianism. Sujit Choudhry addresses the current situation in Poland as an example. In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party has made sweeping changes to the law. These changes alter the previous constitutional framework while strengthening the party in future election cycles.

Poland isn’t the only nation in which such things occur. Nor is the occurrence of such events solely a modern trend. However, such actions seem to be occurring more commonly. In time, political landscapes in various other countries may politically evolve in a manner similar to Poland.

Sujit Choudhry refers to these scenarios as “democratic backsliding.” ( The colloquialism refers to a leader or legislative body gaining power through democracy and, soon afterward, diminishing and decreasing democratic processes. The purpose of doing so hardly comes off as mysterious. Curtailing democratic processes entails maintaining power without having to face voters. Ironically, democracy becomes the conduit for authoritarianism.

The strife created by attempts to game the political landscape certainly doesn’t sit well with those disenfranchised. Revolutions occur under such circumstances. Sujit Choudhry does suggest the most viable way to address threats to democracy involves employing peaceful protests and demonstrations. For an interesting interview, check

The peaceful pressure put on those in power can impact a change. Certain, widescale protests draw media and international attention. Peaceful protests also create a positive picture of those engaged in the activity. Violent protests, on the other hand, becoming dangerous and self-defeating exercises.

Choudhry also suggests the courts may play a significant role in addressing authoritarianism and illicit governmental acts. This is possible when the courts act in a virtuous manner. If the courts become corrupt, they present no assistance.

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