Democracy

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  • A crowd of people surrounding images representing the news, design by Alyson Youngblood/RAND

    Article

    What Americans Think of the News—and What That Means for Democracy

    Apr 28, 2020

    RAND researchers asked a nationally representative sample of adults about their news-consumption habits. The answers reveal clues about what it might take to address Truth Decay—the decline of facts in U.S. public life.

  • A poll worker disinfects booths after every use during early voting in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 17, 2020, photo by Cavin Mattheis/News Sentinel

    Project

    Conducting Safe Elections During a Pandemic

    Aug 5, 2020

    There may be a continued need this fall for public health interventions—such as social distancing, reduced occupancy in indoor spaces, and aggressive sanitizing protocols—to limit the spread of COVID-19. How can the United States safely and securely hold its elections during this ongoing pandemic?

Explore Democracy

  • Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo smiles during a speech in Serang, Indonesia, July 16, 2014

    Commentary

    Good Guy Gamble: What to Expect from Indonesia's Jokowi

    The preliminary verdict of Indonesia's presidential election suggests that nice guys can finish first. That could be good news for Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the United States, and the world. But that comes with two big caveats: The initial results must be confirmed by the final tally, and the losing candidate must accept that he has lost.

    Jul 17, 2014

  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to a Shi'ite cleric march during a military-style training in Najaf, June 18, 2014

    Commentary

    A Long-Term Strategy for a Democratic Iraq

    Unfortunately, no strategic option for a unified, democratic Iraq has a good chance of success. But any well-considered option that doesn't involve ineffective killing or risking U.S. lives is preferable to simply allowing Iraq to disintegrate and feed broader regional instability.

    Jun 30, 2014

  • Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds up his ink-stained finger as he casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul June 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Victory, Afghan Style

    A good outcome in Afghanistan seems less likely now than a few weeks ago, but there is still cause for guarded optimism: before this electoral season, few would have guessed that the final showdown would be between a pair of level-headed pro-Western moderates rather than two foul, bloodstained warlords.

    Jun 23, 2014

  • A burnt vehicle belonging to Iraqi security forces at a checkpoint in east Mosul, one day after radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of the city, June 11, 2014

    Commentary

    On the Fall of Mosul

    Despite the belief that liberal democracy is the best system of government, America's own history clearly demonstrates that the path to it can be long and painful.

    Jun 19, 2014

  • Protests in Malaga, Spain against the government's spending cuts and failure to revive the moribund economy

    Commentary

    The European Democracy Paradox

    While social media and other tools have enhanced opportunities to participate in the political process, these new drivers do not seem to translate easily into offline political participation.

    May 21, 2014

  • A woman walks past European Parliament election campaign posters in Vilnius

    Commentary

    How 'Wired' Are the 2014 European Elections?

    The 2014 elections will prove a critical test of whether the modernisation of the EU's media strategies and increasing number of members of the European Parliament active on social networking sites will have an impact on citizens' political participation at the European level.

    May 21, 2014

  • Narendra Modi waves during a youth event organized by India's Citizens for Accountable Governance.

    Commentary

    A Milder Modi?

    India has never had an election like this one—and its political landscape will likely never be the same again. Narendra Modi, India's most polarizing political figure in a generation, will become prime minister with a virtually unchecked mandate.

    May 19, 2014

  • Hindu saints stand in line to cast their votes at a polling station in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad April 30, 2014

    Commentary

    India Votes — and What It Might Mean for the United States

    If elected, Modi could turn out to be the politician that India's Congress accuses him of being, focusing on an internal agenda that discourages foreign engagement. The U.S. would no doubt prefer that he follow the economic course he charted in Gujarat.

    May 5, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah attend an election campaign in Panjshir province March 31, 2014

    Commentary

    The Importance of the Election in Afghanistan

    It is easy to assume the outcome of the race doesn't really matter for U.S. policy. But an ossifying government excludes and disenfranchises youth with new ideas. Without popular participation, Afghanistan's future becomes more prone to partisan cleavages and extremism.

    Apr 7, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah hold posters of him during an election rally in Parwan province, northern Afghanistan, March 20, 2014

    Report

    Democracy in Afghanistan: The 2014 Election and Beyond

    Afghanistan's April 5th presidential election is the most important political event in the country's decade-long transition to democracy. A successful election would be a major blow to the Taliban and al Qaida, and would renew Afghan efforts to bring the war to a favorable conclusion. The international community should recognize that Afghanistan deserves support to get through the process.

    Mar 12, 2014

  • Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi and his delegation leave after visiting the Sun Yat-sen mausoleum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province

    Journal Article

    China and Taiwan: Balance of Rivalry with Weapons of Mass Democratization

    An analysis exposes fragility in Beijing's soft power—the limitations of the Chinese Communist Party's political legitimacy and vulnerabilities in China's rise. The example that illustrates a real Achilles's heel hits close to home: the issue of Taiwan.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • a demonstration in downtown Tunis, January 20, 2011

    Report

    Building Democracy on the Ashes of Authoritarianism in the Arab World

    In April, RAND and the International Strategic Research Organization convened a workshop in Istanbul, where policymakers, opinion leaders, and experts from Arab regions explored practical measures countries can adopt to build enduring democratic institutions and practices.

    Jul 29, 2013

  • Malians attending a concert for their upcoming elections

    Commentary

    Remembering What Mali Needs

    Free and fair elections are important, to be sure, but what Mali really needs is a leader who is dedicated to democracy, unity and reform of Mali's politics and institutions, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.

    Jul 26, 2013

  • Multimedia

    Call with the Experts: Egypt in Turmoil

    RAND Egypt expert Jeffrey Martini discusses the latest developments in Egypt and implications for U.S. policy during this Center for Middle East Public Policy conference call.

    Jul 16, 2013

  • stack of Egyptian election ballots

    Report

    Arab Spring Revolutions Have Not Yet Created Democracies, but Democratization Is Possible

    The Arab world is the one region that has been left out of the global trend toward greater embrace of democracy, but a successful shift from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments is possible there.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • Report

    Democratization in the Arab World: A Summary of Lessons from Around the Globe

    This report is an updated version of the summary section of Democratization in the Arab World: Prospects and Lessons from Around the Globe. It is largely the same as the summary published in 2012, but has been modified somewhat to reflect recent events.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • Multimedia

    Arab Spring: The State of the Democratic Reform in the Middle East

    Jeffrey Martini, Senior Middle East Analyst at the RAND Corporation, discusses the political landscape of the Arab world and how the tumult in the region affects the interests of the United States.

    Jun 24, 2013

  • Election 2005 candidates in a Tehran newspaper

    Blog

    In Iran, a New President, Same Leader

    The Iranian electorate goes to the polls to select a new president this weekend, but no matter who carries the vote Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will continue to call the shots in Tehran, say Alireza Nader and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Jun 12, 2013

  • Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on Iran Presidential Election

    RAND Middle East experts Alireza Nader and Dalia Dassa Kaye hosted a news media conference call to discuss the June 2013 Iranian presidential elections, their potential influence on the Middle East, and how the results could affect U.S.-Iran relations. Media Relations Officer Joe Dougherty moderated the call.

    Jun 11, 2013

  • identity checks in the 2009 Iranian election

    Blog

    Previewing the Iranian Election

    The Iranian regime seeks to produce a 2013 election that at least appears to be popular and legitimate; but more importantly, Khamenei desires a president who will act as his prime minister, rather than as an independent power.

    Jun 11, 2013