The hallmarks of populist nationalism are gaining ground in many of the world’s largest democracies, from Modi’s India to Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Trump’s America. In these, and many other countries, elected leaders are flirting with aspects of authoritarianism in an extreme era of mass migration, digital disruption and the looming threat of climate change.
In a six-month reporting project titled Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, GroundTruth reporting fellows in India, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and the United States chronicled how seven nationalist leaders in each of these countries seem to be working from the same playbook. It is a playbook that can be pieced together from the speeches and techniques in use by an interconnected web of populist leaders and their strategists as a way to gain power, impose their values and implement their agenda. Scholars on democracy say they seem eager to join China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other leading authoritarian states in stamping out democratic protections and reshaping the global order.
Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, A GroundTruth Podcast/Atlantic Magazine Collaboration