THE KING'S REVOLUTION: A Prolegomenon on De-Democratization at the Dawn of the 21st Century
Haverford College. Department of Sociology
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
The 21st century has seen a global resurgence of right-wing populist movements that challenge extant democratic institutions, making the search for a systematic approach to these ‘democratic-backsliding' events of ever-increasing importance. This paper defines the phenomenon under examination as revolutionary to employ a general theoretical framework through which de-democratization may be analyzed and proactively addressed: (1) strain, an opportunity structure, an authorizing belief, and precipitating factors constitute the necessary and sufficient conditions for the genesis of intra-state revolutionary activity; (2) an authorizing social movement elects a candidate who then affects a revolution from within along a developmental progression from are definition of executive powers, to a reorganization of the political collectivity, then a redefinition of institutionalized norms, and finally a total revolution of the base values that enable a radically different authority structure; (3) the sustainability of the anti-democratic movement is determined by its ability to garner legitimation from the societal community by a set of subterranean values, justification through patrimonial allegiances within a formal bureaucracy, and surplus product from the economy. This scheme is applied to the contemporary United States, where it is argued the 2016 election of Donald Trump and his activity in office manifest latent proto-fascist conditions in the first stages of what might become a more radical revolution within the state. Effective policy targets the variables that constitute the source of popular support.