A Roadmap to Democratic Backsliding: Lessons from the Global South

Democratic backsliding is a global phenomenon, yet few comparative studies analyze it. This paper seeks to fill the gap by examining pathways of deconsolidation in two paradigmatic cases of stealth authoritarianism in the Global South: Brazil and the Philippines. Separated by 19,000 kilometers, they share little political history or cultural ties. However, their experiences offer a clear roadmap to democratic backsliding: a staggeringly similar pattern that includes the influence of religious identity in politics; corruption scandals triggering a breakdown of social trust; the persistent influence of former military rule; the political capture of the security forces; and state-sponsored repudiation of traditional media. But for all these similarities, there is one notable divergence: the preservation of judicial independence. We will thus examine the role of an independent constitutional court in combating authoritarianism, and conclude with prescriptions on democracy protection.