Forum Room, Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.
How do aspiring autocrats get elected? Prominent explanations posit that voters accept the subversion of democracy as the price they pay for a powerful executive with favorable distributional preferences. We propose instead that skillful rhetoricians advertise autocratic reforms not as "the subversion of democracy" but rather as "institutional change," which has positive appeal for a subset of voters from across the traditional political spectrum. We consider the election of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, a prominent case of democratic deconsolidation. Using original data on historical election returns and the speeches of five former Venezuelan presidents, we find that both voting patterns and political rhetoric are consistent with the empirical implications of our theory. Chávez came to power with the support of voters from the traditional right and the traditional left, and the campaign emphasized rather than obscured his proposal to remake political institutions.
Please join us for the final Latin American and Latino Studies Internal Speaker (LALSIS) series (*) for the 2018-2019 academic year. We are very pleased to host Dorothy Kronick, Assistant Professor of Political Science for her talk “Heresthetic Threats to Democracy: Evidence from Venezuela.” Please see the abstract below.
This talk will be Tuesday, May 7, at 12 pm in the Forum (2nd Floor) of the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics, 133 S. 36th Street.
Lunch from Tierra Colombiana will be served!
(*) The Latin American and Latino Studies Internal Speaker (LALSIS) Series is an interdisciplinary forum for the presentation and discussion of research about Latin America or Latinos conducted by Penn faculty and advanced graduate students. Please stay posted for an exciting line-up of talks for the 2019-2020 academic year!