Can Democracy Survive This Election Year? 2024 Inquiry
Illustration by Anson Chan.

2024 will be the largest election year in the history of the world. With voting taking place in eight of the 10 most populous countries, more than 4 billion people—half the humans on the planet—live in countries casting ballots this year. But many of these elections are already inspiring conflict, subversion, and violence. Will this year of elections reinforce democracy, or put it at greater risk? This Zócalo inquiry marries a series of “Election Letters” chronicling voters’ experiences with public programs exploring topics important to democracy’s future.

2024 Will Be the Biggest Election Year in World History | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

2024 Will Be the Biggest Election Year in World History

And That’s Not Good News for Democracy

The latest global reports show democracy contracting across every region of the world. For six straight years, more countries have experienced net declines in democratic processes than net improvements …

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Mexico’s Noisy, Colorful, Unserious Election

We’re About to Elect Our First Woman President, But Most of Us Know Real Change Isn’t Coming

In Mexico City, braving a month-long heatwave, literal tons of political propaganda litter the streets. Every free wall, pedestrian bridge, and lamp post has been overtaken by multicolor plastic signs and candidates’ smiling faces. Plastered one on top of the other, most end up crumbled, half ripped, or destroyed …

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What Do Indian Women Want from This Election?

They’re Voting in Historic Numbers. But It Might Not Make Them Happier or More Prosperous

Since April 19, the day general elections began in India, voters have queued up outside polling booths, braving a muggy, scorching heatwave. The mood appears mostly upbeat. Voters talk to TV news reporters. They articulate wishes for change or belief in the incumbent leader …

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This Korean Election Shows How Fragile Our Democracy Is

Our Economic Culture Has Isolated Us. Our Politics Have Divided Us. Now We’re Backsliding

More than three decades after South Korea’s democratic transition, we thought we had consolidated our democratic progress. We imagined that our democracy was strong and would grow stronger.
We are learning we were wrong …

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On the Campaign Trail With a Russian Antiwar Candidate

Thousands of People Came Out to Support Boris Nadezhdin’s Presidential Run. They Refuse to Lose Hope

I spent 12 days collecting signatures. Initially, it was slow: only a few individuals were willing to sign in support of Nadezhdin. But as the submission deadline approached, there was a significant surge in participation, particularly among young people, ages 18 to 25 …

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In Indonesia, an Election Without Artists | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An Election Without Artists

The Outgoing Indonesian President’s Campaigns Inspired Songs, Paintings, and Poems. Creatives’ Silence in This Race Speaks Volumes

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Will Indonesia’s Youth Install a Political Dynasty? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Will Indonesia’s Youth Install a Political Dynasty?

On TikTok, Gen Z Voters See the Candidates as Father Figures and Kindly Uncles. They Don’t Get the Whole Story

President Suharto’s New Order regime was a dictatorship in which he often liked to refer to the Indonesian nation as a “family” with himself at the helm—a patriarchal state …

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Pakistan’s General Election Is a Generals’
Election

Since the Country’s Founding, the Military Has Ruled Over Civilian Affairs—This Vote Won’t Change That

In Pakistan, the scramble for power among the political parties is like an invitation for bids from the Army. Political parties in Pakistan have internalized that appeasing the military is the only sure way to access power corridors …

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