Department of Political Science
Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies
Senior Fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Authoritarian ruling parties are among the most durable of autocratic rulers. Many nonetheless exit power and reinvent themselves as democratic successor parties. We know quite a bit about the causes of this reinvention: but little about its consequences. Using a new data set, I argue that authoritarian exit from power and subsequent democratic reinvention tend to bolster party competition and the processes of democratization, but they hurt the parties themselves. Focusing on a notable post-communist successors, I show how they were unable to sustain high standards for competence and probity, and collapsed under the weight of their electoral success. (Democratic) revolutions can thus eat their own children.