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Sore losers are bad for democracy

41 minutes

We're back for a new season and our 200th episode! Penn State's Jim Piazza returns to the show this week to discuss a new study on why the loser's consent is a critical part of a healthy democracy — and what happens when politicians and other elites fail to abide by it. 

Piazza found that countries where one of the main political parties lost the election but refused to accept the results experienced five domestic terrorist attacks per year, compared to one attack every two years in countries where political parties accepted election results. The “sore loser” effect also makes terrorism more acceptable, with one-third of people in countries that reject election results saying terrorism is justified, compared to 9% of people in countries where election results are accepted.

At a time when many experts are sounding the alarm that "it can't happen here" might not hold, Piazza's work and the principles behind it are critically important to consider.

Additional Information

Article in Political Research Quarterly

Article in The Conversation

How Civil Wars Start

Related Episodes

Understanding domestic terrorism - Piazza's first appearance on the show

More episodes from Democracy Works

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Start listening to Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom
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