A recent article on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog discusses UW Political Science Professor Victor Menaldo’s work on constitutions in authoritarian regimes. Amherst College political science professor Javier Corrales wrote the article titled “Venezuela’s government wants to write a new constitution. That way lies autocracy.” Corrales addresses the potential consequences of the Venezuelan government’s “call for a constituent assembly” and warns that the current situation in Venezuela meets the “conditions for a constitutional process that will lead to greater autocracy: a pro-incumbent selection rule; an economic crisis; a rubber-stamp ruling party; and a dictator facing uncertain prospects in office.”
Furthermore, Corrales maintains that Menaldo’s research, which he conducts with University of Chicago political scientist Mike Albertus, helps explain why the Venezuelan government is pursuing a new constitution:
“[Menaldo and Albertus] argue that dictators create constitutions (“act as founding fathers”) not only to give powers to themselves, but to give power to ‘launching organizations.’ These are the groups responsible for ensuring a dictator’s survival, such as the military or cronies.”
The article appeared on May 15 on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. The Monkey Cage is a blog that relies upon political science research “to make sense of the circus that is politics.” It was named 2010 Blog of the Year by The Week and a 2012 Best Blog by Time.