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Democracy at RiskHow Terrorist Threats Affect the Public$
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Jennifer L. Merolla and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226520544

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226520568.001.0001

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(p.177) Conclusion
Democracy at Risk
University of Chicago Press

This book has investigated the ways in which conditions of terrorist threat affect citizens' evaluations, attitudes, and behaviors. Through novel experiment-based data collected in the United States and Mexico, combined with survey data, it has demonstrated that the terrain affected by terrorist threats is vast. This concluding chapter summarizes the book's argument and results, examines the degree to which these findings suggest that terrorist threats may (or may not) place democracy at risk, assesses the extent to which elites might purposefully and successfully manipulate the salience of a particular threat in order to gain some political purchase, and addresses some lingering questions about the importance of country context and how it may (or may not) condition reactions to terrorism and other types of threat (for example, economic). It also returns to the three strategies used by citizens to cope with terrorist threat: the expression of increased distrust and authoritarianism in one's assessments of other individuals, coping via strong leadership and charisma, and an increased preference for dual foreign policy objectives of engaging abroad and protecting the homeland.

Keywords:   terrorist threat, terrorism, foreign policy, United States, authoritarianism, leadership, charisma, democracy, Mexico

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