Democracy is under threat across the world. Today, less than 30% of the world’s population lives in a democratic country, down from over 50% in 2017. One of the principal threats to democracy is the inability of governments to meet the needs of their populations. When democratically elected governments fail to address the economic, environmental, security, and social challenges that afflict their countries, citizens are prone to look to populist authoritarian politicians for solutions. In this Faculty Friday, Rachel Sigman draws on lessons from her new book on democratic governance in Africa and her ongoing research on inequality, democracy, and state capacity across the world to offer insights into the current wave of democratic backsliding and what, if anything, can be done to halt it.