Winning for democracy: In Poland, Donald Tusk shows how to reach voters tempted by authoritarians (JOHN AUSTIN, LUCAS KREUZER AND KAMIL LUNGU 15 MAY 2024, Inside Story)

In the United States, Europe and beyond, there is a lot of unease about the future of democracy. Will Donald Trump regain the White House? Will the Republican congressional minority, enthralled by Trump, imperil democratic Europe and possibly NATO itself, despite a recent vote for Ukraine aid? Will France or Germany fall to ethnonationalists and fascists?

Against this backdrop, Poland’s parliamentary elections and the selection of Donald Tusk as prime minister last October offered a hopeful counterpoint. Voters embraced Europe and the world to rebuild democratic institutions torn apart by ten years of right-wing populist rule under Jarosław Kaczyński and his Polish Law and Justice Party.

A new analysis offers encouraging details. A larger-than-normal turnout, driven partly by a motivated cohort of younger voters, was a triumph for democracy. The analysis comes from two of the authors of this piece, Lucas Kreuzer and Kamil Lungu, graduates of Georgetown University’s BMW Center for German and European Affairs. The Polish election recommitted the country to tolerance, democracy and Europe after a decade of right-wing, populist rule that had sought to dismantle democratic institutions and stigmatise marginalised communities.