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The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.

In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonizing and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey.

The Republican party has remained relatively committed to pluralism, but it has gone a long way towards abandoning other democratic norms, becoming much more prone to disrespecting opponents and encouraging violence, said the study.

“We’ve seen similar shifts in parties in other countries where the quality of democracy has declined in recent years, where democracy has been eroding,” Lührmann said. “It fits very well into the pattern of parties that erode democracy once they’re in power.”

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