Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberal democracy is once again at war.

“In the battle between democracy and autocracy”, US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address, one week after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, “democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.”

In truth, the rally around liberal democracy’s flag belies a tumultuous early- and mid-21st century for democratic nations.

This paper characterises ‘silent’ and ‘noisy’ protests against democratic politics that have grown across advanced democracies since the 1980s. We describe economic, sociocultural and political shifts that have led to these protests and show that mainstream parties, in the UK and elsewhere, are failing to respond adequately.

We argue democratic reforms to enhance the influence of ordinary and underpowered citizens over public policy are a necessary component of any strategy to recapture lost electorates and reinforce the foundations of democracy.