Despite the fact that Latin American countries have transitioned to democracy, many citizens residing in peripheral regions continue to live under undemocratic rule. Democrats and Autocrats studies the existence of subnational undemocratic regimes (SURs) alongside national democratic regimes. Specifically it answers the following questions: Why do SURs continue to exist despite national democratization? Why do some subnational autocrats and SURs prevail despite presidents' strategies to weaken SURs? Why do democratic presidents support some autocrats and SURs, even when they are from the opposition? Under what conditions do democratically elected presidents endorse or combat (opposition and/or copartisan) autocrats and SURs?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the book argues that there are multiple pathways for SURs reproduction within democratic countries. These pathways, in turn, are determined by a specific combination of intergovernmental interactions, all of which are shaped by institutional and economic national and subnational variables.
The explanation of SUR continuity advanced in this book is tested in contemporary Argentina and Mexico using a multi-method approach. Both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as cross-national and within-country comparisons are employed to test pathways of SUR continuity in two of Latin America's largest countries.