• MLK and Today's Global Struggle for Democracy

    by Randal Maurice Jelks

    "Thinking about King’s Holt Street speech brings me full circle to contemporary times as I try to understand this most anti-democratic era, one not seen since the 1930s as the clouds of World War II loomed on the horizon."

  • Judging Jefferson: Ideals or Actions?

    by Daniel N. Gullotta

    Thomas Kidd's intellectual and spiritual biography of Jefferson engages with the contradictions of the ideals he proclaimed and seeks to engage with the ambiguities of his subject in ways that defy both iconoclasm and hagiography. 

  • Authoritarianism Isn't Just About Personality Cults

    Recent books on "strongmen" reduce the problem of authoritarianism to the phenomenon of charismatic leadership and ignore many of the structural factors contributing to democratic collapse. 

  • Watergate at 50: The Consequences of Impunity

    by Barry Sussman

    The Washington Post's City Editor at the time of the Watergate breakin launches a series of posts on the ongoing legacy of the scandal. This one discusses the legacy of elite impunity that resulted from the failure to prosecute Richard Nixon. 

  • What if the Constitution is the Source of Democratic Erosion?

    by Noah Feldman

    James Madison feared from the beginning that the design of the US Senate was contrary to the core principles of a democratic republic. A Harvard Law professor says that if the nation can survive with a fundamentally undemocratic institution at the heart of the government, partisan gerrymandering might not be too bad. 

  • The Threat of the US Becoming an "Anocracy" Again? Civil War

    by Barbara F. Walter

    Anocracies combine the superficial trappings of democracy, like elections, with the suppression of civil liberties and the press and the hardening of factions in place of a common civic culture. By some measures, the US is now an anocracy, like Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. 

  • The Senate is a Long-Term Threat to Democracy

    by Thomas Zimmer

    The idea that the Senate is "the world's greatest deliberative body" is American exceptionalism that hides the undemocratic nature of the institution.

  • Patrick Henry and the Defense of Democracy

    by John A. Ragosta

    Patrick Henry has become a hero of the Tea Party and the January 6 insurrectionists. But his famous demand for liberty or death doesn't capture his personal commitments to liberty under the rule of law and acceptance of the outcomes of elections. 

  • The End of Democracy won't Look Like You Think It Will

    by Tom Nichols

    The authoritarian right isn't motivated or organized enough to create the kind of dystopia some fear. But federalism means that significant chunks of the Formerly-United States will turn the clock back to the late 1950s. 

  • Now or Never to Stop US Descent to Authoritarian Rule

    by Thomas Zimmer

    The Republican Party has operated on the core propositions that the Democratic opposition and its core constituencies are fundamentally illegitimate long before Donald Trump. Biden's victory shouldn't obscure how close they are to establishing permanent minority rule. 

  • Of Course the Federal Government Can Regulate Elections

    by Heather Cox Richardson

    The Constitution not only enables, but requires the federal government to act when state authority violates the principles of democracy, something President Harry Truman realized in 1946.

  • The State of Democracy: Jan. 22, 2022 (Feat. Carol Anderson)

    "One year after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, 92Y’s second annual State of Democracy Summit—co-presented with Aspen Digital—will explore the most important questions facing the country right now."