One of the greatest threats to democracy is the idea that it is unassailable.

At a time of potential danger to American demo­c­ra­t­ic norms and insti­tu­tions, it is more urgent than ever for scholars to highlight the risks to our system of gov­ern­ment. In this spirit, Bright Line Watch brings together a group of political sci­en­tists to monitor demo­c­ra­t­ic practices, their resilience, and potential threats.

Featured report

Rebound in Confidence: American Democracy and the 2022 Midterm Elections

The November 2022 midterm elections narrowly returned the United States to divided gov­ern­ment. From the per­spec­tive of American democracy, the most note­wor­thy result was the under­per­for­mance of election denier can­di­dates allied with former President Trump and their accep­tance of the results (with only one prominent exception – Kari Lake in Arizona). To under­stand the outcome of the election and its effects on per­cep­tions of democracy in the United States, we fielded parallel surveys of 707 political sci­en­tists and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sample of 2750 Americans from November 22-December 2, 2022.

November 2022

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Bright Line Watch in the media

A Year After Jan. 6, Millions of Americans Support Violence by Blake Hounshell and Leah Askarinam at The New York Times, 1/5/2022

Why Jan. 6th Was Not A Turning Point by FiveThirtyEight Politics, 1/4/2022

Don’t Despair About U.S. Democracy. Fix It.
by Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post, 12/23/2021

‘We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe,’ new study says
by Dana Milbank at The Washington Post, 12/17/2021






U.S. Democracy Faces Real Threats
by Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post, 12/17/21

Republicans’ belief in Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ holds steady as con­fi­dence in U.S. elections dips by Eli Stokols at Los Angeles Times, 12/16/2021 

The Races That Could Prevent The Hijacking Of The 2024 Election
by Travis Waldron at HuffPost, 12/16/21

1 in 6 committed Republicans would support a violent pro-Trump coup
by Christopher Ingraham at The Why Axis (Substack), 12/16/2021


Bright Line Watch is grateful for funding from these organizations

William & Flora Hewlett Foundation