The second Bright Line Watch conference, Democracy’s resilience: Is America’s democracy threatened?, was held at The Brookings Institution on May 1, 2018. In the aftermath of the 2016 election and during the tumultuous first year of the Trump presidency, observers across the political spectrum have struggled to anticipate the likely consequences for American democracy. Never before has a sitting president so harshly questioned the integrity of elections, challenged the separation of powers, and verbally threatened the freedom of the press. Partisan polarization is at an all-time high, public trust at a historic low. For many Americans, democracy seems more imperiled now than at any time in living memory. And similar problems are afflicting other democracies around the world. The Brookings Institution and Bright Line Watch brought together the authors of four prominent new books to weigh in on the status and prospects of America’s democracy.
One Nation After Trump by E.J. Dionne, Norm Ornstein, and Thomas Mann
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
The People vs. Democracy by Yascha Mounk
Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy by Bill Galston
Each book offers its own unique look at how we arrived at this moment, with an American president who is singularly transgressive of democratic norms, and how the country might best move forward. The authors discussed their books and joined a panel of experts to further examine the status of American democracy and solutions to ongoing challenges facing political institutions in the United States. Following the discussion, the panel took questions from the audience.
How Do Democracies Fall Apart? (And Could It Happen Here?)
The first Bright Line Watch conference, How Do Democracies Fall Apart? (And Could It Happen Here?) was held at Yale University’s MacMillan Center on October 6, 2017. Conference papers are available here. Videos are available of all sessions: welcome, session 1, session 2, session 3.