Democracy’s resilience: Is America’s democracy threatened?

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.