Democracy Works

E.J. Dionne on empathy and democracy

E.J. Dionne has the unique perspective of studying the horse race and the big picture of American politics. He writes a twice-weekly column for the Washington Post and appears regularly on NPR, but he’s also a senior fellow at Brookings and professor in Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University. We talked with him...

No Jargon: Who controls the states?

We are excited to bring you an episode from No Jargon, a podcast from the Scholars Strategy Network. Much like Democracy Works, No Jargon aims to break down some of the biggest issues in politics and society in a way that’s not partisan and not punditry. New episodes are released every Thursday, and we hope...

The ongoing struggle for civil rights

Joyce Ladner was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was mentored by Medgar Evers, expelled from Jackson State University for participating in a sit-in, and failed Mississippi’s voter literacy test three times. She discusses those...

Immigration, refugees, and the politics of displacement

From Brexit to Hungary to the U.S. border wall, many of today’s political conflicts center around immigration. Moving people from one place to another is easier said than done, and as we’ve seen around world, there are inherent tensions between people who want to enter a country and the people who are already there. On top...

The most serious issue facing democracy today

It’s not populism, or declining support for journalism, or attacks on the rule of law …       …. it’s whether dogs can or should eat bananas. On Democracy Works, we take democracy seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously — as evidenced by these outtakes. We hope you enjoy a few laughs with...

A playbook for organizing in turbulent times

20 years ago, Srdja Popovic was part of a revolution — literally. He was a founding member of the Otpor! movement that ousted Serbia Slobodan Milsovic from power in 1999. It’s easy to characterize social movements as a bunch of people rallying in the streets, but successful movements require a lot of planning and a...

Future Hindsight: Ian Bremmer on the failure of globalism

We are closing out our series on democracy around the world with a bonus episode from Future Hindsight, a show that features deep conversations with guests who are engaged in strengthening our society. This episode is a discussion with Ian Bremmer, author of Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism. Ian is a political scientist and president of...

Brexit and the UK’s identity crisis

We’re just a few weeks away from the deadline for the UK to reach an agreement on its plan to leave the European Union. Nearly three years after the infamous Brexit vote, things appear to be as murky as ever. Rather than trying to predict the future, we invited Penn State’s Sons Golder to join...

Brazil’s tenuous relationship with democracy

To say Brazil has had a complicated history with democracy is a understatement. The country has bounced in and out authoritarian regimes for hundreds of years, with democracy never having quite enough time to really take hold. Following the election of Jair Bolsonaro in October 2018, many are wondering whether the cycle is about to...

Yellow vests and the “grand debate” in France

This episode is the second in our series looking at democracy around the world. France is the focus this week. Our guest is Cole Stangler, an independent journalist based in Paris who covers French politics. The yellow vest movement, named for the safety vest that all drivers are required to carry in their cars, began...

Viktor Orbán’s “velvet repression” in Hungary

This episode begins a four-part series examining the state of democracy around the world. First up is Hungary, a country that’s often referred to in a group of countries in central and Eastern Europe that are seeing authoritarian leaders rise to power. You might have heard of Viktor Orbán or know that the country is...