Is American democracy in danger of deterioration? Many commentators have claimed that it is, pointing to rising economic inequality, political polarization, the expansion of presidential powers, and the resurgence of white supremacy and white nationalism. While these trends have been developing for years, the election of President Donald Trump has brought them to the fore, and political developments since he took office have heightened concerns about the nation’s future.
On April 12-13, 2018, the American Democracy Collaborative convened researchers, scholars, journalists, and policymakers to address questions such as: Can liberal democracy and representative government persist in the United States? Are we experiencing a breakdown of democracy? Are checks and balances that are built into the political system and the mediating institutions that link citizens and government strong enough to sustain democracy? Scholars of American politics offered their analyses of the functioning of specific institutions and political processes, and scholars of comparative politics who study the rise and decline of democracies around the world offered commentary.