Are Americans Giving up on Democracy?


How committed are Americans to the values, norms and processes of democracy itself? As non-democratic and illiberal movements take hold across the globe, and with democratic norms and voting rights under threat in the U.S., this question has gained urgency. Recently, two major studies of public attitudes, from the Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group and from Pew Research Center, have delved deeply and rigorously into this question.

Please join us for a lunchtime conversation about the state of our democracy, what citizens want to see from their country, and how to move forward. Lee Drutman of New America and Jocelyn Kiley from Pew Research Center will present the key findings of the results, followed by a discussion involving journalists and academics who have watched the shifting ground of American democracy from different angles. 

They’ll discuss results such as the Voter Study Group’s finding that almost four in 10 Americans are not satisfied with our current democracy, and only a small majority consistently support a pro-democratic position. One explanation might lie in Pew Research Center’s survey, which found some disconnects between what citizens considered American ideals--like respecting individual rights and holding politicians accountable--and their lived reality. 

The discussion also examine solutions that could restore faith in and support for American democracy in the 21st century. 

Lunch will be served. 


Lee Drutman
Senior Fellow, Political Reform, New America

Jocelyn Kiley@jocelynkiley 
Associate Director, US Politics, Pew Research Center 


Perry Bacon, Jr.@perrybaconjr 
Political Writer, FiveThirtyEight 

Vanessa Williamson@V_Williamson 
Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution 

Henry Olsen@henryolsenEPPC 
Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center