The State of Liberal Democracy

Both internationally and at home, liberal democracy is at an important moment of change. From the radical rhetoric of the Trump administration to the rise of new parties abroad, we are seeing a shift in how institutions value and think about previous pillars of democracy, such as separation of powers and freedom of the press. The Political Reform program is taking this moment in history to chronicle the changing core norms of democracy—both in the open and in back rooms—to analyze how our institutions are moving away from the very definitions of our cherished form of government.

One part of our role, therefore, has been the publication of a Slate blog and a number of high-profile articles that keep the focus on political measures that threaten key aspects of the system (rather than “merely” being bad policy), explain the nature and importance of particular democratic norms, and show how particular actions by the Executive violate them. The American model of liberal democracy has been revolutionary and long-lasting. Keeping tabs on these traditions and governing standards is both an important and mandatory role for political scientists living through this era of change.