Politics & Polls #85: Democracy in the Modern Age
Questions about democracy have been front and center in the United States, especially since the 2016 election. What is the state of democracy both in the United States and around the globe? How are our democratic institutions faring in the modern age — especially given new and emerging threats like “fake news?”
In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the overall health of democracy — and whether it’s in danger — with Steven Levitsky, professor of government at Harvard University, and co-author of “How Democracies Die” with Daniel Ziblatt.
Levitsky’s research interests include political parties, authoritarianism and democratization, and weak and informal institutions, with a focus on Latin America. In addition to “How Democracies Die,” he is author of “Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective” (2003), co-author (with Lucan Way) of “Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War” (2010), and co-editor of “Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness” (2005); “Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America” (2006); and “The Resurgence of the Left in Latin America” (2011). He is currently engaged in research on the durability of revolutionary regimes, the relationship between populism and competitive authoritarianism, problems of party-building in contemporary Latin America and party collapse and its consequences for democracy in Peru.
ABOUT THE HOSTS
Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published more than 600 hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com.
Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum.