The Crisis of American Democracy

Join us for a conversation with William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe, jointly sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the University of Chicago Graham School.

Pictures of William Howell and Terry Moe
Nov 11

About the Event

Could American democracy’s long, ambitious run come to an end? It’s not unthinkable. As William G. Howell (University of Chicago) and Terry M. Moe (Stanford) argue in their book, Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy, the United States faces a historic crisis that threatens its system of self-government—and if democracy is to be saved, the causes of this crisis must be understood and defused. Disruptive social forces—globalization, automation, immigration—have generated cultural anxieties and economic harms for tens of millions of Americans: problems that our government has been entirely ineffective at addressing. The result has been a surge in populist, anti-government rage that has dangerously reshaped our political landscape and threatened to bring our democracy down. 

What can be done to safeguard American democracy? The disruptive forces of modernity cannot be stopped. The solution lies, Howell and Moe argue, in having a government that can deal with them effectively—and thus in having a presidency that, with appropriate reforms, is powerful enough to promote effective government yet sufficiently constrained that a rogue president cannot threaten democracy itself. During this conversation jointly sponsored by Stanford and University of Chicago, Howell and Moe will discuss their prescriptions for addressing the nation’s crisis of American democracy, while also reflecting on the first year of the Biden administration—a year that saw the country emerging from a pandemic and seeking effective government through presidential policies that boldly echo F.D.R.’s New Deal.

Who's Speaking

William Howell

William G. Howell

Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics

Terry M. Moe

Terry M. Moe

William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science

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