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As we head into the final weeks of the 2020 election season, it feels like our democracy is facing an existential crisis. In their new book, Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy, authors Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman map out five times in U.S. history that our democracy was in serious crisis, and they identify four characteristics of democratic disruption: political polarization, racism and nativism, economic inequality, and excessive executive power. We’ve survived these threats in the past—but never all at once. What lessons can past crises teach us about navigating a path forward?
Suzanne Mettler is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions in the Government Department at Cornell University. She is the author of several books, including The Government-Citizen Disconnect; Degrees of Inequality: How The Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream; and The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Programs Undermine American Democracy. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, and several book awards. In 2017, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Robert C. Lieberman is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the award-winning books Shifting the Color Line: Race and the American Welfare State and Shaping Race Policy: The United States in Comparative Perspective, and has written about American politics for Foreign Affairs. He has received fellowships from the Russell Sage Foundation and the American Philosophical Society. He previously served as provost of the Johns Hopkins University and as dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
TIME & DATE
Friday, September 25, 2020 - 12:00pm