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Our Democracy is in Danger

Our democracy is facing threats we haven’t seen in generations. Every day, we’re seeing new attacks, from at home and abroad, on our right to free, fair, and fully informed self-government. But together, armed with our Constitution and the rule of law, we can fight back and protect our democracy from those who would do it harm.

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Taking on the Threat

As Americans, we have strong tools rooted in our Constitution and system of checks and balances to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government. With experience upholding the guardrails of democracy in the American government, and working with experts who study the rise and fall of democracies around the world, we’ve identified key areas of risk that need our immediate attention.

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History has shown that the best way to protect democracy is by standing united in its defense. Your contribution will help us to scale up our efforts to educate, advocate, organize, and litigate on behalf of the values we all hold dear.

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An engaged and informed public is at the heart of American democracy. Sign up to receive updates that will keep us all informed about the threats we face and how we can fight to protect our democracy together.

Democracy Watchers | E.J. Dionne

Democracies sometimes collapse suddenly. More typically, they waste away. One major cause of institutional decline involves politicians putting their own immediate interests ahead of their obligations to democratic norms. We wake up one day and discover that a long series of individual choices has rotted out the constraints on authoritarian rule. ”

Democracy Watchers | James Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence

If there has ever been a clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the very foundation of our democratic political system, this episode is it. ”

Democracy Watchers | Yascha Mounk, Lecturer at Harvard, Senior Fellow at New America

If a president can command the military and the civil service to break the law, there’s nothing to stop him from arresting his critics or falsifying an election. Even a president who has been democratically elected would then be in danger of overriding the will of the people once he falls out of favor. ”

Democracy Watchers | Daniel Ziblatt, Professor of Government at Harvard University

Elected authoritarians, as their popularity dwindles and their political allies leave them, often look weak and cornered. Some mistake this as a sign that extra vigilance is no longer warranted. But sometimes, this is precisely when elected authoritarians are most dangerous. ”

Democracy Watchers | Wall Street Journal Editorial

We will put the problem more bluntly. Mr. Trump's suggestion that his Attorney General prosecute his defeated opponent is the kind of crude political retribution one expects in Erdogan's Turkey or Duterte's Philippines. ”

Democracy Watchers | Aziz Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law, The University of Chicago Law School

Something to watch out for going forward would be overt and high-profile efforts to politicize prosecutions and investigations. Official attacks on specific media, such as the slander directed at the New York Times’s Bret Stephens, are also a concerning trend. I would pay attention to public opinion on democracy and toleration of political difference, which has been slipping on both sides of the aisle. ”