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Our democracy is in danger

Our democracy is facing threats we haven’t seen in generations. Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting attacks, from at home and abroad, on our right to free, fair, and fully informed self-government. 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.

Understanding 
the threat

The story of the United States has been one of constantly seeking to perfect an imperfect democracy, and for most of our history we moved towards delivering democracy’s promise to more and more of our union. However, this progress has stalled and reversed. The global autocratic threat has arrived on our shores and our democracy is facing challenges not seen in decades. Recent years have been marked by presidential abuses of power, efforts by political leaders to stoke hatred, racism, and misogyny, and failures of our system of checks and balances that have sounded a powerful alarm.

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. At Protect Democracy, we draw on our experience upholding the guardrails of American democracy and work with experts who study the rise and fall of democracies around the world to identify key threats that need our immediate attention.

How we’re rebuilding our democracy

The four years after President Nixon left office provided a fertile environment for reform, and we are planning to be ready to take advantage of a similar moment in the future. We are working with congressional leaders and 2020 candidates of both parties, grassroots organizations, and democracy experts on plans for reform that would help ensure that we turn this crisis into an opportunity for strengthening our democracy.

Latest Updates

Democracy Watchers | George Conway

Actually, Protect Democracy is pro-rule-of-law. If in your mind that’s anti-Trump, that says a lot. ”

Democracy Watchers | Jennifer Rubin

These folks are worth their weight in gold. ”

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. ”

Help Protect Democracy

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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Be an informed American.

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.