A collage of authoritarian leaders and armed police representing the authoritarian threat.

Threat & Response

The global democratic recession has come to the United States. Together, we can push back the tide of authoritarianism.

The Threat

It’s not just the United States. With few exceptions, democracies are struggling everywhere.

The Threat to democracy

Global freedom is threatened not just by rising autocracies, but also by major democracies faltering from within. This graph shows the relative change in quality of democracy in key countries since 2011.

V-Dem Institute Liberal Democracy Index, 2021

As a result, four out of every five people globally live in countries becoming less democratic.

Past decades’ progress towards democracy has stalled and then reversed. Today, a larger percent of the world lives under an autocratic government than when the Berlin Wall went up.

V-Dem Institute Liberal Democracy Index, 2021

A collage

Why are democracies reeling?

Experts have various explanations for why democracy is suddenly receding around the world, all at once. Theories range from technological change and global economic shifts to growing social atomization and backlash to demographic changes.

Significant Threat Threat Level: 2.1 –
Low Threat Threat Level: 1.8 –
Low Threat Threat Level: 1.5 –

Modern authoritarians across the world use a similar playbook

The Strategy

Defeating the Authoritarian Playbook: Our Strategy

How We Can Protect Democracy

The autocrats have a shared playbook. With four strategic priorities, we can ensure democracy strives and thrives.

We protect free & fair elections, regardless of who wins.

The greatest threat to democracy is a stolen or corrupted election. By protecting democracy at its source—the ballot box—we can guard the cornerstone of self-government.

We defend the rule of law from authoritarian threats.

Modern democracies tend to die not at the barrel of a gun, but by the pen of an elected ruler. The Constitution gives us tools to keep our leaders in check.

We prevent disinformation from corrupting fact-based debate.

Even the strongest democracy cannot survive long without healthy political disagreement and shared facts. Together, we can counter disinformation and protect open debate.

We shape the democracy of tomorrow

The roots of our democracy crisis run deep. For self-government to be sustainable, we must make our democracy more resilient, adaptable, and responsive.

Building towards a thriving democracy for the next generation where….

Elections are free, fair, and trusted.

Checks & balances protect us and our government from tyrannical overreach.

Facts and honest disagreement, not disinformation, shape public opinion.

We're back on the path to a truly free, pluralist, multi-racial democracy.

Our Impact

Our Impact

Our mission is to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.

Since 2016, we have…

Helped prevent an autocratic president from placing himself above the law by protecting independent law enforcement, shoring up checks & balances, and ensuring accountability for lawbreaking.

Been credited with helping to protect the 2020 election by countering voter suppression, deterring election manipulation, and helping prevent attempts to overturn the results before and on January 6.

Successfully deterred disinformation aimed at our democracy by using defamation law to hold accountable some of the highest-profile superspreaders of election disinformation.

Our work has produced


legal actions filed nationwide

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Our litigation has produced nationwide injunctions of anti-democratic policies, expansions of voting rights protections in federal case law, and new doctrines against presidential abuses of power.

155 million

voter records protected by VoteShield

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VoteShield, our election monitoring team, analyzes public data to spot improper voter file changes and support Republican and Democratic election officials in 24 states to protect our elections.


national & local press stories generated

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We work to shape the national conversation and support reporters in helping the public understand the threats facing our democracy and potential solutions.