DiscoverDemocracy ParadoxCan America Preserve Democracy without Retreating from it? Robert C. Lieberman on the Four Threats
Can America Preserve Democracy without Retreating from it? Robert C. Lieberman on the Four Threats

Can America Preserve Democracy without Retreating from it? Robert C. Lieberman on the Four Threats

Update: 2021-05-251
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Racism and racial conflict are always there, always a powerful and important part of American politics. But when they combine with polarization, with this kind of partisan antagonism, and when that becomes the dividing line between the parties, that's really dangerous. That's what happened in the 1850s. It led to civil war. That's what happened in the 1890s. It led to violent conflict and mass disenfranchisement. And it's happening again today.

Robert C. Lieberman

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Key Highlights Include

  • An account of the 1898 insurrection in Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • Is polarization the fault of both sides or is one party responsible?
  • How the election of 1896 affected American democracy.
  • How polarization, conflicts over who belongs, rising economic inequality, and executive aggrandizement interact to threaten democracy in the United States.
  • Does the preservation of democracy really require democratic backsliding?


Robert Lieberman is a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University and  coauthored Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy with Suzanne Mettler.

Key Links

Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy by Robert C. Lieberman and Suzanne Mettler

"Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation" by John Lewis in The New York Times

Follow Rob Lieberman on Twitter @r_lieberman

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Email the show at democracyparadoxblog@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter @DemParadox

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Can America Preserve Democracy without Retreating from it? Robert C. Lieberman on the Four Threats

Can America Preserve Democracy without Retreating from it? Robert C. Lieberman on the Four Threats

Justin Kempf