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Could American democracy’s long, ambitious run come to an end? It’s not unthinkable. As William G. Howell (University of Chicago) and Terry M. Moe (Stanford) argue in their book, Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy, the United States faces a historic crisis that threatens its system of self-government—and if democracy is to be saved, the causes of this crisis must be understood and defused. Disruptive social forces—globalization, automation, immigration—have generated cultural anxieties and economic harms for tens of millions of Americans: problems that our government has been entirely ineffective at addressing. The result has been a surge in populist, anti-government rage that has dangerously reshaped our political landscape and threatened to bring our democracy down. 

What can be done to safeguard American democracy? The disruptive forces of modernity cannot be stopped. The solution lies, Howell and Moe argue, in having a government that can deal with them effectively—and thus in having a presidency that, with appropriate reforms, is powerful enough to promote effective government yet sufficiently constrained that a rogue president cannot threaten democracy itself. During this conversation jointly sponsored by Stanford and University of Chicago, Howell and Moe will discuss their prescriptions for addressing the nation’s crisis of American democracy, while also reflecting on the first year of the Biden administration—a year that saw the country emerging from a pandemic and seeking effective government through presidential policies that boldly echo F.D.R.’s New Deal.

Stanford and UChicago in Conversation: The Crisis of American Democracy

Day/Date: Thursday, November 11
Time: 5:30 pm (PT)
Platform: Zoom

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William G. Howell

Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics, Harris School of Public Policy; Professor, Department of Political Science and the College; Director, Center for Effective Government, University of Chicago


Terry M. Moe
William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

For questions regarding registration for the virtual live event, please email: continuingstudies@stanford.edu. Thank you!

If you need a disability-related accommodation, please contact the Diversity & Access Office at disability.access@stanford.edu or 650.725.0326 (phone). Requests should be made by November 4, 2021.