October 2021, Volume 32, Issue 4

The Rise of Political Violence in the United States

  • Rachel Kleinfeld
In a deeply polarized United States, ordinary people now consume and espouse once-radical ideas and are primed to commit violence.
April 2022, Volume 33, Issue 2

Why Democracy Fuels Conspiracy Theories

  • Scott Radnitz
Conspiracy theories are not the sole preserve of dictatorships, but a global phenomenon. Worse, the political competition that is inherent to democracy is driving the spread of lies, fake schemes, and half-truths.
January 1995, Volume 6, Issue 1

Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital

  • Robert D. Putnam
Something happened in America starting in the mid-to-late twentieth century to diminish civic engagement and social connectedness. What could that “something” be? Why were fewer and fewer Americans going the polls, the pews, and town halls?

From the July Issue


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July 2024, Volume 35, Issue 3

Misunderstanding Democratic Backsliding

If democracies did a better job “delivering” for their citizens, so the thinking goes, people would not be so ready to embrace antidemocratic alternatives. Not so. This conventional wisdom about democratic backsliding is seldom true and often not accurate at all.

July 2024, Volume 35, Issue 3

When Democracy Is on the Ballot

Democracy is on dangerous ground when its fundamental rules become the main point of political contention. This is where we are today. The truth is that the institutions, not just the players, need to change.

July 2024, Volume 35, Issue 3

Who Decides What Is Democratic?

The “crisis” of democracy is a crisis of representation. New parties, some of which are populist in troublingly illiberal ways, are arising from this moment. The danger that they pose is not that they are antidemocratic, but that they are antiliberal.

Latest Online Exclusives

Why Macron’s Big Gamble Worked | Jean-Yves Camus
The French president risked it all to hand the far right a stinging loss. But the celebration can’t last long. If the country is to avoid greater political chaos, voters must be encouraged to think about broader coalitions that go beyond a narrow left-right divide.

The Empty Promise of Iran’s New President | Ladan Boroumand
Masoud Pezeshkian won’t be a “reformer” in any genuine sense. Like all Iranian presidents, he has pledged his loyalty to Iran’s supreme leader. What he really offers is a softer version of Iran’s grim repression.

Is Democracy Surviving the Year of Elections? | John K. Glenn
Millions of voters are casting ballots in a string of elections across the globe. At the midyear point, how well is democracy holding up?

News & Updates

When Democracy Is on the Ballot

July 2024

This year of elections, just over halfway through, has been nothing short of dramatic, with shocks, upsets, protests, and political violence — most notably, the attempted assassination of Donald Trump last weekend. Democracy is being tested as increasingly polarized voters head to the polls. Will it succumb to division and distrust, or will it withstand its present trials?


The Rise of Political Violence in the United States

July 2024

The attack on Donald Trump is one of the worst instances of political violence in recent years. Such violence is the result of a moment in which people begin to see their political opponents as enemies instead of citizens of a different political stripe.


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