How Well is Democracy Working for Us Now?

How Well is Democracy Working for Us Now?

Ways to improve the government

  • Overview
  • Episodes
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8 Episodes

Misinformation, voter suppression, and partisan politics are just some of the threats facing modern democracies around the world. In this curated collection, gain insight from filmmakers, authors, and other thought leaders, who will inspire you to more actively influence the way your government works for you. 

What You'll Learn
• What democracy even means these days
• Why it may seem democracy is falling short
• How you can actively make democracy better 

1. ​What is Democracy? A Conversation with Astra Taylor.
Hear what the Canadian-American activist, documentarian, musician, and writer learned about democracy during her travels. 

2. A Brief History of “People Power”
Find out why the will of the people is always the beating pulse that drives a successful democracy. 

Andrew Sullivan on Democracy’s Double-Edged Sword
Hear from the political commentator as to how tensions between liberalism and democracy manifest themselves around the world. 

4. How Democracies Die Author Daniel Ziblatt on the “Grinding Work” of Democracy
Explore why the political scientist and Harvard professor believes it’s easier to crash under the weight of an autocratic leader than it is to protect the guardrails of democracy. 

What Neoliberalism Left Behind
Discover how long-held neoliberal values among political, corporate, and intellectual leaders created the modern populism of today’s landscape.

A Roadmap to a More Equitable Democracy
Consider the racial and economic inequalities that the COVID-19 crisis has illuminated, and why America’s communities of color are being hit the hardest. 

How to End Democracy’s Doom Loop
Get inspired to put an end to the status quo, and learn how you can make positive change within your democracy. 

Your Guide to Ranked-Choice Voting
Decide for yourself whether ranked-choice voting is more democratic than the single-vote method we’ve traditionally used. 

This is a collection of free podcast episodes curated by the Himalaya Editorial Team.

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8 Episodes

We begin our third season with a fundamental question: What is democracy? Astra Taylor grapples with this question in a documentary of the same name and a forthcoming book. We talk with her this week about what she learned from traveling the world and talking with people from all walks of life. As you’ll hear, … Continue reading What is democracy? A conversation with Astra Taylor →

In his bookCan Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea from Ancient Athens to Our World,James Miller encapsulates 2500 years of democracy history into about 250 pages — making the case that “people power” will always need to be at the heart of any successful democracy. James isa professor of politics and liberal … Continue reading A brief history of “people power” →

This is one of the most pessimistic episodes we’ve done, but it’s worth hearing. Andrew Sullivan, New York magazine contributing editor, Daily Dish founder,and former editor of The New Republic,is a longtime observer of American politics who does not shy away from controversial opinions. In this episode, we discuss the tension between liberalism and democracy, […]

Our summer break continues this week with a rebroadcast of one of our very firstepisodes, a conversation with How Democracies Die author Daniel Ziblatt. He spoke at Penn State in March 2018. Both the book and the conversation areworth revisiting, or checking out for the first time if the episode is new to you. Ziblatthas … Continue reading How Democracies Die author Daniel Ziblatt on the “grinding work” of democracy [rebroadcast] →

Much like our conversation with Patricia Roberts-Miller on demagoguery last week, neoliberalism is one of those fuzzy words that can mean something different to everyone. Wendy Brown is one of the world’s leading scholars on neoliberalism and argue that a generation of neoliberal worldview among political, business, and intellectual leaders led to the populism we’re … Continue reading What neoliberalism left behind →

COVID-19 has exposed longstanding racial and economic inequalities in American life, which is evident in the fact that communities of color are being hit the hardest by both the medical and the economic impacts of the virus. Our guest this week argues that now is the time to empower those communities to have a stake […]

As we bring this season of Democracy Works to a close, we’re going to end in a place similar to where we began — discussing the role of political parties in American democracy. We started the season discussing the Tea Party and the Resistance with Theda Skocpol and Dana Fisher, then discussed presidential primaries with […]

Ranked-choice voting has been in the news a lot lately. It was adopted in New York City’s November 2019 election, used for the first time in U.S. Congressional elections last year, and will be the method by which at least a few states choose a Democratic primary candidate in 2020. But, what is it? How […]

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