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The stresses and strains on US democracy, building over decades, have reached an apex with the upcoming presidential election in ways that are unprecedented and daunting. Real fears of voter suppression, unfounded suspicions of voter fraud, and the effects of disinformation hover over November 3, 2020. Genuine uncertainty characterizes what may follow. Will the results be accepted? Will a transition be orderly if the incumbent loses?
In recent years, the SSRC Anxieties of Democracy program has been preoccupied with the long-term fracturing of the democratic status quo, and what can be done to both secure and deepen democracy in ways that serve the public good. This roundtable brings into conversation three experts who bring diverse historical, structural, and comparative perspectives on democratic anxieties in the United States and elsewhere, as well as keen insight into the moment we are now experiencing. Professors Han, Levitsky, and Pildes will give “lightning talks” on electoral and constitutional law, social mobilization and political participation, and how the current American electoral maelstrom looks in light of the fragility of democracies around the globe. Following initial questions to the panelists from AOD advisory committee co-chairs John Ferejohn and Deborah Yashar, SSRC President Alondra Nelson will then moderate a discussion on which anxieties most deserve our focus, and what might be done to strengthen American democracy in the immediate and long-term aftermath of November 3, 2020.