We are partisans for democracy

What does it mean to be a partisan for democracy? We don’t take sides on the political spectrum, but we do defend the rights everyone has as a democratic citizen — from voting to protesting to consuming information from a free press that serves as a check on political leaders.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy draws from the humanities and social sciences to examine democracy from multiple angles. This cross-discipline collaboration is evident in our research, education, and outreach efforts.

We educate the next generation of democratic citizens through our Nevins Fellows program, monitor attitudes toward democracy with the Mood of the Nation poll, and host speakers and events that bring people from diverse backgrounds and points of view together to discuss the role of democracy in our society.

We make all of this happen in partnership with our centers of excellence, the Center for American Political Responsiveness and the Center for Democratic Deliberation, and many other organizations throughout the College of the Liberal Arts and the broader Penn State community.

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Democracy Works Podcast

Abortion is not always a clash of absolutes

Candis Watts Smith takes a turn in the interviewer’s chair this week for a conversation about abortion and American democracy following the passage of SB8 in Texas and the Supreme Court’s response to it. Like a lot of things in American democracy, it’s complicated.

As Candis says in the episode, it isn’t typical for us to discuss “hot topics” or policy matters, per se, on Democracy Works. But, this policy and the Supreme Court’s response to it throws a great number of matters related to democracy into relief, including federalism, the role of the Court to protect and uphold the U.S. Constitution and constitutional rights, state politics as laboratories of democracy and policy innovation, and partisan strategies to create the country in their ideological image.

Candis talks with Rebecca Kreitzer, associate professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an expert on gender and political representation, reproductive health policy and political inequality.  Rebecca was one of our first guest on Democracy Works back in 2018 and we’re thrilled to have her back for a second appearance on this critically-important topic.

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