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

Looking back to move forward

We end this season the way it began, with a roundtable discussion on the state of American democracy. Michael, Chris, and Candis reflect on the January 6 insurrection, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, and the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre.

On the one hand, it’s easy to be pessimistic about where things are as state legislatures continue to pass restrictive voting measures and Congress seems more polarized than ever. Yet, it’s our duty as democrats to persevere despite these challenges and push the limits of our imagination about what democracy can and should be.

We’ve touched on both of those dynamics this season — from journalists David Daley and Chris Fitzsimon talking about state legislatures creating “democracy deserts” to Harvard professor Danielle Allen discussing how we can establish a new common purpose as Americans and Peter Pomerantsev on how to combat misinformation online. If you missed any of those episodes, check out the links below.

This is our last new episode with the entire team for the summer. Over the next few months, we’ll be airing bonus episodes, rebroadcasts, and episodes from other podcasts we think you might enjoy.

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