past event
World Affairs

SOF Two Day Symposium: Democracy Now? The Uncertain Fate of Western Democracy in the United States and Across the Globe

Democracy pundits have sounded the alarm bell but is anybody listening?  They warn us that Western liberal democracy, while not dead, is closer to collapse than most people realize.  The last time we have faced so many threats to democracy was WWII.  This time, the threats are coming from within. Consider this: Fewer than 30 percent of Americans born since 1980 say that living in a democracy is essential.  Civics education has fallen out of favor in our schools.  Is our system of checks and balances working?  Is our judiciary under attack?  What about Congress: Is it ensuring a self-correcting democracy today?  Have our electoral districts and elected officials become so polarized that we can’t ever learn to work together again?  Or is there hope still?    Moderators, John Carey from Dartmouth College, and Yascha Mounk from Harvard, will help us navigate these questions and explore what citizens can do to protect democracy and keep it from self-destructing.


Yascha Mounk is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, Executive Director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, and a Senior Fellow at New America. A columnist at Slate and the host of The Good Fight podcast, he is an expert on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. His next book, The People versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It, will be published by Harvard University Press in March 2018 and translated into six languages.

John M. Carey is the John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author or co-author of over 75 academic articles and 5 books, including Legislative Voting & Accountability (Cambridge UP 2009) and Presidents & Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge UP 1992). His research focuses mostly on the design of constitutions and electoral systems, and on democratic accountability. He is also working on a new book on what students think about campus diversity. He is a co-founder of, which monitors the performance US democracy and assesses threats to democracy in historical and comparative perspective. He has consulted on electoral system reform in Nepal, Afghanistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen, South Sudan, Israel, Mexico, and the Philippines. Research, datasets, and citations to published work, are available on his website at

Event information
Wed Feb 21, 2018 - Fri Feb 23, 2018
Koch Building, Aspen Meadows campus
1000 North Third Street.
Aspen, CO