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United States

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English

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Episodes

Breaking the silence in Syria

9/24/2018
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We’ve talked before on this show about the importance of a free press, but this week’s episode brings a whole new meaning to the term. In 2014, Abdalaziz Alhamza and his friends started social media accounts to document the atrocities being committed by ISIS in their city of Raqqa. They called themselves Raqqa is Being … Continue reading Breaking the silence in Syria →

Duration:00:35:35

Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom

9/17/2018
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As a piece in The Atlantic recently noted, democracy is not natural. Becoming a democratic citizen involves a set of behaviors that need to be learned and practiced over time. One of the first places for that conditioning to happen is in the classroom. Beyond reading, writing, and STEM skills, students have an opportunity to engage in … Continue reading Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom →

Duration:00:33:54

Behind the scenes of the “Year of the Woman”

9/10/2018
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One of the biggest headlines to emerge heading into the 2018 midterms is the record number of female candidates in local, state, and national races. While it’s easy to point to this a post-Trump reaction, there’s much more that goes into persuading women to run and helping them raise the money and build the relationships … Continue reading Behind the scenes of the “Year of the Woman” →

Duration:00:26:45

The democrats in public sector unions (Labor Day rebroadcast)

9/3/2018
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This week, we are rebraodcasting our conversation about public sector unions from earlier this year with Paul Clark, director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State. Paul talks about how these unions exist at at all levels of government — from bureaucrats to bus drivers. Many could find higher wages in … Continue reading The democrats in public sector unions (Labor Day rebroadcast) →

Duration:00:32:08

Middle America, Part 2: Grassroots organizing and rebooting democracy

8/27/2018
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Last week, we heard from Salena Zito about the segments of middle America who supported Donald Trump after voting for Barack Obama. This week, we talk with another Pittsburgh resident, Lara Putnam, about a different version of Middle America — the college-educated, middle-aged suburban women who have dusted off the organizing skills honed through decades … Continue reading Middle America, Part 2: Grassroots organizing and rebooting democracy →

Duration:00:34:48

Middle America, Part 1: Populism and the Trump Voter

8/20/2018
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In the effort to understand the people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, a style of reporting has emerged that Chris Hayes recently described as “Trump pastoral.” You might not know the phrase, but, but you’ve probably read a piece or two like this in the past few years: A reporter from a national … Continue reading Middle America, Part 1: Populism and the Trump Voter →

Duration:00:33:03

Facebook is not a democracy

8/13/2018
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We have access to more information now than at any other time in history, but we trust that information less than ever before. A Gallup survey recently found that 58 percent of respondents felt less informed because of today’s information abundance. As with a lot of things in life, too much of a good thing … Continue reading Facebook is not a democracy →

Duration:00:37:50

How will we remember Charlottesville?

8/6/2018
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This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally and counter protests in Charlottesville, Virginia that claimed the life of Heather Heyer and set off a firestorm around President Trump’s remarks about who was to blame for the violence. One year later, the Robert E. Lee statue at the center of the controversy … Continue reading How will we remember Charlottesville? →

Duration:00:29:35

A democracy summer reading list

7/9/2018
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Ah, summer. Time to kick back and relax with a good book or two. If you’ve been to a book store or the library lately, then you’ve probably seen at least a few books on democracy on the shelves. The 2016 presidential election spurred a lot of conversation about the current state of our democracy and … Continue reading A democracy summer reading list →

Duration:00:51:44

Bonus: A dose of optimism about the future of democracy

7/5/2018
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If you need a sense of hope about the future of democracy, you’ve come to the right place. Stephanie Keyaka, editor-in-chief of The Underground and one of the McCourtney Institute’s Nevins Fellows, is spending the summer interning for Zeke Cohen on the Baltimore City Council. She believes Baltimore is on the cusp of something big and is … Continue reading Bonus: A dose of optimism about the future of democracy →

Duration:00:12:40

The constitutional crisis episode

7/2/2018
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This is one we’ve been wanting to do since we started the podcast. The term constitutional crisis is frequently used but often misunderstood. Like democracy, it’s hard to define but you know it when you see it. If anyone can provide a definition, it’s Jud Mathews, an associate professor of law at Penn State. He … Continue reading The constitutional crisis episode →

Duration:00:24:18

Unpacking political polarization

6/25/2018
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Polarization is a term that’s thrown around among political pundits as one reason for the decline of American democracy — often without an explanation of what it really means. We’re even guilty of it on this show. To set the record straight, we talk with Boris Shor, an assistant professor at the University of Houston … Continue reading Unpacking political polarization →

Duration:00:31:24

What should voting look like in the 21st century?

6/18/2018
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Across the U.S., the process to register to vote and cast a ballot is different in every state. And we’re not just talking about minor details. The entire registration process and timeline can vary widely from one state, as do the regulations surrounding campaign finance and electoral maps. Pennsylvania tends to fall on the more … Continue reading What should voting look like in the 21st century? →

Duration:00:27:42

When the “business of business” bleeds into politics

6/11/2018
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What is the role of a corporation in a democracy? If you asked Milton Friedman, the answer would be none at all. He famously said in the 1970s that the only corporate social responsibility a company has is to turn a profit for its shareholders. Some 40 years later, the answer to that question looks … Continue reading When the “business of business” bleeds into politics →

Duration:00:26:08

Michael Mann on the hockey stick and the future of expertise

6/4/2018
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This episode is not about climate change. Well, not directly, anyway. Instead, we talk with Nobel Prize winner and Penn State Distinguished Professor of Meteorology Michael E. Mann about his journey through the climate wars over the past two decades and the role that experts have to play in moving out of the lab and … Continue reading Michael Mann on the hockey stick and the future of expertise →

Duration:00:36:47

Can young people revive civic engagement?

5/29/2018
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Peter Levine is one of the country’s leading scholars in the area of civic engagement. He is the Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life and author of “We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal … Continue reading Can young people revive civic engagement? →

Duration:00:26:03

Bonus: Democracy In Action #1

5/24/2018
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We love talking with scholars and thought leaders on Democracy Works, but we’d also like to bring you the everyday stories of democracy in action. This the first installment in that series. We visited the central Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action and heard how they are using the power of conversation to reframe the gun … Continue reading Bonus: Democracy In Action #1 →

Duration:00:07:25

A conversation about conversation

5/21/2018
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This week’s episode seeks to answer one simple, but very important, question: Why is it so hard for people to talk to each other? There are a lot of easy answers we can point to, like social media and political polarization, but there’s another explanation that goes a bit deeper. Laurie Mulvey, executive director of … Continue reading A conversation about conversation →

Duration:00:32:25

Ten thousand democracies

5/11/2018
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One of the things we talked about in our episode with How Democracies Die author Daniel Ziblatt is the “grinding work” that it takes to make a democracy function. School board meeting rooms around the country are some of the places where that happens at the grassroots level. If you’ve ever been to a school board … Continue reading Ten thousand democracies →

Duration:00:27:35

It’s good to be counted

5/8/2018
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The next census is still a few years away in 2020, but the U.S. Census Bureau is already hard at work on preparing to count the more than 325 million people in the United States. The census is one of the few democratic norms that’s required by the Constitution, and the data collected has wide-ranging … Continue reading It’s good to be counted →

Duration:00:31:46