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Photo: “2021 storming of the United States Capitol 2021 storming of the United States Capitol DSC09268-2 (50820738198),” by Tyler Merbler licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic. Hue modified from the original.

Waller, Julian. “Is America’s Democracy Really Backsliding?” RealClearWorld. RealClearWorld, July 28, 2022.


For the last six years, the American public has been subject to regular warnings and ominous projections about the state and health of our democratic political regime. Each election cycle now sees a regular bundle of essays and commentary that proclaim the death of American democracy. Indeed, for some social scientists, policy wonks, and political observers, negative assessments of democracy are front and center in practically all political discussions today.

While concern for a healthy polity is always welcome, especially as the general political legitimacy crisis besetting American society continues to rumble through our society, not all expressions of impending democratic doom are similarly healthy. Indeed, while it is surely good to be aware of real threats to our republic, at this point most of the more sophisticated arguments counseling vigilance have already been aired. Furthermore, in general, their dire predictions have not come to pass. Thus, by 2022, a politically interested reader is more likely to encounter hyperbole and hyperventilation than anything else.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.