Current Run: Season Five

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S5 E8. Missed Opportunity


The Chilean constitution was designed for a neoliberal dystopia under authoritarian military rule, where market fundamentalism reigned. Two years ago it seemed destined for the dustbin of history. A political theorist explains why the effort to replace that document failed so spectacularly. Read more >


All over the world, liberal democracy is getting turned upside-down. Autocratic leaders are using populist appeals, the partisan media and the power of their offices to short-circuit thoughtful deliberation and political consensus. They flout the rule of law, unleash the police on their own people, suppress dissent and attack voting rights. So what can you do about it?

Join hosts Will Hitchcock and Siva Vaidhyanathan — along with leading thinkers from around the world — as they put illiberal trends in context and explore ways to turn them around. New shows drop every other Wednesday.

S5 E7. Unsafe Harbor

Historian Kimberly Gauderman explains how scholars can serve as expert witnesses in asylum cases, shedding light on the sociocultural dynamics driving applicants to escape their countries of origin. Read more >

S5 E6. Hoover’s Ghost

The FBI ran covert surveillance programs in its earlier history against civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. It also went after the KKK and white hate groups. An acclaimed writer assesses the bureau’s mixed past and its ambiguous present. Read more >

S5 E5. Brazilian Nail-Biter

Patrícia Campos Mello has faced online abuse for doing her job — reporting on Brazilian politics under the administration of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. Now Bolsonaro is the underdog in an election the results of which he may not accept. Read more >

S5 E4. We the Entrenched

The biggest roadblock to democratic progress in the United States may be the U.S. Constitution itself. We turn to a political theorist and a constitutional law professor — and ask them what the heck Americans can do about it. Read more >

S5 E3. The Justices Have No Robes

The faith Americans have in the federal bench has hit rock bottom. And that might be a good thing, says NYU constitutional law professor Christopher Sprigman. He says it’s high time to strip the high court of its stranglehold on democracy, one case at a time. Read more >

S5 E2. Closet Civics

Four years ago, ethnographer Emily Van Duyn embedded herself in a group of covert progressives in rural Texas. Does their story tell us what’s wrong with America’s political climate — or what might save it? Read more >

S5 E1. The Good Gamble

Fraught as it is, democracy is still America’s best bet for a good society, says author and legal scholar Jed Purdy. But that means people need to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the messy business of politics: to become framers themselves. Read more >

Archive: Season Four

What can citizens, leaders and activists do to make democracy work better? It’s always a concern of ours, but we paid special attention to this question in our fourth run.

Episodes in the run considered the state of the Fourth Estate, America’s education system, the racist history of the Second Amendment, abortion rights and lots more.

Then there was the war in Ukraine — putting a people and their dreams of self-rule in jeopardy.

Catch up on what you missed.

Archive: Season Three

Myanmar, Ukraine, Haiti, Charlottesville, trouble across the States — check out these shows and more in the three miniseries we dropped in the fall of 2021.

Plus, the anniversary of an insurrection.

Give them a listen.

Archive: Season Two

Russia, Brazil, climate change, the troubled relationship between democracy and capitalism — and much more.

And let’s not forget, an insurrection at the seat of American government.

See what you missed.

Archive: Season One

We were worried.

Really worried.

Relive why. After all, those demons are all still with us.

In the works

This season we’re homing in on the complex relationship among democracy, the law and the people.

Next up: We round out the season with Anand Giridharadas and a conversation about his new book on democracy do-gooders. Stay tuned!

Find us on Twitter or email

Our show is a project of UVA’s Karsh Institute of Democrcy. It’s produced with support from the UVA College of Arts and Sciences and syndicated in coordination with WTJU’s Virginia Audio Collective. We’re also a member of The Democracy Group, a podcast network that exposes the growing fissures in America’s democracy and equips concerned citizens with the tools to do something about it.

Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your audio.

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Democracy in Danger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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