Current Run: Season Three

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.

Our show is a project of UVA’s Deliberative Media Lab. It’s produced with support from the UVA Democracy Initiative and the 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 cracks and 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.


Special Episode

Insurrection Reflection


A year ago this week, a pro-Trump mob invaded the Capitol in Washington and tried to stop lawmakers from certifying the 2020 election. Now their enablers in Congress and in the media have painted them as patriots and victims. Read more >

S3 E13. Hot Spots, Part IV – Eastern Europe

Russia has packed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, in a long-brewing conflict between the former Soviet superpower and its vulnerable neighbor. And across the region, freedom hangs in the balance, as Western powers mull over what leverage they still have. Read more >

S3 E12. Hot Spots, Part III – Myanmar

After a brief flirtation with quasi-democratic rule, Myanmar is back under the grip of its military. One official of the Burmese National League for Democracy tells of his narrow escape and of his hopes for the future. Read more >

S3 E11. Hot Spots, Part II – Cuba

Historian Ada Ferrer offers up a sobering view of Cuba’s past, and its tortured relationship with the United States. Plus: a less than sanguine prognosis on the chance for participatory democracy in the island’s future. She joins guest-host David Nemer and our producer, Robert Armengol. Read more >

S3 E10. Hot Spots, Part I – #Charlottesville

Listen to an edited version of the live show we taped this month with two media experts, all about the trial in our hometown against leaders of the white power movement. Read more >

S3 E9. Some Fine States, Part V – The Wrap

Virginia just turned sharply to the right. How did multimillionaire Glenn Youngkin prevail in the governor’s race, and what will his victory mean for the future of the commonwealth — and democracy in America? Will and Siva get together to sort things out. Read more >

S3 E8. Some Fine States, Part IV – Florida

We have an uplifting story for you this time: the story of how more than a million voters were re-enfranchised in Florida, from the man whose group was instrumental in making it happen. Plus, we talk shifting demographics with Sunshine State analyst Susan MacManus. Read more >

S3 E7. Some Fine States, Part III – Colorado

Republican Tina Peters, a county clerk in Colorado, says she secreted data from voting machines to search for fraud in Donald Trump’s presidential defeat. Now she’s under investigation. We check in on this bizarre tale and more, with Emma Brown of the Washington Post. Read more >

S3 E6. Some Fine States, Part II – Virginia

A new bipartisan redistricting commission has broken down in the Old Dominion, and is on the verge of throwing a key function of democracy to the commonwealth’s Supreme Court. A former delegate and an advocate who championed redistricting reform join Will to talk Virginia politics. Read more >

S3 E5. Some Fine States, Part I – Texas

It’s a grad-school reunion this time for Siva and guest-host Allison Wright, as they speak with two pals who are Texas historians about what the heck is going on in the Lone State. Plus, we hear from a teacher in Dallas about some controversial education reforms. Read more >

S3 E4. Red Pill, Part IV – Drones of Combat

The U.S. occupation in Afghanistan may be over, but every indication is that America will continue to launch targeted strikes on security threats around the world. This time, Yale historian and legal scholar Samuel Moyn makes a plea for leaders to think about how to make peace before using force. Read more >

S3 E3. Red Pill, Part III – Haiti, Interrupted

The Haitian Revolution once held out the promise of radical democracy. But internal strife and global oppression has thwarted its fulfillment for two centuries and counting. Three UVA scholars walk Will and Siva through that complex history, and the current unrest in Haiti. Read more >

S3 E2. Red Pill, Part II – Blind Ambitions

In the wake of Vietnam, the United States pared its global aspirations — and often fell short on humanitarian values. Then came two disastrous national-building efforts. In Part II of our post-Afghanistan reality-check, our guests consider how America might get off this seesaw. Read more >

S3 E1. Red Pill, Part I – The Terrible War

A native New Yorker, Spencer Ackerman watched with horror as the Twin Towers fell in September 2001. At first, he fed on the popular rhetoric of vengeance and unity in the war on terror. Then he became a journalist and covered the conflicts that came — and decided he had swallowed a fantasy pill. Read more >

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

We took a new approach this season — with three sets of miniseries around big topics. We began with Red Pill and Some Fine States, then took a tour of democractic danger zones all over the world — starting in our hometown. Check back soon for a sneak preview of Season Four. We’ll start dropping new shows in February.

Want to suggest a topic for a future episode or tell us what you think of the show? Find us on Twitter or email

Creative Commons License

Democracy in Danger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This license covers all audio available on these pages or directly from our RSS feed.


Submitted by Betty McCurdy (not verified) on

Robert Armengol was amazing. I would like to listen to him as cohost in other episodes in the future.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use [accordion] and [/accordion] with <h3> header tags to create a jQuery UI Accordian widget. Using [accordion collapsed] will start with the accordion closed.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <img> <strong> <embed> <object> <param> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <br> <br /> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <blockquote> <hr> <hr /> <p> <span> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <th> <label> <select> <option> <iframe> <div> <strike> <caption> <area> <map> <sub> <sup><i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.