Democracy in Danger

Saving the rule of the people — one episode at a time.

Democracy in Danger

Season Three

We took a new tack in the fall of 2021 and produced a series of series on some key issues. We began with the chaotic U.S. pullout from Afghanistan and considered the implications of that “forever war” for American democracy, as well as its resonances across time. Then we took listeners on a tour of some fine states: Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Florida — each with its own hopes and fears. Finally, we visited some democratic hot spots all over the world, starting with our hometown — Charlottesville, Va. — at the start of the trial of the Neo-Nazis who brought mayem and murder to its streets in 2017.

And, of course, we looked back at the attack on the U.S. Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021, in a special episode marking that unpleasant anniversary.

When you’ve caught up on everything you might have missed, stop by our current run and subscribe to the show. New episodes drop every Wednesday.


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.

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