In the final episode of our four-part U.S. Presidential Election Series, Professor William G. Howell asserts that, with the 2020 election, democracy is at stake. Howell references his latest book, Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy, to outline the causes of this “crisis of democracy” and what needs to be done to combat it. Howell traces the crisis back to decades of political dysfunction leading to a thriving of populist rhetoric and finally the election of Trump, who he calls a populist president. Populism, Howell explains, is a threat to democracy, and he suggests potential institutional reforms that would address this threat and build a more effective government. After opening the conversation to questions from audience members, Howell considers topics such as potential next steps for rebuilding political institutions, the role of technology in our democracy, and the implications of a Supreme Court expansion.
Professor William G. Howell
Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics
Harris School of Public Policy
The University of Chicago