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The Democracy Project

Johns Hopkins scholars examine the past, present, and future of American democracy, looking for clear signs of peril, threads of hope, and perhaps a shared vision for a better, more inclusive republic

The future of democracy as a system of government is increasingly uncertain. With a rise of populist forces globally and many existing democracies in regression, liberty itself seems under assault. In the United States, a diminished or warped democracy could have far-reaching repercussions for voting rights, the rule of law, education, the application of science, immigration, citizenship, and long-held societal norms we take for granted.

As we near an election in which many of the defining principles of democracy seem to hang in the balance—an array of Johns Hopkins experts will share their greatest hopes, their deepest fears, and their informed insights on the state of America’s democratic experiment.

Disability and the democratic process
Published Jan 4, 2021
The 2020 election highlighted the ways the disability community is excluded from both the right to vote and access to voting
A democracy for all
Published Nov 19, 2020
Democracy is a system of government for the whole population. Freedom from violence—physical or psychological—is fundamental to that promise.
Democracy and the university in the age of COVID-19
Published Nov 11, 2020
Universities, which are committed to free inquiry and the peaceful contestation of ideas, are indispensable to liberal democracy. At a time when liberal democracy is itself increasingly fragile, we need them more than ever.
Let's rebuild, together
Published Nov 3, 2020
Composer and activist Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai and currently based in New York, urges unity after the election
We must find the socialized strangers
Published Nov 3, 2020
Adam Seth Levine, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute associate professor of health policy and management, discusses why overcoming our differences is so critical to self-governance
Value the vote
Published Nov 2, 2020
A childhood spent under a military dictatorship in Argentina and a tenuous democracy in Bolivia instilled in Kathleen Page an appreciation for the importance of having your voice heard
An informed citizenry
Published Oct 30, 2020
We must do more to foster in young people the skills, knowledge, and tolerance they need to be better citizens, writes School of Education expert Ashley Rogers Berner
The authoritarian playbook
Published Oct 30, 2020
Lisel Hintz, who has studied the rise of populism, de-democratization, and authoritarianism in Turkey, sees troubling signs that the U.S. is on a similar path
We must ensure a free, fair, peaceful election
Published Oct 27, 2020
Political scientist Adam Sheingate decries threat of organized violence at the polls: 'This election, we stand on the edge of a precipice'
Investing in public health
Published Oct 26, 2020
America must invest in public health infrastructure rather than private interests if democracy is to be preserved, says physician and health policy expert Joshua Sharfstein
Reawakening our Indigenous roots
Published Oct 23, 2020
U.S. leaders must recommit to the principles of Indigenous leadership to strengthen our democracy, says Allison Barlow, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
A crisis of confidence
Published Oct 20, 2020
Politicization of intelligence and U.S. institutions upsets the foundation of democracy, says former CIA acting director John McLaughlin
Serving the greater good
Published Oct 15, 2020
Paula Thornhill, associate director of the Strategic Studies program at Johns Hopkins SAIS and a former officer in the U.S. Air Force, sees troubling signs of politicization of the military
Election security
Safeguard the vote
Published Oct 12, 2020
Avi Rubin, an expert in computer and election security, warns of clear and immediate threats to the integrity of our voting systems
Historical perspective
We've been here before
Published Oct 7, 2020
In 'Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy,' Robert C. Lieberman and his co-author examine five moments in history when democracy in the U.S. was under siege. None has tested our system of government quite like the current one.
Social change
In youth we trust
Published Oct 6, 2020
Hahrie Han, inaugural director of the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins who specializes in the study of civic and political participation, collective action, and organizing, writes about her greatest hope for democracy

Photography by Will Kirk | Illustration by Melinda Beck

Hopkins Votes

Johns Hopkins University takes seriously its obligation to cultivate active and engaged citizens. Hopkins Votes provides resources and guidance to help JHU students and employees participate in the democratic process.