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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.

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

Future Contributors

  • Kamila Alexander, Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing
  • Allison Barlow, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
  • Ashley Rogers Berner, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute for Education Policy at the School of Education
  • James Calvin, Professor of Practice at the Carey Business School
  • Ronald J. Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University
  • Lisel Hintz, Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies
  • Adam Levine, SNF Agora Institute Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Kathleen Page, Associate Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine
  • Josh Sharfstein, Professor of the Practice and Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Adam Sheingate, Professor and chair of Political Science at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Du Yun, Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute
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.