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In New Book, Scholars Assess “How to Save a Constitutional Democracy”

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Anti-government demonstrators hold a poster that reads in Spanish “Democracy” during a protest against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Opposition members called a demonstration to protest the seating of a special assembly to rewrite the constitution. Observers will be closely watching the turnout as the arrest of several mayors and the opposition’s decision to compete in regional elections despite concerns the election for the constitutional assembly was marred by fraud.

Ariana Cubillos

The fundamentals of Western-style Democracy are under threat across the globe. In the U.S., the electoral system is distorted by gerrymandering, campaign finance issues, and voter suppression. President Donald Trump, and other populist politicians, have repeatedly threatened and attacked U.S. institutions like the courts, the press, and civil service. These attacks are supported by right-wing media, pundits, and citizens. Democratic countries, including Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, Turkey, and Venezuela, have seen their democracies deteriorate at the hands of populist leaders and movements. To discuss, we’re joined by constitutional scholars, Tom Ginsberg and Aziz Huq. They’ve assessed what can be done to preserve the system of checks and balances in their new book, How to Save A Constitutional Democracy. Ginsburg is professor of political science and international law at the University of Chicago, and Huq is a professor of law at the University of Chicago.

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