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Sunday Special: Three-Hour Conversation Delves into Democracy in America

Join NHPR on Sunday, November 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special pre-Thanksgiving special discussing the state of our democracy and what’s ahead in the year leading up to the next U.S. presidential election.

From WNYC, “America Are We Ready? Democracy and the Year Ahead” is a three-hour call-in special hosted by Brian Lehrer. Each hour will look at a different aspect of democracy: what’s working and what’s broken, as well as what institutions and parts of our culture are under threat. Throughout, the question of ‘what’s missing in American democracy?’ will be posed.

Program highlights:      

Hour One: Impeaching

The first hour will delve into the role of the presidency in American politics. How is the impeachment process now underway – as well as the presidential campaign – impacting our current political system?


  • Mary Frances Berry, professional of constitutional, legal and African American history at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jeffrey Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas

Hour Two: Including

The second hour explores why many Americans feel removed from the political process – left behind by the people in power who are making the decisions that impact them. The fundamental and historical tension between majority rule and protection from the tyranny of majority is explored.  


  • Kai Wright, host of WNYC’s The Stakes, a podcast about social change
  • Sarah Smarsh, a Kansas-based journalist known for chronicling the stories of the working poor

Hour Three: Electing

The 2016 election exposed vulnerabilities and controversies in our voting system, not to mention the rise of fake social media news and questions of foreign interference. The third hour looks at what has changed for the pending 2020 election and asks how can our system of electoral democracy be as democratic and fair as possible?


  • Carol Anderson, professor of American American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta
  • Larry Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University

*Guests are subject to change 

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