Negotiamini Media
Truth is Powerful

Understanding Democracy’s Frailties


With challenges to democratic institutions, political science students are rethinking what they believe about how politics work

Before Donald Trump’s surprise election in 2016, students in Ian MacMullen’s politics classes listened with a collective shrug when he talked about forms of government other than democracy.

No longer. Students are showing increasing interest in reforms that can improve democracy. Deondra Rose and others are helping to guide them. Faculty who teach about politics and public policy say four years of a chaotic, unorthodox presidency has exposed democracy’s fragility. Free speech, the Constitution, trust in government leaders, etc. all took a sucker punch under Trump.

But in classrooms that challenge undergraduates to think critically about democracy, faculty say a greater awareness of its frailty is not motivating students to abandon democracy.

Instead, students now have a heightened desire to make their government work more equitably.

“After four years of Trump and other challenges to democracy across the world, students are more interested in, and have a rather different perspective on, arguments about the nature and virtues/vices of democracy,” says MacMullen, an associate professor of the practice of political science.Bogus challenges to the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building and […]

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