Making Democracies Live

Outline how to save the United States’ struggling democracy.

Task Force: Making Democracies Live

Congratulations!

The authors of How Democracies Die, Levitsky and Ziblatt, have recruited you to help come up with ideas for their next book on solutions for dying democracies. Specifically, you will be tasked with beginning an outline on how to save the United States’ struggling democracy. 

Why Are We Doing This?

How Democracies Die is a book, “…about how elected leaders can gradually subvert the democratic process to increase their power” written by Harvard University political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Ukraine, Iran, and Thailand are some countries considered to be “struggling democracies,” but others suggest that the United States should fall under the category as well. Here, we ask you to agree with the claim that the United States is a struggling democracy and help create an outline for a book on how to save it.

Steps:

  1. Before you begin, research some reasons people argue that the United States is a struggling democracy. 
  2. Then, try to create an outline for the first 3-5 chapters of a book on saving the nation’s struggling democracy. 
    1. What are some ways in which the United States is considered a struggling democracy? 
    2. What are some potential solutions to save the nation’s struggling democracy?
    3. What similarities/differences does the United States have with countries such as Thailand and Iran which are defined as struggling democracies?
    4. What similarities/differences does the United States have with countries that are considered the best democracies such as Norway and Iceland?
    5. In 1-2 sentences, explain what the first, second, and third chapter of the book will be about and try to come up with titles for them.
  3. Think through the possible objections about your outline and ideas that someone might have. 
    1. How might someone argue against the idea that the United States is a struggling democracy? How do you plan to address those arguments?
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your outline and ideas best address solutions for the nation’s struggling democracy.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of features for the book. Focus on a few that you feel most confident defending.
  • Brainstorm ideas that could be realistically implemented.
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