Democracy in Question: Tom Carothers on American Democracy in Freefall

The latest episode of the Democracy in Question podcast, hosted by Central European University (CEU) President and Rector, Shalini Randeria, features Thomas Carothers who is Harvey Feinberg Chair for Democracy Studies and Co-director of the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

Trained as a lawyer, he served in the office of the legal advisor of the U.S. State Department before joining Carnegie. He's an expert on democracy and international support for democracy promotion abroad for human rights, governance, the rule of law, and civil society. Tom has published several critically acclaimed books, including "Funding Virtue" with the subtitle, "Civil Society and Democracy Promotion," "Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad," and most recently "Democracies Divided" with the subtitle, "The Global Challenge of Political Polarization."

In this episode "Democratic Backsliding in a Comparative Perspective" published January 18, Shalini and her guest discuss the causes and consequences of democratic decline worldwide over the course of the last two decades. Has democracy in the United States recently drifted more towards democratic backsliding or did the results of the 2022 midterm elections inspire hope in the reversibility of democratic degeneration in the United States? What effect does this trend have on the stability of the international order, on the future of liberal democracy more largely, and not least, on the promotion of democracy abroad? How do we classify different types of democratic backsliding and are there institutional and organizational responses to these? Why have cultural issues become the symbolic battleground today for so many opponents of liberal democracy?

For each episode of Democracy in Question, Randeria invites a leading scholar or public figure to explore the challenges and dilemmas facing democracies around the world. Listen to the trailer and subscribe here.

Series six of Democracy in Question is produced in partnership with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (AHCD) where Randeria is a Senior Fellow. ACHD and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna co-produced seasons one and two of the podcast.