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Democracy Works

135 EpisodesProduced by Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy/The Democracy GroupWebsite

Examining what it means to live in a democracy


A roadmap to a more equitable democracy

COVID-19 has exposed longstanding racial and economic inequalities in American life, which is evident in the fact that communities of color are being hit the hardest by both the medical and the economic impacts of the virus. Our guest this week argues that now is the time to empower those communities to have a stake in building a better future for themselves and making our democracy stronger in the process.

Our guest this week is K. Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos and co-author of the new book Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis. He is also an associate professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and courses on law and inequality. His last book, Democracy Against Domination, won the Dahl Prize for scholarship on the subject of democracy.

Rahman argues that the old ways of thinking about and participating aren’t working for under-represented groups. His book lays out a framework for how to make democracy reform more inclusive and how to balance liberalism and democracy by making institutions more representative of the communities they serve. The book was written before the pandemic hit, but feels even more relevant today.

After the interview, you’ll hear an ad for Future Hindsight, one of our fellow podcasts in The Democracy Group podcast network.  The show’s new season on misinformation and democracy launches Friday, May 15.

Additional Information

Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis


Future Hindsight

The Democracy Group

It’s time for the second annual Democracy Works listener mailbag episode! Send us your question about democracy and we’ll answer it on the show.

Related Episodes

Civic engagement, social distancing, and democracy reform

Doing the hard work of democracy in Baltimore

The ongoing struggle for civil rights

Episode Credits

This episode was recorded on April 16 and May 5, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.

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