The ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF DEMOCRACY aims not just to promote, but to understand, democracy. Global in its outlook, multifaceted in its purposes, the Mitchell Center seeks to contribute to the ongoing quest for democratic values, ideas, and institutions throughout the world. In THE ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER PODCAST, we interview scholars, journalists, and public thinkers grappling with the challenges facing our democracy. Many of the episodes are linked to our other programming, such as our 2018-19 "Democracy in Trouble?" series, our 2019-20 "Reverberations of Inequality" series, and our ongoing "Capitalism / Socialism / Democracy." Other episodes are one-off interviews with scholars associated with the Mitchell Center -- or with thinkers whose work is central to our effort to understand democracy in all of its complexity.
Bad Populism, Good Populism
Nationalist populist movements, fueled by resentment against ruling elites, typically attack the norms and procedures of liberal democracy, viewing them as rigged, corrupted, or under the control of nefarious minorities. Distinguished political scientist ROGERS SMITH cautions that followers of these movements should not be dismissed as irredeemably authoritarian, arguing that progressives and liberals can create narratives that are equally compelling to those of right-wing populists.
Bulwark of the Opulent Minority: Can the Senate Ever Be Democratic?
As the Democratic Party seeks to regain the Presidency and retain the House of Representatives in November, it well recognizes that the chief stumbling block to consolidating government control is the U.S. Senate. Wharton Guardsmark Professor ERIC ORTS argues that this short-term predicament is due, in no small part, to the many ways that the Senate was designed from the start to thwart small-d democracy. Orts outlines ways to reform the Senate both in terms of electoral fairness and effective governance
Restoring a Rules-Based World: A Conversation with Gen. Wesley Clark
Amid our current partisan rancor, Retired Army General WESLEY CLARK has chosen to focus instead on the common ground among Americans that could provide the basis for productive policymaking. He likewise makes the case for strengthening rules-based international institutions as a means for preventing chaos and war. He criticizes attacks by the Trump administration on these institutions as short-sighted – and a boost to longstanding efforts by Russia and China to undermine American power.
Roy Cohn: His Life, Misdeeds, and Inescapable Legacy
Documentarian IVY MEEROPOL describes stories she had to cut from her 2019 film, "Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn," for lack of definitive proof, including a quickly buried investigation in the 1980s into Cohn’s involvement in the Jeffrey-Epstein style trafficking of minors. Cohn prosecuted Meeropol's grandmother, Ethel Rosenberg, framing her and then urging her execution. He subsequently played a prominent role in McCarthyism, Republican power politics, and the rise of Donald Trump.
After Bern: Activist Winnie Wong on the Future of a Movement
Bernie Sanders has twice failed to win the nomination for President, but in the process has transformed the policies and politics of the Democratic party. WINNIE WONG, a founding organizer of Occupy Wall Street, a co-founder of People for Bernie 2016, and a senior adviser to the Sanders 2020 campaign, urges that these transformations should be pushed further, even as the nomination has been clinched by a moderate.
The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex
American Jewish philanthropy has long been celebrated for its virtues, extending from the local to the global, the Jewish to the non-Jewish, and modest donations to vast endowments. In her discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, LILA CORWIN BERMAN argues that the history of American Jewish philanthropy reveals a complicated reality of changing and uneasy relationships among philanthropy, democracy, and capitalism.