151 episodes

The Democracy Works podcast seeks to answer that question by examining a different aspect of democratic life each week — from voting to criminal justice to the free press and everything in between. We interview experts who study democracy, as well as people who are out there doing the hard work of democracy day in and day out.

The show’s name comes from Pennsylvania’s long tradition of iron and steel works — people coming together to build things greater than the sum of their parts. We believe that democracy is the same way. Each of us has a role to play in building and sustaining a healthy democracy and our show is all about helping people understand what that means.

Democracy Works is part of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what’s broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.

Democracy Works Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy/The Democracy Group

    • Government
    • 4.7 • 56 Ratings

The Democracy Works podcast seeks to answer that question by examining a different aspect of democratic life each week — from voting to criminal justice to the free press and everything in between. We interview experts who study democracy, as well as people who are out there doing the hard work of democracy day in and day out.

The show’s name comes from Pennsylvania’s long tradition of iron and steel works — people coming together to build things greater than the sum of their parts. We believe that democracy is the same way. Each of us has a role to play in building and sustaining a healthy democracy and our show is all about helping people understand what that means.

Democracy Works is part of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what’s broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.

    Can corporations be democratic citizens?

    Can corporations be democratic citizens?

    The relationship between capitalism and democracy is complex and never quite settled. We dive into it headfirst this week with a guest who has worked in the corporate world and now trains a new generation of investors and entrepreneurs to think differently about the common good.

    • 29 min
    Is common ground hiding in plain sight?

    Is common ground hiding in plain sight?

    Despite increasing partisan polarization, voters in the 2020 election agreed on ballot initiatives to advance $15 minimum wage in Florida and marijuana legalization in several states. Our guest this week would say this is an example of the hidden common ground that exists among everyday citizens but is obscured by political parties and media pundits.

    • 30 min
    When four threats to democracy collide

    When four threats to democracy collide

    We hear a lot these days about how democracy is under attack, but what does that really mean? Robert Lieberman is the perfect guest to help us unpack that question and discuss what we can do about it.

    • 34 min
    Wynton Marsalis on democracy as jazz and The Ever Fonky Lowdown

    Wynton Marsalis on democracy as jazz and The Ever Fonky Lowdown

    Democracy takes center stage on Wynton Marsalis's latest album, The Ever Fonky Lowdown and his forthcoming work, the Democracy Suite. However, he's been thinking about the connection between jazz and democracy for his entire career. We are thrilled that he took a few minutes to talk with us about it this week. Listen to this episode while you wait in line to vote or for something to take your mind off the election while you're waiting for the results to come in.

    • 36 min
    News deserts are democracy deserts, too

    News deserts are democracy deserts, too

    More than 2,000 local newspapers have closed over the past 20 years, leaving some parts of the country in what's known as a "news desert." This week, we examine what impact that's had on civic engagement and democratic participation — and look at ways people are trying to make local news great again.

    • 42 min
    The Supreme Court's politics and power

    The Supreme Court's politics and power

    The Supreme Court has always been political, despite what recent history may lead us to believe. However, things may feel different now because the Court is more powerful now. Historian Rachel Shelden takes on a trip back to the Civil War era and we discuss the lessons from that era the might apply today.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

mizsimone ,

More than just politics!

The Democracy Works podcast is a great snapshot of our country and how the workings of the government influences each of us as Americans. Jenna Spinelle is always on point bringing thought provoking content to her listeners with every episode.

klavery74 ,

Timely and Authoritative

The Democracy Works podcast adds much needed perspectives to the public discourse. It is both timely and authoritative, lifting up some of the best voices in the field and making them accessible to the general public.

WhitCPA ,

Timely issues, analysis and context

This podcast is incredibly important right now and provides so much insight with thoughtful interviews, expert analysis, and the full context behind each issue. From conversations on gerrymandering, to police reform, to congressional oversight, there are so many engaging episodes here. Give it a listen, you won’t regret it!

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