1,048 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 • 60 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.

    Conspiracism finds a home on the intellectual right

    Conspiracism finds a home on the intellectual right

    We examine what happens when "conspiracies without the theory" enter scholarly spaces, and why such thinking is particularly damaging to democracy.

    • 29 min
    The Federalist Society's ideas have consequences for democracy

    The Federalist Society's ideas have consequences for democracy

    The Federalist Society began as a way for libertarian and conservative intellectuals to share and advance legal and policy ideas. Over the past 40 years, our guest this week argued that they've "bottled lightning" and transformed into something that's altered the very fabric of American democracy.

    • 44 min
    Colored Conventions show us where democracy really happens

    Colored Conventions show us where democracy really happens

    We explore how the Colored Conventions Movement fostered democratic deliberation and collective action, and the movement's connections to Black Live Matter and ongoing struggles for racial justice.

    • 41 min
    Can pranksters save democracy?

    Can pranksters save democracy?

    At a time when democracy is in retreat around the world, it can be difficult to find the motivation to keep movements going. Our guests this week offer a framework for effective nonviolent organizing by trapping authority figures between a rock and a hard place.

    • 30 min
    Public schools, not government schools

    Public schools, not government schools

    Our guest this week argues that, much like democracy itself, public education is an ideal that we've never quite lived up to. We discuss the constitutional right to education and how it's ebbed and flowed over the years, following many of the same trends as support for and access to other democratic institutions.

    • 43 min
    Reforming criminal justice from the inside out

    Reforming criminal justice from the inside out

    Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner joins us to discuss the promise and peril of institutional reform and how he built a coalition of voters who are traditionally overlooked in politics.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
60 Ratings

60 Ratings

justin kempf ,

Leader in Podcasts on Democracy

Jenna has been a large help for my own podcast, Democracy Paradox. Her leadership of the Democracy Group has influenced many democracy podcasts. Eternal thanks to her contours work!

MimiWuj ,

Deep Analysis; Better Than Anything on Mainstream

I appreciate this group’s analysis, as it seeks to understand our political culture dispassionately and not to fan the outrage we see in shoddy and “clickbait” journalism.

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.

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