Is American democracy in danger? How US politics turned tribal and what it means for the future

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Blavatnik School of Government and Zoom
Open to the public
This event is free - register below to attend
24
May 2022
Discussion

The American republic teeters on the edge of authoritarianism. One party (and there are only two) embraces nativism, flirts with white supremacy, blinks away mass killings, won’t accept the results of the last election, and is frenetically changing the election rules to ensure it does not lose again. But here’s the unexpected twist: almost none of this is new. Coups, racial violence nativist lynching changing the rules, stealing elections and dragging God into politics are all longstanding themes in US politics. 

James Morone puts the current state of US politics into historical perspective and shows what’s new and what is not. He explains how old patterns have taken on new forms, suggests what other nations might learn from American agonies, and reflects on the prospects for democracy in the years ahead. 

This event will be moderated by Karthik Ramanna and will also be live-streamed on our YouTube channel.

About the speakers

James moroneJames Morone grew up in Rio de Janeiro and New York City. He holds the John Hazen White Chair of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Studies at Brown University and has been on the faculty at the University of Chicago, Yale University, and the University of Bremen. He has published 12 books and 200 essays on topics ranging from the politics of sin in American history, to comparative health policy, to the lessons of Harry Potter.  He is co-director of the Stone Center for the study of Inequality. 

His first book, The Democratic Wish, was named a “notable book of the year” by The New York Times and won the American Political Science Association’s Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the best book on US national policy. Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and named a top book of the year by numerous newspapers and magazines-- including both Christianity Today (the largest circulation evangelical journal) and Playboy magazine (which featured the book in an interview). The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office (co-authored with David Blumenthal, MD) was on the cover of The New York Times Book Review and, according to unreliable sources, President Obama was seen reading the book at Camp David. His latest book is The Republic of Wrath: How American Politics Turned Tribal from George Washington to Donald Trump.

Morone has testified before Congress eight times, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Engineering, and Medicine, has been on the editorial boards of thirteen journals (chairing two), and has been a regular contributor to publications like The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Washington Post as well as commenting frequently on television and radio. He was voted teacher of the year five times by the senior class at Brown University. 

Karthik RamannaKarthik Ramanna is Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. An expert on business-government relations, sustainable capitalism, and corporate reporting and auditing, Professor Ramanna has studied how organisations build trust with stakeholders and the role of business in designing sensible and responsible “rules of the game”. He has authored dozens of research articles and case studies on non-market strategies in Africa, China, the EU, India, and the US, and he has consulted with several leading business organisations worldwide, including Fidelity, KPMG, McKinsey, PwC, Sonae, and State Street. His scholarship has won numerous awards, including the Journal of Accounting & Economics Best Paper Prize and twice the international Case Centre’s Outstanding Case-Writer prize, dubbed by the Financial Times “the business school Oscars.”

Professor Ramanna is director of Oxford’s Master of Public Policy programme, a flagship one-year degree for current and prospective leaders in government. He is faculty chair of the Transformational Leadership Fellowship, a bespoke, by-invitation, part-time programme for senior corporate executives considering a second career that can bring their strengths to address broader societal challenges. He also directs the Case Centre on Public Leadership at the Blavatnik School, and he is fellow and member of the finance and investment committees at St John’s College.

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