“Our country is now as close to crossing the line from democracy to autocracy as it has been in our lifetimes.” — E. J. Dionne, Jr.
It is the public debate of the moment: is Donald Trump precipitating a crisis of American democracy? For some the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Trump’s disregard for the institutions and political norms of U.S. democracy is imperiling the Republic. The sooner his presidency collapses the sooner the healing can begin and the ship of state righted. For others Trump is not the villain in this drama. Rather, his young presidency is the conduit, not the cause, of Americans’ deep-seated anger towards a privileged and self-dealing Washington elite. Trump’s disruption of politics as usual is what America needs to start the process of restoring democracy by the people, for the people.
The twenty-first semi-annual Munk Debate, held on October 12th, 2017, pits award-winning journalist E. J. Dionne, Jr. and influential author and blogger Andrew Sullivan against former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and bestselling author and editor Kimberley Strassel to debate the current crisis of American democracy.
E. J. DIONNE, JR. is an award-winning journalist and political commentator who appears regularly on MSNBC, NPR’s All Things Considered, and ABC News’ This Week. He is currently a William F. Bloomberg Visiting Professor at Harvard University, with a joint appointment at the Harvard Divinity School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dionne is also a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.
ANDREW SULLIVAN is an influential author, editor, and blogger, and a popular source of provocative and astute political and social commentary. He has written extensively on a wide range of topics, including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, civil liberties, the legalization of marijuana, human rights, and the future of media. A practicing Catholic, Sullivan has challenged the Church’s position on gay life in his books and television appearances on shows such as Real Time with Bill Maher. He is currently a contributing editor at New York magazine.
NEWT GINGRICH is a former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, New York Times bestselling author, and TIME magazine Man of the Year. Called “the indispensable leader” by the Washington Times, he was the architect of the Contract with America, which saw the Republican Party capture a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. Currently, Gingrich is a Fox News contributor, a senior advisor at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, and a senior scientist at analytics and advice firm Gallup.
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL is an author, journalist, and member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, where she writes editorials and the influential Potomac Watch political column. Strassel is the author of the national bestseller The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, and appears regularly on a range of political television programs, including Fox News Sunday, CBS’s Face the Nation, and NBC’s Meet the Press.
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