The Democracy Test: 'Checks and Balances'

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Political columnist E.J. Dionne
E.J. Dionne is a political columnist for the Washington Post and regular commentator on NPR.
Courtesy of the Washington Post

The Democracy Test, episode 5 "Checks and Balances."

The path from monarchy to democracy relied on a vision of government based on the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, and the rule of law. From hyper partisanship to corruption to executive overreach, much of what the framers hoped to avoid has come to pass, and yet democracy survived.

From Watergate to today, what drives the tipping point between democratic resilience and decay? When government is broken, who needs to fix it?

Political scientist Julia Azari points out the limits of the good old days in Congress. "Back when people just went out and had a drink together. They had friendships across the aisle, but those friendships were pretty much among white men."

Co-hosts are Neal Conan and Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson.


Julia Azari, assistant professor of political science at Marquette University.

E. J. Dionne, Brookings Institution, Washington Post columnist and NPR commentator. Author, "Why Americans Hate Politics."

Beverly Gage, author of the forthcoming "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century."

"The Democracy Test" is a 6-part series distributed by APM, American Public Media.