The Crisis Of American Democracy

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01Unregistered20200731Ben Wright examines how American electoral democracy has become increasingly partisan, and how the fight for voting rights will affect the 2020 election. From issues about access to the ballot and the shape of the political map to fundamental questions dating back to the founding of the Republic, America's electoral democracy is under greater strain than at any point since the Civil Rights movement.

In this new series Ben will examine these questions, and ask what they mean for American democracy. In this first programme he'll look at how access to the ballot has become a political fight, with Democrats demanding that voting be made easier while Republicans insist it must be made more secure. He'll ask whether a constitutional amendment passed in Florida in 2018 could determine the result of the presidential election. And he'll hear how each party is gearing up for a legal battle in November, with loudly-voiced concerns from the White House about voter fraud balanced by equally loudly-voiced concerns on the other side about 'voter suppression'.

Producer: Giles Edwards

Ben Wright investigates how the fight for voting rights will affect the 2020 election.

Ben Wright assesses the health of America's increasingly partisan electoral democracy.

02Unequal20200807Ben Wright investigates how partisan maps are affecting American democracy.

In the second part of his series assessing the health of America's electoral democracy ahead of the 2020 elections, Ben examines concerns that in many states politicians are choosing their voters, rather than the other way around. As he discovers more about the damage caused by so-called 'gerrymandering' in North Carolina and Wisconsin, Ben learns a whole new lexicon, one filled with 'packing', 'cracking' and 'stacking'. And as he speaks to voters, activists and politicians from both sides of the political aisle and none, he'll hear how voters in some states are fighting back against politicians who want to embed themselves in power.

Producer: Giles Edwards

Ben Wright assesses the health of America's increasingly partisan electoral democracy.

03Unrepresented20200814In the final part of his examination of American electoral democracy, Ben Wright asks whether some of its long-cherished structures need refreshing.

From the electoral college, which determines who wins the presidency, to the US Senate and citizenship in America's capital city, some of the structures put in place at America's birth look distinctly out of keeping with the modern democratic age. And as Ben concludes his series asking whether America's electoral democracy is still fit for purpose, he'll look again at all three.

Republican presidential candidates have won three of the last five elections despite only winning the popular vote once in those twenty years. The 29 million residents of Texas are represented by just two United States Senators, no more than the 623,000 residents of Vermont. Meanwhile over 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia still cannot elect members of Congress.

As Ben looks at these issues through the lens of this series, exploring how so many questions of fairness and democracy have become so partisan, he asks whether there might be a way forward out of the crisis of American democracy.

Producer: Giles Edwards

Ben Wright asks whether American electoral democracy needs refreshing.

Ben Wright assesses the health of America's increasingly partisan electoral democracy.