This website provides a forum for political scientists to evaluate threats to American democracy. Our goal is to present non-ideological, expert perspectives on current events, informed by how democracy has eroded in similar countries.
A wave of stories and essays have raised the alarm about threats to American democracy. How real is this threat? After all, no democracy nearly as wealthy or durable as the U.S. has ever broken down. Are these warnings a partisan reaction to the 2016 election or an appropriate note of caution?
Our project has two main parts. The first is a daily survey of democracy experts evaluating to what degree American political leaders are endangering critical facets of democracy. The second component is a blog and Twitter account reacting to specific recent events, focusing on political leaders' actions and statements. The goal is not to evaluate the merits of policies or political strategies. Rather, we aim to answer the following questions:
Does this event meaningfully threaten the quality or survival of American democracy and why?
Is this outside the norm for American politics?
Does this fit the pattern of other cases of democratic erosion in recent history?
Our goal is to be vigilant without being alarmist. The only true safeguard of any democracy lies in the willingness of its citizens to identify and oppose non-democratic actions by the powerful. We aim to provide a credible warning if and when this happens.
Contact us at with any questions. For more background, read our welcome blog post here.
Michael K. Miller, George Washington University
Michael K. Miller is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at GW. His research focuses on democratization, democratic survival, and elections in autocracies.
David Szakonyi, George Washington University
David Szakonyi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at GW and a Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. His research is devoted to understanding how elites translate economic power into political influence, with a focus on Russia and the former Soviet Union.
All contributors' views are their own opinions and do not represent the views of other participants, Authoritarian Warning Survey as a whole, or any groups or organizations the contributors are affiliated with. This website is for educational purposes only. This website claims no credit for images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. All such images are copyright to their respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this site that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please e-mail with a link to or description of said image and it will be promptly removed.