“Is the American Experiment Still Viable?” — a Hill to Hill event — is a series of six virtual alumni panel discussions sponsored by the Center for the Study of American Democracy in conjunction with the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement. 

“Six months from now, will we be looking back and saying 2020 was a completely ordinary election? Or will we be thinking there was something about 2020 that was fully extraordinary?”

David Rowe, former director of the Center for the Study of American Democracy

Watch the Panels

Panel 1: Left, Right, Center

The initial panel explored how negative partisanship, polarization and lack of trust in government are shaping the political landscape and their implications for the future.

Panel 2: Race, Identity and Contesting the “Real” America

This panel considered how racial injustice, grievance and identity are being mobilized across the political spectrum and the implications of these developments for redressing pressing social needs and building a sense of American identity and common purpose.

Panel 3: Law, Order, Justice and Democracy

This panel explored the myriad challenges to the rule of law in the United States — from racial bias in everyday policing and criminal justice, to the perceived politicization of federal law enforcement and the judiciary, to the breakdown of Constitutional checks and balances — and how they threaten democratic legitimacy.

Panel 4: America in the World

This panel explored the global context of the United States at this particular moment and the implications of the political choices we face, covering topics ranging from the future of a liberal world order and the return of great power competition, to how and why hostile foreign states seek to corrupt our democratic process, to how to effectively manage transnational problems such as the global pandemic.

Panel 5: Information, Misinformation, Disinformation

This panel considered the role of the media in the 2020 election and developments such as how the collapse of the news cycle, the rise of social media, the fragmentation of audiences into self-selected partisan silos, and the delegitimization of the press as an independent and nonpartisan source of information hamper the ability of the press to operate as a check on political power and sustain a broad-based and civic dialogue about our common future.

Panel 6: America Voted. What's Next?

Panelists explored what the election means for American democracy, and the challenges we are likely to confront in both the near and longer term.

Panel 7: A Non-Peaceful Transition

Panelists explored the implications of efforts to overturn the presidential election — including the violent storming of the Capitol to prevent Congress from naming the president-elect — and what these may mean for the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law and the future of American democracy.