Alabama’s Senate runoff election mirrors the national struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party

Thanks to a traditionalistic political culture and modern-day culture wars, public humiliation and scandal have plagued all three branches of Alabama government in the last year. In July 2016, former House Speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for felony ethics violations for soliciting money […] Read more »

New Jersey Democrats: Growing certainty at the ballot box, but not in the courtroom

Ever since comfortably winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in June, former Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy has seemed like a towering favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. Chris Christie (R) as New Jersey’s next governor. … More interesting than this gubernatorial race, though, is the ongoing trial of Sen. Robert Menendez […] Read more »

U.S. Scores Biggest Fall in World Peace Study, Asia Advances

The U.S. declined the most in an annual study of global peace that cites political turbulence, deteriorating press freedom, a public perception of increasing crime and corruption, and less acceptance of Muslims and other minorities. The U.S. dropped 11 places to the 114th most-peaceful country out of 161 in the index […] Read more »

Bright Line Watch Survey Report: How is U.S. democracy doing?

From May 11-20, 2017, Bright Line Watch conducted its second expert survey of political scientists assessing the state of democracy in the United States. BLW’s first survey (Wave 1) was conducted at the outset of the Trump administration in February 2017. This report presents results from the second survey (Wave […] Read more »

Why populism is a threat to electoral integrity

Since the earthquake of Brexit in June last year, and Trump’s victory four months later, the news has been dominated by stories about populism, including whether European elections suggest that populist support is either rising or stalled. The media has also been fascinated simultaneously by problems of electoral integrity. This […] Read more »

How conspiracy theories helped power Trump’s disruptive politics

We watched over the past year as a wave of conspiracy theories infected our national discourse. … Trump’s use of conspiracy theory politics proved to be a particularly ingenious form of populism. By focusing his populist appeals on conspiracy rhetoric — rather than substantive policy — Trump galvanized the broad […] Read more »

Results from the Bright Line Watch U.S. Democracy Survey

BLW conducted its first U.S. Democracy Survey from February 13-19, 2017. We invited 9,820 political science faculty at 511 U.S. institutions to participate and received 1,571 responses (a response rate of 16 percent). … The survey had two broad goals. The first was to learn what qualities our respondents regard […] Read more »

Are voters likely to accept the presidential election results?

The Trump campaign has raised the possibility that the 2016 election may be rigged, and concerns about voter fraud resonate with some registered voters. Twenty-three percent of voters think widespread voter fraud happens a lot, and another 32 percent think it happens sometimes. Trump voters are far more likely to […] Read more »