The USA is the world's oldest working democracy. But two and a half centuries in, it is not the same democracy envisioned by its founding fathers. The challenges and developments of the 21st century, especially, have wrought wrenching changes. Political power remains in the hands of the people, but there is a camp that feels a deep dissatisfaction, a cultural decline and an economic indignation. It has set out on an anti-liberal, anti-intellectual path - conspiracy theories abound. A part of the electorate is in denial about climate change. Many would seem to condone willful authoritarianism. The ideological divide is vast. The uncompromising stances of polar opposites have locked policymakers in a permanent stalemate. At this point grass-roots movements appear to build more and more momentum. Protests and civil disobedience are on the rise. There is a new political vigor and dynamism in the air and maybe a more democratic and empowering form of democracy in the offing.
The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Political Science Section of the German Association for American Studies will deal with questions of a transforming democracy.