PublicSquare Seminars

What does it take for the most venerable, stable, and free government in the world to undergo a genuine Constitutional crisis? Jeff Greenfield argues that such a crisis would not emerge overnight, nor would it be the consequence of any one election or leader. Rather, it would take a steady erasure of beliefs and assumptions held across political and ideological lines, as well as an erosion of trust not just in politics, but in major institutions as well. Are there signs that we are moving toward such an atmosphere? If so, what can be done to alter that course?

Jeff Greenfield is a five-time Emmy-winning network correspondent and best-selling author who, during a career spanning more than three decades, has served as senior political correspondent for CBS, senior analyst for CNN, political and media analyst for ABC News, and contributing correspondent for PBS’ “News Hour Weekend.” Best known for his coverage of domestic politics and media, he has been a floor reporter or anchor booth analyst for every national convention since 1988. He was formerly a columnist for Time, Yahoo! News, and the New York Observer and is currently one for Politico and The Daily Beast. Greenfield has authored or co-authored 14 books, including a national bestselling novel (The People’s Choice: A Cautionary Tale) and several alternate histories of American politics (Then Everything Changed, 43*: When Gore Beat Bush, and If Kennedy Lived). Greenfield graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin where he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Cardinal. He graduated with honors from the Yale Law School where he was a Note and Comment Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

This event made possible through the generosity of the Poomer Fund, Santa Barbara Foundation, courtesy of Anne Smith Towbes.

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Seminar Readings

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, “This is How Democracies Die,” The Guardian (January 21, 2018)
David Frum, “How to Build an Autocracy,” The Atlantic (March, 2017) 

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