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Is democracy in America under threat? – podcast

As the US election draws closer, the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington hears from civil leaders on their fears for the integrity of the process and the future

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As the US election draws closer, the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington hears from civil leaders on their fears for the integrity of the process and the future of their democracy

When Barack Obama spoke at the Democratic national convention recently he had as his backdrop a facsimile of the US constitution. He spoke pointedly about the importance of that document and criticised Donald Trump, a reality TV star who had damaged the reputation of the United States with “our democratic institutions threatened like never before”.

It is a concern shared by many across the US and the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington tells Anushka Asthana that he was alarmed by what he heard in interviews with some of the most prominent figures in civil rights, the law and academia on the state of democracy in America. He spoke to Michael Waldman, the head of the Brennan Center for Justice; Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP; Deirdre Schifeling, the campaign director of Democracy For All 2021; K. Sabeel Rahman, the head of Demos, and Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. All told him versions of the same story: democracy in America is in peril like never before.

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