Making Democracy Work

Democracy Forum

Democracy Forum on WERU FM Community Radio

October -- Political Parties: Do They Still Matter?

The League of Women Voters Downeast in cooperation with WERU FM is producing and sponsoring a monthly radio program on topics in participatory democracy. It's called the Democracy Forum.

Broadcasts may be heard live from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on the third Friday of the month at WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM Blue Hill, 99.9 FM Bangor. Listen live on the Web at WERU FM.

Join us the following Wednesday evening, 5:30 - 7:00, for an in-person public conversation on this topic.

Here is information about our upcoming broadcast.

October 20 -- Political Parties: Do They Still Matter?

If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

We'll talk about the state of the two party system, how recent trends have weakened the parties even as partisanship has grown, whether our political parties threaten our democracy or hold the main hope for its salvation. We'll take listener calls during the second half of the show.

Special Guests:

  • Mark Brewer, Professor of Polticial Science at the University of Maine.
  • Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and contributing editor to The Atlantic.

Key Topics:
  • What is the recent history of the major parties? What trends are affecting their membership and relevance?
  • We have seen a century-long trend toward more direct democracy. Is this turning out to be a good thing?
  • We have 43% of voters unenrolled in a party at the same time that partisanship is at an all-time high. How do we explain that?
  • Are the parties irrelevant or essential to functioning democracy?
  • Both major parties are facing internal divisions. Can they hold together? Will they be replaced by other organizations? What should we hope for?
  • How can citizens play a role?

To learn more, follow these links to related articles and essays:

Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.

October 25 -- Continuing the Conversation

Join us at Pat's Pizza in Ellsworth at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25, to continue this conversation in person with a panel of local guests:

  • Rob Glover, Associate Professor of Political Science and Honors at the University of Maine
  • Al Judd, Chair of the Hancock County Democratic Committee
  • Richard Rosen, former Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services in the LePage administration and former Republican State Senator and State Representative from Bucksport.

Free snacks and cash bar will be available.

Past Topics in this Series

February
BALLOT QUESTIONS IN MAINE: Whose Initiatives Are They?

March
THE TWO MAINES: Can We Bridge the Divide?

April
FAKE NEWS: Who Can You Trust?

May
FREE TRADE: Winners & Losers in Maine

June
JOBS IN MAINE: What's the Future?

July
CIVIL DISCOURSE: Can We Do It?

September
CENSUS 2020: Making Sense of the Census

Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.