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Democracy Forum

Democracy Forum on WERU FM Community Radio

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May 17 - Republic vs Democracy: Why Should We Care?

2018 Radio News Award: WERUThe League of Women Voters-Downeast in cooperation with WERU FM produces 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. Listen live on the Web at WERU FM.

In September, 2018, the Democracy Forum won top honors from the Maine Association of Broadcasting for public affairs radio.

Now available as a podcast from WERU FM.

Here is information about our upcoming broadcast.

May 17 - Republic vs Democracy: Why Should We Care?

"Our Founding Fathers who created this republic did not believe in democracy. When did we come to worship this idol?" Pat Buchanan, September, 2012

We will talk about whether we live in a democracy or a republic. What do people mean when they say, "We're not a democracy; we're a republic," in the context of different policy debates. Is there a particular subtext implicating minority rights, even minority rule, and possibly states' rights and federalism? We'll take listener calls during the second half of the show.

Special Guests:

  • Lance Dutson, a principal of Red Hill Strategies, a Republican communications consultant, and a columnist for the Bangor Daily News.

  • Joseph R. Reisert, Harriet S. and George C. Wiswell Jr. Assistant Professor of American Constitutional Law in the Department of Government at Colby College.

Key Topics:

  • What do the words mean: "republic" and "democracy"?
  • What were the founders' fears and intent?
  • Is this debate as old as the republic? Why does it keep flaring up?
  • How has that played out? What do we have now?
  • Why are these trigger words right now?
  • Are these two diametrically opposed or mutually exclusive? Or is it a false dichotomy?

To learn more, follow these links to related content:

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

Recent Topics in this Series

CITIZEN INITIATIVES: The Devil's in the Details

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


CYBER ATTACKS ON DEMOCRACY: Social Media, Fake News, and Voter Responsibility

ELECTION 2018: What Happened and What Does It Mean?

POLLITICAL POLLs: Can We Ever Trust Them Again?

ELECTIONS IN MAINE: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

DISTRUST IN GOVERNMENT: A Necessary Evil or a Weapon of Destruction?

STATE PRE-EMPTION: Who's Got the Power?

IMMIGRATION: Can We Live Without It?

RANKED CHOICE VOTING: How Will It Work in Maine?

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