SSIR Winter 2020 Supplement: Realizing Democracy

We are facing a historical moment of crisis and reinvention in American democracy. The debates of the coming months and years will shape the contours of American democracy over the next several decades. But it is also critical to note that the current crisis of democracy is not limited to debates about norms, ethics, corruption, Executive power, or the skewing of election results. In many ways the crisis of American democracy is a deeper, more chronic one.

The civil rights movement sparked a “Second Reconstruction” of expanded civil rights and democratic institutions. Now we are in a similar moment of potentially transformative change. 

The Realizing Democracy Project released an 11-article sponsored supplement to the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Winter 2020 volume. The supplement was developed with our partners at Community Change, the Center on Democracy and Organizing, Demos, and the Open Society Foundations as part of the year-long Realizing Democracy series. 

The supplement and series seeks to reimagine the relationship among civil society, government, and the economy, asking what it would take to realize the full promise of democracy in the United States. The authors offer some ways of understanding the root causes of our problems: For example, are we solving problems of information or problems of power? What kinds of polarization do we actually need to worry about? They identify key points in the system where we can exercise outsized leverage, and they each identify a core component of realizing a multi-racial democratic “we”: building up certain types of civic organization and countervailing power.

Below is a list of the articles and authors with links to each of the pieces:


Civil Society