Political Violence Threatens Health of U.S. Democracy

Baseline levels of social violence are high in the United States, and violent threats and intimidation are not always accompanied by outright aggression. Amidst this complex landscape, where does our democracy stand?

Political violence is eroding the overall health of democracy in the United States, according to more than 100 global scholars surveyed for a new report “Assessing the Effect of Political Violence on American Democracy” released by Johns Hopkins University’s SNF Agora Institute and Protect Democracy. The report identifies how and to what extent experts believe violence is interfering with American democracy.

The Violence and Democracy Impact Tracker (VDIT) pools the insights of political violence experts on the impact of political violence on U.S. democracy. The tracker surveys these experts to identify the pillars of democratic practice most affected by political violence, the severity of that impact, and the aspects of political violence of greatest concern for the health of American democracy. On a quarterly basis, the Tracker assesses political violence’s impact on the freedoms of expression and association, access to the vote, election administration, equality before the law, individual liberties, and the independence of the judiciary and legislature.