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U.S. President Donald Trump leads a rally marking his first 100 days in office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTS14I3L

The populist challenge to liberal democracy

On November 29, William A. Galston delivered the fourteenth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World. Named for the pre-eminent political scientist, sociologist, and theorist on American exceptionalism, the yearly Lipset Lecture is hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. It is described as “an intellectual platform for men and women who, like Lipset, have made important contributions to our thinking about key issues of democracy through their writings and other accomplishments.” Past lecturers have focused on topics ranging from “Russia’s Political System: The Drama of Decay” to “Democratization Theory and the Arab Spring.”

In his remarks titled “The populist challenge to liberal democracy,” Galston examines sobering events of the past quarter century and the emergence of an internal threat—driven by populists—facing liberal democracy today. You can watch his speech below. The text will be made available in a forthcoming issue of NED’s Journal of Democracy.

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