Democracy Forum 10/15/21: In Government We Trust — Or Do We?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We talk about trust and distrust in government.
What is the history of distrust in government in the US?
How has it been weaponized in the last half-century?
What do we lose when we have a blanket distrust in government: who loses and who gains?
What motivates strategic attempts to weaken government?
In what way is distrust a weapon in the arsenal of attempts to weaken or reduce government?

Amy Fried, John Mitchell Nickerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine
Steven Webster, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University

To learn more about this topic:

How Republicans Stoke Anti-Government Hatred by Luisa S. Deprez in Washington Monthly, August 27, 2021

Covid vaccine resistance and the Capitol riot stem from the GOP long weaponizing distrust, by Noah Berlatsky in NBC New Think, Aug. 3, 2021

Are Liberals to Blame for Our Crisis of Faith in Government? by Louis Menand, August 9, 2021 in The New Yorker

At War with Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump by Amy Fried and Douglas B. Harris, August 2021

Rebuilding Trust in American Institutions By Sonal Shah & Hollie Russon Gilman Jan. 27, 2021, Stanford Social Innovation Review

American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics, Cambridge University Press, by Steven W. Webster, Indiana University. August 2020

Stoking the Beast By Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic JUNE 2006

Key findings about Americans’ declining trust in government and each other, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019

The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump. By Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann Jul 18, 2016, Vox

Prerecorded on 9/13 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther,Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.