Conspiracy and Complicity Got Our Democracy Here

What Role Have We All Played in the Spread of Disinformation and the Rise of Authoritarianism?

Two phenomena have characterized the outgoing Trump administration and spilled over to other countries around the world. The first is the astonishing power of conspiracy theories. The second is the no less astonishing capacity of generally honorable men and women to become complicit in the crimes and misdemeanors of the leaders for whom they work. Both were on vivid display on January 6, 2021, during the attempted insurrection at the Capitol and the prior and subsequent calls by Republican members of Congress to invalidate the results of a free and …

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall

Even When You Don’t Want to Remove a Politician, the Vote Provides a Healthy Democratic Dose of Self-Examination

Californians should love me, even when I’m used against a politician you like.

At the very least, I hope you’ll appreciate me if Gov. Gavin Newsom, who won office overwhelmingly in …

Don’t Tear Down L.A.’s Notorious Men’s Central Jail  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Don’t Tear Down L.A.’s Notorious Men’s Central Jail 

Transforming the Facility Into a Museum and Democracy Center Would Allow California to Remember Its Carceral Cruelty—And Create a Different Future

One of California’s most notorious jails could close in 2021. But if the state truly wants to leave its carceral history in the past and create a more open and …

What America Can Learn From India’s Weeks-Long Elections | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What America Can Learn From India’s Weeks-Long Elections

Keep the Faith, Even If Results Are Slow to Come In—‘Democracy Delayed Is Not Democracy Denied’

Americans have long been accustomed to knowing the results of elections by the time they go to bed on Election Day. This year is forcing them to realize that’s not …

In Venezuela, Dystopian Fiction Hits Close to Home | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Venezuela, Dystopian Fiction Hits Close to Home

J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise Shows What Happens When a Liberal Democracy Crumbles and Its Worst Vices Take Over

There’s a certain absurdity that comes with trying to explain—in calm, simple, and objective words—a life that has become too strange to be real. At least, that’s how I feel …

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility

America's Political Crack-Up Is an Opportunity to Learn More From the Rest of the World

Political hysteria has conquered America—and made the United States much more like the rest of the world.

So argued the London-based essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra during a fast-paced and wide-ranging …