Assessing the Effect of Political Violence on American Democracy: A Report on the Violence and Democracy Impact Tracker

Nov 06, 2023 | by
  • Description

There is no place for political violence in a healthy democracy. Yet the United States has seen a rise in a wide range of political violence, including threats to lawmakers and intimidation of election workers. While data on the amount of political violence in the United States has become more readily available, policymakers, advocates, philanthropists, and journalists have not had consistent data on the impact that political violence is having on the health of our democracy's core components. It is thus difficult to prioritize a response — to know which parts of our democracy are most affected, and which remain largely resilient.

This report introduces the Violence and Democracy Impact Tracker (VDIT), which evaluates the apparent impact that political violence is having on eight distinct pillars of democratic practice in the United States. The Tracker surveys experts on political violence quarterly, assessing their evaluations of the current impact of political violence on 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. Experts also offer qualitative insights into the most concerning emerging trends. VDIT offers a summary snapshot of expert opinions (somewhat similar to the Bright Line Watch project), providing a helpful point of entry or comparison for those looking to gain a foothold on understanding the problem.