Protect Democracy was founded in early 2017 by a group of former high-level executive branch officials who served in the White House Counsel’s Office and upper echelons of the Department of Justice and have unique knowledge of the norms that have constrained presidential power for decades and when those in power may be tempted to violate them. As many of us defended past presidents against legitimate oversight and illegitimate attacks, they also know how to leverage tools outside government to prevent the exploitation of power within it. They have since assembled a group of some of the world’s leading experts who have studied how other democracies have declined in the 21st Century as advisers, and are backed by a Harvard Law School clinic, pro bono relationships with many of the country’s leading law firms, and a cross-ideological advisory board ranging from President Obama’s former Solicitor General to former Reagan White House officials.
Some of the leading scholars on autocrats helped us identify the six tactics those leaders typically employ to dismantle democracies. Their work is organized around preventing each from happening here:
Preventing the corruption of elections
Preventing the executive from aggrandizing power at the expense of competing institutions –
Preventing the delegitimization of vulnerable communities
Preventing the politicization of independent institutions
Preventing the government from spreading disinformation
Preventing the government from being able to quash dissent