politics & society | November 22, 2019

Bridging the Divide: The Top 10 Political Speakers Standing Up for Democracy

Ever since the 2016 election, American politics have seemed more like a circus than a system of government. Lavin’s top ten political speakers are some of the brightest, sharpest minds fighting anti-democractic forces and standing up for the values of free society.  

Garrett M. Graff: Garret Graff has unique insight into America’s ever-shifting political landscape. An award-winning journalist, he’s spent over a decade covering the happenings in Washington D.C., including Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Donald Trump. Graff—a distinguished historian and political speaker—has also authored several critically acclaimed books, his most recent being a chilling account of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  

How the Cold War Invented the Internet | Garret M. Graff


Marc Busch: Trade wards have dominated the headlines since Donald Trump took office, and the 2020 election will only continue to stoke the fire. To understand the “epic battle of free trade” happening today, look no further than trade expert and McKinsey consultant, Marc Busch. A sought-after political speaker, Busch helps businesses and industries understand how international trade will affect them—and how they can protect themselves.

Marc Busch at The Common Good


Emily Bazelon: In her latest book Charged, New York Times staff writer Emily Bazelon examines how the American criminal justice system continually fails its citizens. A groundbreaking piece of investigative journalism, Charged confronts the problem of mass incarceration head-on, offering bold solutions for institutional reform. Bazelon—a lecturer at Yale Law School—is a riveting speaker and one of the leading authorities on justice in America.

Restoring Faith in the Justice System | Emily Bazelon


Yascha Mounk: The rise of far-right groups and authoritarian leaders are threatening democracy around the world. In his book The People vs Democracy, Atlantic contributor Yascha Mounk explains how we got to this critical juncture in American history, and what we can do to fix it. His rousing political talks offer practical solutions for everyday citizens looking to do their part in protecting our rights and freedoms.  

How To Save Democracy | Yascha Mounk | TEDxBerlin


Masha Gessen: National Book Award-winning author Masha Gessan examines the Trumpian turn America has taken, and the effect its had on the country’s political system, institutions, and its media. Expanding on the landmark article “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” Gessen reveals how together we can defend the ideals on which our country is based.

When National Leaders Live in an “Alternative Reality” | Masha Gessen


Julia Ioffe: Russia is once again largely figuring into the American political sphere. To what degree have the country’s threats to US democracy been successful, and how worried should we be? Gifted political speaker and thinker Julia Ioffe—author of the Atlantic cover story “What Putin Really Wants,” and the forthcoming Russia Girl—unpacks the geopolitical drama with piercing clarity.


Starr Forum: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon


George Packer: In his New York Times bestseller The Unwinding, award-winning author George Packer offers a comprehensive look at the institutional collapse, political upheaval, and troubling populism characterizing America today, while his latest book Our Man is a stunning depiction of one of the country’s most complicated political figures: Richard Holbrooke. In gripping talks drawn from his reporting, Packer unravels the shifting, diverse tapestry of the country like no other.  

George Packer


Matt Taibbi: Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi has written four New York Times bestselling books over the course of his career. A compelling writer, his work focuses on the most pressing issues of our time—including the demise of democracy as we know it. In the book Insane Clown President, as well as in his eye-opening political talks, Taibbi shows how we’ve arrived at a moment where spectacle triumphs over substance.  


Matt Taibbi


David Rohde: “I still believe that the heart of journalism must be original, fact-based reporting. And in the Trump era, journalists must operate at our fastest and most accurate and ethical rate ever,” says David Rohde. A two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the head of online news coverage at The New Yorker, Rohde speaks to the polarization and social extremism bankrupting politics today.  


David Rohde - January 17, 2013


Schachi Kurl: As the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl has a remarkable grasp on what we’re collectively thinking about society’s most pressing issues. Whether it’s opinions on affordable housing, or the public perception of our most complex political figures, Kurl looks at non-partisan polling data to paint an astute picture of the current political moment.  


Opinions on Religion in Canada


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