Lucid: Threats to Democracy and Abuses of Power

Democracy is in decline. Over half of the world's population now lives under some form of illiberal rule. Wherever democracy deteriorates, so does support for transparency and accountability. Disinformation about current events thrives, as do versions of history that cover up authoritarian crimes.

Lucid is a solutions-oriented publication about threats to democracy, abuses of power, and how to counter them. It cuts through the noise and provides clear analysis about the consequences of democratic erosion and the toll of secrecy and corruption in government, boardrooms, and institutions. It also covers the global resistance to tyranny past and present.

Each week, Lucid delivers an essay by me and an interview with people working on the front lines of anti-corruption, human rights, anti-disinformation, social justice and healing. With informed awareness and clarity of purpose, Lucid readers have the tools they need to effect change.

Lucid subscribers also have access to popular live Q&As. Every Friday at 1-2pmET (and evening Q&As every few weeks) we gather on Zoom to think together about the most vital issues of the day.

Lucid is a space of caring and solidarity where we help each other understand and process the losses we suffer due to negligent and repressive governance, racism, misogyny, homophobia, environmental plunder, and gun violence. We need open hearts and transparent communications to recover and rebuild trust, including trust in our collective power to stand up to situations that threaten our dignity and freedoms.

Building bridges, countering polarization, and helping others to emerge from fogs of falsehood and fear is hard work. Together, we can get it done.

Why Sign Up For Lucid?

All content is free for the moment, and Lucid will always have a free component. A paid subscription ($5/month, $50/year) offers access to thought-provoking interviews, live chats, and commenting privileges on articles and discussion threads. Premium subscribers enjoy quarterly forecasts on domestic and global affairs, special Q&As and webinars, and other bonus content. There's a educator and student rate if you sign up with an email from an educational institution: $2.50/month, $25/year. Access it here.

Your contributions are an investment in a kind of community that is difficult to build on social media, where algorithms, rather than your own interests, increasingly determine what is presented for you to read. Thank you for your support of Lucid.

About Ruth

I'm Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, Advisor to Protect Democracy, and the recipient of Guggenheim and other fellowships. Although I write about grim subjects, I'm an optimist about human nature. I'm continually inspired by the courage and resolve of those who fight corruption and repression. I tell the stories of some of those individuals in Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present (2020). It looks at how illiberal leaders use propaganda, corruption, violence, and machismo - and how they can be defeated. I've also written on the appeal of Fascism as a new model of modernity and on Fascist film propaganda.

 Lucid also comes out of my work in the media on dangers to democracy. I’m a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, and other networks. I've written extensively for CNN, the Washington Post, and other outlets, and I've given over 300 interviews to journalists around the world. My knowledge of the strongman playbook allowed me to forecast that Donald Trump would seek to implement an authoritarian model of governance in America and try to stay in office after his defeat in the November election. I’ve also written about abuses of power that occur in all political contexts, like sexual harassment.

I bring this expertise and vision to Lucid. You can read more about me and access my writing and interviews here. Follow me on Twitter here.

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