Category Archives: All The Way

Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years

200x200logoFBshareIn May, the Ash Center concluded its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series with presentations by the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award finalists. Local government officials, students, and scholars gathered with the Innovation Award finalists for a nuts and bolts conversation on fostering innovation in government. This model of conversation—one that brings together people and ideas unlikely to otherwise connect, in an environment that encourages candid conversation on important yet difficult issues, with an emphasis on finding a way forward—was a true reflection of the Challenges to Democracy series. This post explores some of the series’ highlights and how it will carry forth in the Ash Center’s upcoming work. Read more about all events in the series including associated multimedia such as podcasts, media coverage, photos, and video recordings.
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Filed under #Hack4Congress, All Checks, No Balance, All the King's Men, All The Way, Cities, Dollarocracy, Expansion of Presidential Power, Future of Social Movements, Heart of Robin Hood, Immigration & Citizenship, Inequality vs Democracy, Innovation, Launch Event with On Point, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Nation of Devils, Participation, Technology, Voting Rights

Bryan Cranston Captures the Virtues and Vices of the Ultimate Politician: LBJ in “All the Way”

On October 6, 2013, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation collaborated with the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) on a performance of Robert Schenkkan’s political drama All the Way. The play focuses on Lyndon B. Johnson’s first year as President with a particular eye to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Bryan Cranston, fresh off of his Breaking Bad success, starred as Johnson. Following the performance, A.R.T. Artistic Director Ryan McKittrick moderated a discussion with actor Michael McKean, who played J. Edgar Hoover in the production, and Alex Keyssar, Stirling Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. The following post highlights elements of the conversation. Continue reading

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Filed under All The Way, Expansion of Presidential Power, In the News, Political Polarization

Making a Connection to LBJ and the Fight for Civil Rights in 1963-64

 By Tim Glynn-Burke


The expansion of presidential power threatens our democracy’s compact between the chief executive, Congress, the courts… and We the People. One salient example of this challenge is in navigating between civil liberties and national security, between secrecy and transparency. While President Lyndon Baines Johnson is often remembered for his role in escalating Vietnam and associated debates over civil liberties, his administration’s first year belonged to Civil Rights—the subject of Robert Schenkkan’s play All The Way.

Presented though October 12 at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), All The Way reminds audiences that while our protector-in-chief, the President also has the potential to be a true changemaker. “We have already waited a hundred years,” LBJ argued, “and the time for waiting is gone.” Continue reading

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Filed under All The Way, Expansion of Presidential Power

Welcome to the Challenges to Democracy Blog

By Archon Fung and Tim Glynn-Burke


Democratic governance in the United States is being tested. Economic and political inequality, shaky checks and balances, unresolved immigration policy disagreements, the ambiguous effects of new digital technologies, and waning participation are just a few of today’s threats to American Democracy.

We regularly study these and other challenges here at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation—a distinctive mix of faculty, visiting scholars, and dedicated staff who teach courses, conduct research, and run programs at the leading edge of a broad array of disciplines.

Ten years ago an extraordinary gift from Roy and Lila Ash helped to launch the Ash Center. Roy and Lila had dedicated their lives to serving the public good in both business and government, as well as through extensive volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. Through these experiences, Roy came to view democracy as “fragile and in need of real and constant hands-on care.” Continue reading

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Filed under All The Way, Expansion of Presidential Power, Inequality vs Democracy, Launch Event with On Point