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American Democracy on the Brink? It’s Happened Before

A period of American history featuring extreme partisanship, voting against the other party more than for your own, impeachment, presidents elected without winning the popular vote and fears about the future of democracy—we’re talking about modern politics right? Wrong. Jon Grinspan talks about his book, Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy 1865-1915—a part of our history often overlooked or reduced to a discussion of the Gilded Age. Grinspan’s book has lessons for today.

Robin A. Johnson is a governmental relations, public policy and political consultant. He is an expert on government reform issues and has consulted with numerous local governments on consolidation/merger, public-private partnerships and full-cost accounting of public services. Robin has also helped candidates win elections for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, state legislature, judiciary and local government. Robin served as a consultant to the Office of Statewide Performance Review in the Illinois Governor’s Office and is former director of the Illinois Center for Competitive Government, a partnership between the Illinois Comptroller’s Office and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Prior to that, he was Director of the Local Government Affairs Division of the Illinois Comptroller’s Office. Robin served on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) in 1999-2000.