Outrage 33 – Why even those who value democracy might contribute to its decline – Alia Braley

Is America’s democracy on the brink? From escalating partisanship to eroding trust in institutions, political discourse seems perpetually heated and divisive. But what if the very perception of imminent danger is fueling the fire?

Join host David Beckemeyer as he explores the paradox of democratic erosion with acclaimed researcher Alia Braley. This episode of Outrage Overload delves into the psychology of political division, uncovering how the fear of opponents undermining democracy can ironically lead to its weakening.


  • Why the perception of partisan willingness to break the rules fuels anti-democratic sentiment.
  • How misunderstanding your political opponents creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of decline.
  • The power of “costly signals” in rebuilding trust and fostering cooperation.
  • How political psychology insights can help us lower the temperature and strengthen our democracy.

Ready to bridge the divide and build a stronger future? Tune in to learn how your understanding can make a difference.

Alia Braley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley, a Project Scientist at Stanford’s Digital Economy Lab, and a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford’s Polarization and Social Change Lab.

She specializes in the study of democratic resilience in cases of political polarization and autocratic threat as well as civil resistance strategies in acute political conflict.


Alia Braley (personal website)

Why voters who value democracy participate in democratic backsliding (Nature)

Searching for Bright Lines in the Trump Presidency (Bright Lines Research)

💬 What was your big takeaway or insight gained from this episode? Comment below.

One response to “Outrage 33 – Why even those who value democracy might contribute to its decline – Alia Braley”

  1. That if we can change misperceptions in ourselves and others we can make the world a much better place

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Outrage Overload is a podcast about the outrage industry, my journey to discover what it is, how it affects us, and what we can do about it.