Congressmen Steny Hoyer (D) and Tom Cole (R) discussed the U.S. role in promoting democracy and freedom with moderator Indira Lakshmanan at the 2019 Copenhagen Democracy Summit, which took place June 27-28 at the Royal Danish Playhouse in Denmark.
Lakshmanan asked Hoyer and Cole about the influence of global tech platforms, identity politics, xenophobia, and other factors on democracy today.
"Democracy is resilient, but if ignored, it will be under assault and may well lose," Hoyer said. "We shouldn't take it for granted that democracy will prevail...vigilance is the price of democracy."
Hoyer stated that in the face of globalization many are fearful of outsiders, of those different from them.
This fear of outsiders is what Hoyer believes precipitated England's vote in Brexit and Trump's election in the U.S. "I think we have to overcome that and reinstate the confidence that democracy will provide people with the kind of lives they want for themselves and their children."
Cole said he doesn't believe the U.S. is "on the precipice of failure." He considers the current threats to democracy in a historical context and doesn't see current challenges as comparable to those of the past.
"Russia's a dangerous country, but it's not the old Soviet Union," he said. "We shouldn't look at our adversaries as if we're incapable of dealing with them...our biggest challenges come from within, in the loss of confidence in institutions [in America] that have broadly worked well."
For a full overview of all the panels Lakshmanan moderated at the 2019 Copenhagen Democracy Summit, please visit here.