This was originally published as the November 15 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Sign up here to receive it every weekday morning.

Who gets power and how much of it should they have? A great debate is unfolding across the globe over the meaning of democracy, as protesters, press and opposition politicians take their leaders to task.

The US impeachment fight is the latest skirmish in a two-and-a-half century long dispute over the nature and scope of a President's authority -- in this case over whether it was an abuse of power for Donald Trump to demand personal favors in Ukraine. In Israel too, questions are rising about the breadth of executive power, as cynics wonder if PM Benjamin Netanyahu could have timed his clash with Islamic Jihad in Gaza to make it more difficult for rival Benny Gantz to form a government.

In Hong Kong, street protestors flaunt the mainland government's history of bloody repression, demanding the protection of their civil liberties as violence escalates on both sides. Mass protests already proved democracy victorious in Bolivia, ushering out an increasingly authoritarian President Evo Morales with the help of the military -- but the fury of Morales' supporters could weaken the political consensus any democratic system needs to thrive.

And ahead of December's general election, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is effectively running against what he claims is an undemocratic parliament that refuses to honor the 2016 Brexit referendum. In turn, his foes accuse him of power grabs that flouted the law and Britain's unwritten constitution.

The lesson of recent years' political tumult is that the world's democratic systems — even its oldest — are far less stable than everyone thought. Elected strongmen are now testing democratic accountability in India, Turkey and across eastern Europe. But as mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, Bolivia, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere show, democracy remains an elixir for people everywhere who yearn to forge or protect their freedoms.