On Political Hobbyism: A Response to Eitan Hersh

by Wendy Willis Hobbies take place in the cellar and smell of airplane glue. ~John Updike Yes, it’s Saturday morning on a holiday weekend, and yes, I am supposed to have my nose to the grindstone working on manuscript revisions, and yes, I am in a beautiful cabin in the woods with my beloved and […]

On Civic Loneliness

given by Wendy Willis, Frontiers of Democracy 2017 When we imagine loneliness—or at least I when I imagine it—I think of an elderly woman, a widow, maybe, living alone in her one-bedroom apartment, nibbling on her baked potato and waiting for Sunday afternoon when her son will call. I imagine her washing her dish, reading […]

A Virtuous Loop

Martin Carcasson, Colorado State University There certainly seems to have been a resurgence in the traditional “citizens can’t handle democracy” argument lately, the most recent coming from Lee Drutman’s Vox article. It can be frustrating how commentators like Drutman often assume that those of us working on improving our democracy by focusing on improving public […]

Fixing What Ails Democracy

By Will Friedman, Public Agenda       What does it mean, this chaotic, disturbing, unpredictable electoral season? We’ll know more after the dust has settled, but we can’t afford to wait to make our best guess. We need a working theory to orient ourselves as we seek to minimize damage and prescribe a path […]

We Invite You to Respond!

In recent days, a vigorous argument has broken out about the role of the public in strengthening the democratic fabric of the United States. Last summer, Jonathan Rauch provocatively argued in the pages of The Atlantic that we need to strengthen the role of political intermediaries and institutions (read: parties and other political professionals) rather […]

Actually, More Participation Can Save American Democracy

By Jessie Conover, Healthy Democracy Lee Drutman of the New America Foundation, writing on Vox.com’s Polyarchy blog, makes a bold statement: more public participation isn’t the answer to our political woes because the reasonable, civically-minded voter is a myth. This is the latest in a trend of articles analyzing American politics and the role of […]

To Speak the Truth: Reflections on the first Democracy Salon

“It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and another to hear.” ~Henry David Thoreau It was the kind of dinner party I dream of. There were candles. And flowers. There was wine. And falafel and tabbouleh and kabobs from the legendary Nicholas Restaurant.  And most importantly: nine super-smart people—each of them […]

Deliberative Publicity

How do practitioners communicate effectively and ethically to decision makers, stakeholders, journalists, and community members who do not participate in our forums? This is the challenge of publicity.