By some metrics, American democracy is in great shape. Despite a pandemic, and a switch to mass mail-in voting, the 2020 presidential election witnessed the highest voter turnout in U.S. history with 158 million people casting ballots. That’s about 66% of the voting-eligible population, the highest percentage since 1900 when 74% voted. Of course, many factors may have...Continue reading
Whichever party wins office in this presidential race, the US is likely to persist as a conflict-ridden country. But it’s not alone. America is simply a bald-faced illustration of how elections generate animated and antagonistic political campaigns — resulting in a fractured body politic. Electoral regulations go some way to ensure the integrity of the...Continue reading
Cathleen O’Grady in Science Magazine, Oct. 29, 2020 , 1:45 PM Until recently, Sue Peachey, an apartment building manager in Bath, U.K., didn’t think much about climate change. “I did my recycling,” she says. “I just wasn’t aware of how serious it was.” She never imagined the U.K. Parliament asking for her advice on climate...Continue reading
Last week, The Economist UK strongly and clearly endorsed that the use of juries of citizens warrants the attention of anyone seeking to do democracy better. At the core of their reasoning is a practical reality: real-world policy issues which would normally get mired in ‘politics-as-usual’ have been freed up and seen elected leaders from...Continue reading
By Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, July 8, 2020 Not since the war has an Australian government mobilised so comprehensively: $260 billion, or 13 per cent of the country’s GDP, is a whopping big number. It was only six months ago that Australia was tested by bushfires and floods, but those calamities have now been overtaken by another...
In Bolivia, a political activist radically reforms the voting process for… student council elections. Who else does he convince? Revisionist History. And maybe a fancy private school in New Jersey. http://leopard.megaphone.fm/CAD9439991498.mp3 Revisionist History, Season 5, Episode 3: The Powerball Revolution Student Government Lottery in Bolivia, video courtesy of Adam Cronkright and Democracy in Practice. Adam...Continue reading
By Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, Wednesday May 13, 2020 During this period of the pandemic, many have remarked how well the national cabinet has worked — something it rarely does. It would seem that we need a crisis for politicians to leave politics at the door. Why can’t they do it all the time? Do we really...
The political scientist Hélène Landemore asks, If government is for the people, why can’t the people do the governing? By Nathan Heller, in The New Yorker, February 19, 2020 Imagine being a citizen of a diverse, wealthy, democratic nation filled with eager leaders. At least once a year—in autumn, say—it is your right and civic...Continue reading
Lyn Carson, in The Mandarin 20th December 2019 If we know a great deal about something, we close our minds to alternative pathways, we share our knowledge with people who support our opinion (confirmation bias), and our creativity is constricted because we think we know what’s possible and dismiss anything that sounds unrealistic. Lyn Carson shoes how...Continue reading
Much has changed since democracy emerged 2,500 years ago. Women vote. We do not kill or exile politicians who mislead us. We choose representatives to make decisions on our behalf. Our civic responsibilities are hardly ever enforced. Occasionally, we make our way to a conveniently located polling station, cast our vote in private, and trust...Continue reading