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Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy | David Lazer

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David Lazer, University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer Sciences, Co-Director of NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks

Michael Neblo, Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University

Kevin Esterling, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, University of California, Riverside

Many citizens in the US and abroad fear that democratic institutions have become weak, and continue to weaken. Politics with the People develops the principles and practice of ‘directly representative democracy’—a new way of connecting citizens and elected officials to improve representative government. Sitting members of Congress agreed to meet with groups of their constituents via online, deliberative town hall meetings to discuss some of the most important and controversial issues of the day. The results from these experiments reveal a model of how our democracy could work, where politicians consult with and inform citizens in substantive discussions, and where otherwise marginalized citizens participate and are empowered. Moving beyond our broken system of interest group politics and partisan bloodsport, directly representative reforms will help restore citizens’ faith in the institutions of democratic self-government, precisely at a time when those institutions themselves feel dysfunctional and endangered.

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