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They Don’t Represent Us: Reclaiming our Democracy

Organizer: Brennan Center for Justice

American democracy is in critical need of repair. Our politics are more divisive and more polarized than at any time in recent history. Lawmakers are beholden to wealthy donors, not to their constituents. Citizens' voices are silenced through the erosion of their civil rights. Beltway politicians, who have long neglected to address these problems, are partly to blame. But the increasingly uninformed American public bears responsibility as well. In his new book, They Don't Represent Us, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig charts the ways in which the fundamental institutions of our democracy respond to narrow interests rather than to the needs and wishes of the nation's citizenry. He explores the causes and consequences of "unrepresentativeness" and calls for significant reforms including public campaign funding, a reformed Electoral College, and a nationwide ban on partisan gerrymandering.

Location: Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge, NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
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Eighteen democracy reform groups have asked the chairman of the Democratic National Committee to focus at least one presidential debate on democracy reform issues.

Reform groups ask DNC to hold debate on plans to fix the political system

Eighteen groups promoting democracy reform sent a letter Tuesday to Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, asking for a presidential debate focused on the candidates' democracy reform plans.

"Whether it comes to addressing our climate crisis, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, ending gun violence, or any other issue Democratic candidates have been talking about on the campaign trail, the role of a healthy democracy in achieving those ends is undeniable," the letter states.

The groups who signed the letter are: Brennan Center for Justice, The Center for Popular Democracy, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Democracy 21, The Democratic Coalition, End Citizens United, Equal Citizens, Indivisible, New American Leaders, New American Leaders Action Fund, New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, People for the American Way, Progressive Turnout Project, Protect Democracy, Public Citizen, Voices for Progress and Wolf-PAC.

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Adults of all ages agree: There's little confidence in elected leaders

But in general, young adults have a lot more trust issues than their elders

Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.

While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."

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Big Picture

Survey: Elected women outperform men, but a woman is unlikely to beat Trump

People favor an increase in female candidates and some think they often do a better job in office than men — but they are less certain that a woman can defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

That is among several intriguing results of a survey released Thursday by All in Together, a nonpartisan political education nonprofit that urges women to participate in civic life and politics in particular.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Aug. 2-9 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

More than half of respondents (58 percent) said that more female candidates has "been a good thing for the country." Also, 42 percent of women and 23 percent of men said that women in elected officials do a better job that men.

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