Description - By Popular Demand by John Gastil
John Gastil conventional assumptions about public opinion elections, and political expression in this persuasive treatise on how to revitalise the system of representative democracy in the United States. He argues that American citizens have difficulty developing clear policy interests, seldom eject unrepresentative public officials, and lack a strong public voice. Our growing awareness of a flawed electoral system is causing increased public cynicism and apathy. The most popular reforms, however, will neither restore public trust nor improve representation. Term limits and campaign finance reforms will increase turnover, but they provide no mechanism for improved deliberation and accountability. Drawing on research with citizen juries and deliberative polling, the author proposes improving our current process by convening randomly selected panels of citizens to deliberate for several days on ballot measures and candidates. Voters would learn about the judgements of these citizen panels through voting guides and possibly information printed on official ballots. The result would be a more representative government and a less cynical public.
America has a long history of experimentation with electoral systems, and the proposals in this book merit serious consideration and debate.
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(229mm x 152mm x mm)
University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
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Author Biography - John Gastil
John Gastil is a Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Washington. He is the author of Democracy in Small Groups: Participation, Decision Making, and Communication (1993).