Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

Would Parliamentary America Have More Fun?

Co-presented by the Los Angeles Times
Moderated by Erika D. Smith, Columnist, Los Angeles Times

With the 2024 election season upon us, Americans feel political despair. The president and his leading challenger, a former president, are deeply unpopular. Huge majorities, in both parties, tell pollsters that the two-party system is broken. For many, the prospect of engaging in upcoming political contests evokes downright dread.

So, where can we find the inspiration and ideas to fundamentally repair our democracy, climb out of this political rut, and turn the mood around? In other democracies around the world, says Maxwell L. Stearns, constitutional law professor and author of the new book Parliamentary America: The Least Radical Means of Radically Repairing Our Broken Democracy. Stearns visits Zócalo to outline a three-part plan to turn the United States into a multi-party parliamentary democracy that could make our politics less maddening, more collaborative—and perhaps even more fun. What are the legal, constitutional, and political steps needed to modernize American democracy and reignite civic zeal and joy? And how different might the U.S. look if governed by a parliament of multi-party coalitions?

This program is part of Zócalo’s inquiry, “Can Democracy Survive This Election Year?,” an editorial and event series about voters’ experiences around the world in 2024, the biggest election year in history.

Zócalo invites our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary small bites by Gingergrass.

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, as bag searches are not permitted, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are allowed in the venue. Zócalo may be able to provide a limited number of clear bags to help accommodate guests. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

The ASU California Center is inclusive and accessible for all. A platform wheelchair lift is available at our main entrance via Broadway (ground level). Upon checking in for the event, please inform Zócalo staff if you need assistance, or contact events@zocalopublicsquare.org for additional information.

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The Takeaway

One Nation … Under Parliament?

The Zócalo and Los Angeles Times Event ‘Would Parliamentary America Have More Fun?’ Considers a U.S. Governed by Multi-Party Coalitions

“Convince me,” Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith told Maxwell L. Stearns, the author of the forthcoming book Parliamentary America: The Least Radical Means of Radically Repairing Our Broken …