Public Policy Institute of California’s Mark Baldassare

You Can Find Me by the Water

Mark Baldassare is survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California, where he previously served as president and CEO. Before joining a panel for the Zócalo event “Is This What Direct Democracy Looks Like?”—presented in partnership with the Berggruen Institute, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy—he sat down in our green room to chat statewide surveys, JFK, and stepping down as president after 15 years.

John Matsusaka in a black suit staring slightly to the left with a smile.

Direct Democracy Expert John Matsusaka

The United States Used to Be the Democracy Pioneer

John Matsusaka is professor of finance and business economics at the University of Southern California as well as the executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute. He is the …

Shirley Weber in a patterned shirt looking slightly to the left with a smile and with arms almost crossed.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber

I’m Probably the Calmest Person in the Room

Shirley Weber is the Secretary of State of California.  She was previously a member of the California State Assembly for the 79th Assembly District. Before joining us as a panelist for …

Nathan Gardels wearing a black sweater and black-rimmed glasses stares slightly to the left with his mouth open slightly to smile.

Berggruen Institute Co-Founder Nathan Gardels

If You’re Not Participating in the Process, You’re Going to Get Screwed by It

Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noēma magazine and the co-founder of the Berggruen Institute. Before moderating the Zócalo event “Is This What Direct Democracy Looks Like?”—presented in partnership with the …

Is Something Rotten With the State of Presidencies? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Journalist Tess Bacalla

We’re in a Mess, but I’ve Not Given Up Hope

Tess Bacalla is editor-in-chief of Asia Democracy Chronicles. She is also a journalism lecturer at De La Salle University in Manila. Before sitting on a panel for the Zócalo event “Are …

An elderly man with white hair and glass and wearing a black jacket places a pink sheet of paper into a white ballot box. His other hand holds two other pieces of paper, one white and and one yellow. A younger man in a gray sweater stands behind him holding his own papers.

A Letter From Taiwan: Where Democracy Has Become a Rollercoaster

A Voting Activist on the Rocky Ride Toward Increased Citizen Participation

What are the obstacles and opportunities facing democracy today? Zócalo is publishing a series of letters to highlight how the world’s democratic ideals are faring in practice. From Taiwan: Negative …