Could California-Inspired Voting by Referendum Unify the Nation?

An Expert in Direct Democracy Offers a Plan to Improve the Republic, One Ballot at a Time

California has a solution for America’s putrid populism and political paralysis on issues from abortion to voting rights to reducing greenhouse gases.

That solution is adopting direct democracy at the national level—allowing Americans to vote, by referendum, on the biggest questions dividing the United States. Enacting such a change wouldn’t be terribly challenging or risky. All Congress would have to do is follow a series of practical steps offered by a Californian named John Matsusaka.

I’m co-president of the annual Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, and have gotten to know Matsusaka, …