The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of California’s Direct Democracy

Keep the Mail-In Ballots. Lose the Money and Special Interests. Give the People More Information

While majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents in California agree that the state’s system of direct democracy is a good thing, they also agree that it needs some fixing, especially to keep big money and organized special interests from having too much influence in the process.

But how to do that?

This was the meaty question of last night’s panel, “Is This What Direct Democracy Looks Like?” The Zócalo event, in partnership with the Berggruen Institute, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, was a searching …

Gavin Newsom at a rally.

California’s Recall Was Worth Every Penny

When It Comes to Supporting Democratic Infrastructure, $276 Million Is a Bargain

It’s hard to think of a better bargain in our high-cost state than the failed recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom. At an estimated cost of $276 million—less than $7 …

Where I Go: The Geology of Memory | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

I Should Have Recalled Myself!

The Speech and Strategy That Gov. Gavin Newsom Didn’t Know He Needed

This is the speech Gov. Gavin Newsom should have given during the recall campaign, but didn’t.

I know a lot of you think this recall is pretty strange. But you don’t …

Sack Octavius and Newsom! The Recall Is as Old as the Roman Republic | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Sack Octavius and Newsom! The Recall Is as Old as the Roman Republic

The Tool for Removing Elected Officials Has Had Centuries of Champions—from the Levellers to Lenin

The recall—the tool being used in an attempt to remove Gavin Newsom as California’s governor before his term is over—might seem strange or novel. It’s neither. The recall is nearly …

California’s Recall Is Riding a Global Wave | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California’s Recall Is Riding a Global Wave

From Nigeria to Brazil, Democracies Are Experimenting With New Ways for People to Hold Their Elected Officials Accountable

The recall attempt against Gov. Gavin Newsom is being widely—and wrongly—dismissed as a peculiar and illegitimate consequence of California’s strange direct democracy.

The truth is that the recall is very much …

Why Does San Diego Love Recalling Governors?  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Does San Diego Love Recalling Governors? 

Ambitions and Frustrations Churn in the 'Most Unabashedly American of California Cities'

Why are you so desperate to seize the governorship, San Diego?

The attempted recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom has many geographic roots. Its original proponent was a sheriff’s deputy from …