No One in Monterey County Is Good Enough to Serve in the Legislature

A Representative Shutout Reflects Problems with the Scale and Structure of California Democracy

Monterey County is home to Big Sur, Carmel, a world-class aquarium, the planet’s most beautiful golf course, half of America’s lettuce, and more than 437,000 people.

But Monterey County isn’t home to even one member of the California state legislature.

The county’s lack of representation isn’t just a local story. It challenges the national narrative, advanced by leading Democrats and progressives, that our state is a leader in diversity and representation. It reminds us that Californians are more distant from their elected representatives, and from the ideals of democracy, than other Americans. …

What If Everyday People Ran Los Angeles?

The Solution to America’s Representation Crisis Should Start in the County with the Nation’s Biggest Democratic Deficit

If the crisis in American democracy had a capital, it would be Los Angeles.

And if American democracy is going to be saved, that rescue needs to start in Southern California.

This …

Can Democracy Be an Agent of Both Power and Goodness?

To Promote True Civic Virtue, Our System of Government Needs an Ethical Compass and to Actively Engage Citizens

Of all the political words that trip off our tongues yet bedevil understanding, one of the most important is “democracy.”

Strictly translated, it signifies authoritative power (kratos) by the citizenry …

Why Washington, D.C., Is the Most Undemocratic of Capitals

The City's Slaveholding Past, and Disenfranchised Present, Make Its Residents Dependents, Not Citizens

Every year about 20 million tourists come to Washington, D.C., to visit the marble monuments of American freedom and democracy. Few of them, however, realize that the 680,000 permanent residents …

Much Like Alcohol, Democracy Is Best in Moderation

Representative Governments Protect the Public from Its Own Ignorance

The open secret of democracy is that it works because it doesn’t quite work as advertised. Representative democracies do not simply impose the will of the people. They over-perform, producing …